“Culture poisons brain with racism”

Posted on January 4, 2012 by


This blog by an anthropologist has a post about the way words can become linked together through repetition in mass media, and then our minds link those words unconsciously, so that one word evokes the other one.

“This suggests that at least part of the alleged racist/sexist/ageist hiding inside us all is a monster not of our own making; it is built out of memes borrowed from close contact with our environment,” Verhaeghen and his colleagues reported online Sept. 17 in the British Journal of Social Psychology.”

It is based on an article by Stephani Pappas in a journal called _Live Science_ (about which I know very little). THe article describes an interesting study that suggests that when people are exposed to words in close proximity (like “poor” and “black”) they will in th future associate those words together, even when there is no intrinsic connection between those words. Simply the repetition of those pairs of words may be embedded in people’s mind.

the interesting conclusion suggested by that article that echoes some of the concerns raised in class and addressed further this week:

“There’s a reason for political correctness,” he said. “At least, as studies suggest, it might be a good idea to not put stereotypes out there too clearly, because if you do, people will internalize them.”


Posted in: supplemental