Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Rewriting personal history by inventing racist roads not taken (Libs are racists) ^ | Dec. 4, 2012 | Northwestern University via

Posted on 12/04/2012 9:29:57 PM PST by ConservativeMind

In 2008, research showed that expressing support for Barack Obama increased people's comfort in subsequently saying or doing things that might be considered racist. Researchers argued that endorsing a black political figure made people feel as if they had "non-racist credentials" that reduced their concern about subsequently seeming prejudiced. Now this same research group has identified a mental trick that people play to convince themselves that they have these same non-racist credentials: convincing themselves that they were presented with but passed up opportunities to act in racially insensitive ways in the past.

In a series of new studies from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, researchers report two new findings. First, when people worry that their behavior could seem racist, they point to past opportunities for they had been faced with but passed up—the "racist road not taken"—that ironically increases people's to express less racially sensitive views. Second, people actually distort their memories and convince themselves that they previously passed up opportunities for racism—opportunities that did not, in fact, exist.

"Our research suggests that people demonstrate remarkable flexibility when it comes to convincing themselves that they have proven their lack of ," said Daniel A. Effron, lead author of the studies and visiting assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management. "The ability to point to blatantly racist behaviors that they didn't perform seems sufficient for people to feel that they have non-racist credentials—even if virtually no one would have chosen to perform those racist behaviors. People are essentially willing to make a mountain of proof out of a molehill of evidence.

"What's more, our results show that people are willing to go even farther and invent the molehill, convincing themselves that they passed up opportunities for racism that they didn't actually have," continued Effron.

The researchers conducted a series of six experiments. The first three established that participants are more likely to express less racially sensitive views – such as saying they would prefer to hire white people instead of black people for a hypothetical job, or allocating funds to an organization serving a white community at the expense of one serving a black community – if they have specific examples of racist behavior they have foregone.

The last three focused on the distortion of participants—their invention of racist alternatives to their actions that they could have taken but did not.

One such experiment asked participants to identify a criminal from a lineup of suspects. The evidence clearly pointed to one particular suspect who was white. All participants accused this suspect, but one participant group was also given the opportunity to accuse a clearly innocent black suspect instead. This group later felt more comfortable expressing less racial sensitivity in response to additional scenarios since they had been faced with, but not taken, a racist viewpoint.

In a follow-up study, participants all passed up five opportunities to accuse a clearly innocent black suspect of a crime—that is, they could point to five racist roads not taken. But when participants were later made to worry about feeling prejudiced, they "remembered," on average, that they had passed up nine opportunities for racism—in effect claiming that their past contained nearly twice as many racists roads not taken than it actually did.

"Inventing racist roads not taken seems to be a strategy for convincing yourself that you're not prejudiced," said Effron. "Thinking about these roads not taken can subsequently make people feel licensed to relax their vigilance in trying to avoid future prejudiced actions. There is concern that this may allow people to express truly prejudiced views. On a more optimistic note, though, there may be some cases where this ability allows people to have frank, constructive conversations about race without worrying about being misinterpreted as prejudiced."

More information: The paper, "Inventing Racist Roads Not Taken: The Licensing Effect of Immoral Counterfactual Behaviors," was co-authored by Dale T. Miller of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and Benoît Monin, a professor in the business school and the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford, along with Effron of Kellogg. The research is featured in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Journal reference: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology search and more info website

Provided by Northwestern University search and more info website

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: democrats; history; hypocrites; liberals; poll; racism
Liberalism is a mental disease.
1 posted on 12/04/2012 9:30:06 PM PST by ConservativeMind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind

Liberalism is a delusional forecast of hopeful things never achievable.

2 posted on 12/04/2012 9:34:58 PM PST by doc1019 (Women have a choice, unborn babies don't.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind

Liberalism, usually, happens to be recreational exercises for the well to do to look like they are doing something useful.

3 posted on 12/04/2012 9:56:56 PM PST by Merta (Like Joe Jones, but in reverse, I talk too much.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Merta; ConservativeMind; doc1019
Liberalism is
It’s a Sisyphusian task, but I must protest the Newspeak use of “liberalism” by three posters in a row.
At the start of the Twentieth Century the term "liberal" meant the same in America as it still does in the rest of the world - essentially, what is called "conservatism" in American Newspeak. Of course we "American Conservatives" are not the ones who oppose development and liberty, so in that sense we are not conservative at all. We actually are liberals.

But in America, "liberalism" was given its American Newspeak - essentially inverted - meaning in the 1920s (source: Safire's New Political Dictionary). The fact that the American socialists have acquired a word to exploit is bad enough; the real disaster is that we do not now have a word which truly descriptive of our own political perspective. We only have the smear words which the socialists have assigned to us.

And make no mistake, in America "conservative" is inherently a negative connotation - we know that just as surely as we know that every American marketer loves to boldly proclaim that whatever product he is flogging is NEW!

FA Hayek, in a preface to the 1956 edition of the unabridged The Road to Serfdom text, discusses the American inversion of the word “liberalism."
The fact that this book was originally written with only the British public in mind does not appear to have seriously affected its intelligibility for the American reader. But there is one point of phraseology which I ought to explain here to forestall any misunderstanding. I use throughout the term "liberal” in the original nineteenth-century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this. It has been part of the camouflage of leftist movements in this country, helped by the muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that "liberal" has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control. I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensable term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium. This seems to be particularly regrettable because of the consequent tendency of many true liberals to describe themselves as conservatives.

It is true, of course, that in the struggle against the believers in the all-powerful state the true liberal must sometimes make common cause with the conservative, and in some circumstances, as in contemporary Britain, he has hardly any other way of actively working for his ideals. But true liberalism is still distinct from conservatism, and there is danger in the two being confused. Conservatism, through a necessary element in any stable society, is not a social program; in its paternalistic, nationalistic, and power-adoring tendencies it is often closer to socialism than true liberalism; and with its traditionalistic, anti-intellectual, and often mystical propensities it will never, except in short periods of disillusionment, appeal to the young and all those others who believe that some changes are desirable if this world is to become a better place. A conservative movement, by its very nature, is bound to be a defender of established privilege and to lean on the power o f government for the protection of privilege. The essence of the liberal position, however, is the denial of all privilege, if privilege is understood in its proper and original meaning of the state granting and protecting rights to some which are not available on equal terms to others.

American “conservatism" is a strange duck. Conservatism nurtures tradition, but American tradition is freedom - and freedom allows change. It is for that reason that conservatism is, in America, not really such a terrible name for Hayek's "liberalism.”

Note that, from my perspective, "the denial of all privilege, . . . understood in its proper and original meaning of the state granting and protecting rights to some which are not available on equal terms to others" would certainly include the dismantling of the FCC's licensing of some few of us to be broadcasters and its consigning of the rest of to the role of mere listeners.

The Road to Serfdom (Link to the original Reader’sDigest Condensed version in PDF) (Warning - the link in that thread is outdated, and the actual current link to the PDF is

4 posted on 12/05/2012 12:52:42 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which “liberalism" coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks ConservativeMind.

5 posted on 12/07/2012 9:19:29 PM PST by SunkenCiv (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: conservatism_IS_compassion
American “conservatism" is a strange duck. Conservatism nurtures tradition, but American tradition is freedom - and freedom allows change.

Right, conservatives want to conserve the traditional social-political matrix that promotes change and makes it possible. Meanwhile "liberals" want to replace it with something less rambunctious, disordered, and risky -- which would mean a radical change towards stasis. The only area where "liberals" are truly committed to freedom is sexuality. Everywhere else they are risk averse control freaks.

6 posted on 12/07/2012 9:35:37 PM PST by Yardstick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson