STATES CHRONICLE – According to a new sociologic research, black men are perceived to be bigger than white males of the same size. The researchers claim that these preconceptions could explain why black individuals fall victim to police shootings more often.
The study entitled Racial Bias in Judgements of Physical Size and Formidability: From Size to Threat was published in the online version of the American Psychological Association.
Racial Stereotypes Are to Blame
John Paul Wilson, lead researcher of the study, claims that the racial mirage is powered by enduring stereotypes. According to him:
“Unarmed black men are disproportionately more likely to be shot and killed by police, and often these killings are accompanied by explanations that cite the physical size of the person shot.”
Wilson and his team gathered a sample of 950 United States citizens. Via an online platform, the participants were asked to look at different pictures featuring white and black males of equal sizes. Then, the volunteers had to provide an estimate of the weight, height, strength, and muscularity of the individuals featured in the images.
It seems that all male subjects were predisposed to biases as the responders were more prone to estimate that the black individuals in the photos were taller, heavier, and stronger than the white males that shared their height, weight, and strength. The only real, perceivable difference between the two groups was the color of the individuals’ skin.
When the participants were shown black and white pictures of male bodies labeled as black or white, the respondents categorized the ones labeled as black as more muscular and capable of more force than those presumably belonging to white individuals.
Even though all the men featured in the study shared physical traits, the black individuals were haunted by stigma, the majority of responders seeing them as more threatening and capable of more force than the white males.
Black Lives Matter
Sadly, when asked which of the individuals portraited in the images were more likely to be aggressive or cause any kind of harm, the participants nominated the black individuals. This kind of racial biases feeds the collective mind, making it hard for black individuals to find suitable employment.
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) July 8, 2016
Studies such as this come to support the Black Lives Matter campaign. Black communities throughout the United States are fighting racial stereotypes, trying to minimize the number of unnecessary police shooting victims.
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