Why do people discriminate against blacks

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Do people really discriminate against blacks?

Can racism be measured?

In an experiment done by a clever psychologist people who were believed to have no history of discrimination against blacks sat in front of a computer and were quickly presented with either a black or a white face on the screen.

Next those people were randomly presented with pictures of either a wrench or a gun and were asked to click on a button when they see the gun on the computer screen, and guess what?

Those who saw the black face first identified the gun quicker (the computer could measure response time in milliseconds). The brains of those people associated blacks with danger and threat so that they were able to see the gun faster than those who saw white faces first! (see also How your beliefs and concerns affect your perception)

Does this mean those people were racists?
In fact the people chosen for the experiment were carefully selected to exclude anyone with strong racial bias. So why did this happen then?

Striving for superiority

Each human being is born with a desire to become superior and more powerful. This desire is usually developed when the small kid finds himself helpless compared to the grown up adults.

If that child failed to find a way to feel powerful, by excelling in life for example, then he might develop an inferiority complex. But there is a third case where the mind kicks in to save the person's self esteem even if he still believed that he is not that worthy. (see also Why do people stick to their incorrect beliefs)

By helping the person find people who seem inferior to him he can feel good about himself once again. In my previous article 5 weird reasons people have friends i explained how some girls only become friends with less attractive ones in order to feel superior to them.

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that putting others down instead of being brave enough to go up is a very common defense mechanism that people use. After all instead of admitting failure and trying again bravely it might hurt less to get a cheap victory by discriminating against another group of people. (see also The psychology of self deception)

But why do people discriminate against blacks?

If you are a black person reading this article now then am sure you are asking yourself the "why the blacks" question?

The media with its movies, songs, ads and it all its forms have been feeding humans with the idea that some races are inferior to others. This might be less visible these days but some time ago the messages sent were 100% clear.

Not a long time ago heavy women were considered much more attractive than slim women who were considered unhealthy. Why do you think this idea has changed completely?

Its because the media have programmed the minds of people with these new beliefs. (see also how your mind gets programmed with new beliefs)

That's why the guys in the experiment i mentioned associated blacks with danger. Its not because they were racists but because they were programmed to believe that blacks are dangerous even if they were unaware that they are carrying this belief.

2knowmyself is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

The Solid confidence program was launched by 2knowmyself.com; the program will either help you become more confident or give you your money back.

Want to know more?

Are white people smarter than black ones?

How words can change your brain and life

How the media affects people

Why do people put others down?

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