The identity politics of the left would have you believe that white conservatives are terrible racists, attacking minorities at every chance. Ever notice how the left treats minorities who refuse to be part of the left? It's pretty nasty. Some would even call it, I don't know, racist, maybe? For quite some time, this fair-weather advocacy has led many of conservatives to doubt whether the left means what they say, and that maybe, all these times they've called people racist for no reason at all, maybe they were the actual racists.
A new study from Yale suggests that "white Americans who hold liberal socio-political views tend to downplay their own verbal competence in exchanges with racial minorities, compared to how other white Americans act in such exchanges," that they "use language that makes them appear less competent in an effort to get along with racial minorities."
In other words, they think minorities are too stupid to understand them. Wow. Condescending. In a word: racist.
The study appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a reputable, far-reaching academic journal, yet—surprise, surprise—the media has been mostly silent about it.
The authors set up a "series of experiments in which white participants were asked to respond to a hypothetical or presumed-real interaction partner. For half of these participants, their partner was given a stereotypically white name (such as 'Emily'); for the other half, their partner was given a stereotypically black name (such as 'Lakisha'). Participants were asked to select from a list of words for an email to their partner. For some studies, this email was for a work-related task; for others, this email was simply to introduce themselves. Each word had been previously scored on how warm or competent it appears. The word 'sad,' for example, scored low for both warmth and competence.
'Melancholy,' on the other hand, scored high for competence and low on warmth."
Call it the bigotry of low expectations. You can even call it racism, because it is.
The authors found a correlation between this dumbing-down tactic and respondents' political leanings.
"It was kind of an unpleasant surprise to see this subtle but persistent effect," Dupree says. "Even if it's ultimately well-intentioned, it could be seen as patronizing."
The condescending tactic extends to left-leaning politicians as well:
Democratic candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences.
Call it the bigotry of low expectations. You can even call it racism, because it is. It's also proof that the left's "You're a racist!" tactic is an act of delusion, an act of projection, and hopefully studies like this will continue to drain it of power so that we can get back to having productive conversations with one another.