Can We Just Get Rid of Identity Politics?

Nov 2005
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3,012
California
Considering perfectly intelligent people are susceptible to this I think we can safely say more than just stupidity is involved. There is such a thing as instinctive behavior, and identity politics plays on that.
Racism is not "instinctive".
In a paper that will be published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Eva Telzer of UCLA and three other researchers report that they've performed these amygdala studies--which had previously been done on adults--on children. And they found something interesting: the racial sensitivity of the amygdala doesn't kick in until around age 14.

What's more: once it kicks in, it doesn't kick in equally for everybody. The more racially diverse your peer group, the less strong the amygdala effect. At really high levels of diversity, the effect disappeared entirely. The authors of the study write that ''these findings suggest that neural biases to race are not innate and that race is a social construction, learned over time.''

....
But all of this is almost beside the point anyway, because there have always been plenty of reasons to believe that the amygdala response doesn't reflect an instinctive aversion to the racial "other." For example: The amygdala's response to African-American faces had been observed not just in European-American adults but in African-American adults--who aren't, in this case, the "other." Apparently whatever cultural information was inculcating a particular response to blacks in whites was having a similar effect in blacks.

I'm not a blank slater; I don't believe that we're born innocent, and only develop a dark side after bad tendencies are engrained by evil capitalists, or evil patriarchs, or evil warmongers, or evil whatevers. I think that, though we're not naturally racist, we're naturally "groupist." Evolution seems to have inclined us to readily define whole groups of people as the enemy, after which we can find their suffering, even death, very easy to countenance and even facilitate.


But when it comes to defining this enemy--defining the "out group"--people are very flexible. The out group can be defined by its language, its religion, its skin color, its jersey color. (And jersey color can trump skin color--just watch a brawl between one racially integrated sports team and another.) It all depends on which group we consider (rightly or wrongly) in some sense threatening to our interests.

It's in this sense that race is a "social construct." It's not a category that's inherently correlated with our patterns of fear or mistrust or hatred, though, obviously, it can become one. So it's within our power to construct a society in which race isn't a meaningful construct.​
New Evidence That Racism Isn't 'Natural' - The Atlantic

Also:
Considerable evidence shows that conservative ideology predicts all sorts of prejudice—against ethnic and racial minorities, the disadvantaged, any outgroup. Indeed, right wingers are much more likely to see outgroups as a threat to traditional values and social order, resulting in heightened prejudice. Dhont and Hodson tested and confirmed this mediation model: Lower childhood intelligence clearly predicts right-wing ideology and attitude, which in turn predicts prejudice in adulthood.

The scientists elaborate on this idea in the Current Directions article: Intelligence and thinking determine how people assess threats in the world. Those with lower ability—reasoning skills, processing speed, and so forth—prefer simple and predictable answers, because that is what they are capable of processing. Any uncertainty is threatening, and they respond to such threats by trying to preserve what is familiar and safe, the status quo. These conservative reactions are basic and normal—they reduce anxiety—but over time they harden into more stable and pervasive world views, which include stereotypical thinking, avoidance, prejudicial attitudes and over discrimination.​
Is Racism Just a Form of Stupidity?
 
Likes: RNG
Jan 2015
3,414
2,155
MD
Considering perfectly intelligent people are susceptible to this I think we can safely say more than just stupidity is involved. There is such a thing as instinctive behavior, and identity politics plays on that.
Intelligent people learn from their mistakes and move forward. As I, and many others have. It’s sheep who continue to put their faith in skin color, nationality, etc.
 
Likes: Sabcat
Dec 2013
33,688
19,321
Beware of watermelons
Considering perfectly intelligent people are susceptible to this I think we can safely say more than just stupidity is involved. There is such a thing as instinctive behavior, and identity politics plays on that.
That would be tribalism
 
Dec 2013
33,688
19,321
Beware of watermelons
Racism is not "instinctive".
In a paper that will be published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Eva Telzer of UCLA and three other researchers report that they've performed these amygdala studies--which had previously been done on adults--on children. And they found something interesting: the racial sensitivity of the amygdala doesn't kick in until around age 14.​
What's more: once it kicks in, it doesn't kick in equally for everybody. The more racially diverse your peer group, the less strong the amygdala effect. At really high levels of diversity, the effect disappeared entirely. The authors of the study write that ''these findings suggest that neural biases to race are not innate and that race is a social construction, learned over time.''​
....​
But all of this is almost beside the point anyway, because there have always been plenty of reasons to believe that the amygdala response doesn't reflect an instinctive aversion to the racial "other." For example: The amygdala's response to African-American faces had been observed not just in European-American adults but in African-American adults--who aren't, in this case, the "other." Apparently whatever cultural information was inculcating a particular response to blacks in whites was having a similar effect in blacks.​
I'm not a blank slater; I don't believe that we're born innocent, and only develop a dark side after bad tendencies are engrained by evil capitalists, or evil patriarchs, or evil warmongers, or evil whatevers. I think that, though we're not naturally racist, we're naturally "groupist." Evolution seems to have inclined us to readily define whole groups of people as the enemy, after which we can find their suffering, even death, very easy to countenance and even facilitate.​
But when it comes to defining this enemy--defining the "out group"--people are very flexible. The out group can be defined by its language, its religion, its skin color, its jersey color. (And jersey color can trump skin color--just watch a brawl between one racially integrated sports team and another.) It all depends on which group we consider (rightly or wrongly) in some sense threatening to our interests.​
It's in this sense that race is a "social construct." It's not a category that's inherently correlated with our patterns of fear or mistrust or hatred, though, obviously, it can become one. So it's within our power to construct a society in which race isn't a meaningful construct.​
New Evidence That Racism Isn't 'Natural' - The Atlantic

Also:
Considerable evidence shows that conservative ideology predicts all sorts of prejudice—against ethnic and racial minorities, the disadvantaged, any outgroup. Indeed, right wingers are much more likely to see outgroups as a threat to traditional values and social order, resulting in heightened prejudice. Dhont and Hodson tested and confirmed this mediation model: Lower childhood intelligence clearly predicts right-wing ideology and attitude, which in turn predicts prejudice in adulthood.
The scientists elaborate on this idea in the Current Directions article: Intelligence and thinking determine how people assess threats in the world. Those with lower ability—reasoning skills, processing speed, and so forth—prefer simple and predictable answers, because that is what they are capable of processing. Any uncertainty is threatening, and they respond to such threats by trying to preserve what is familiar and safe, the status quo. These conservative reactions are basic and normal—they reduce anxiety—but over time they harden into more stable and pervasive world views, which include stereotypical thinking, avoidance, prejudicial attitudes and over discrimination.​
Is Racism Just a Form of Stupidity?


Racism is learned behaviour. Stereotyping on the other hand... well stereotypes exist for a reason.








We all make snap judgments about people even if we haven’t met them. This is called stereotyping, and depending on the context, our stereotypes can either be good or bad. A new study finds that people with higher cognitive abilities are more likely to learn and apply social stereotypes. However, they also have the ability to more easily unlearn them when presented with new information.

The researchers say that these individuals are more adept at picking up subtle patterns that aren’t obvious to the average person. However, their stereotyping associations can be challenged when new patterns arise.

“Superior cognitive abilities are often associated with positive outcomes, such as academic achievement and social mobility,” said the study’s lead author David Lick, a postdoctoral researcher in New York University’s Department of Psychology. “However, our work shows that some cognitive abilities can have negative consequences—specifically, that people who are adept at detecting patterns are especially quick to learn and apply social stereotypes.”

Recognizing patterns is how we learn
Learning can be boiled down to patterns. Whether learning a new language, recognizing faces, or detecting emotions, there is usually a commonly followed pattern that makes these domains easier to understand.

However, the researchers do see how pattern recognition can be negative in regard to social bias.

“Stereotypes are generalizations about the traits of social groups that are applied to individual members of those groups. To make such generalizations, people must first detect a pattern among members of a particular group and then categorize an individual as belonging to that group. Because pattern detection is a core component of human intelligence, people with superior cognitive abilities may be equipped to efficiently learn and use stereotypes about social groups,” the authors note.



Stereotyping more common in those with high cognitive ability
 
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