White liberals dumb themselves down when they speak to black people, a new study contends

white liberals see black people as stupid with no agency

 

You have recently joined a book club.

Before each meeting, one member of the literary collective sends an email to the club secretary offering a few thoughts on the assigned text. This month, it’s your turn to compose the brief review.

A new study suggests that the words you use may depend on whether the club secretary’s name is Emily (“a stereotypically White name,” as the study says) or Lakisha (“a stereotypically Black name”). If you’re a white liberal writing to Emily, you might use words like “melancholy” or “euphoric” to describe the mood of the book, whereas you might trade these terms out for the simpler “sad” or “happy” if you’re corresponding with Lakisha.

But if you’re a white conservative, your diction won’t depend on the presumed race of your interlocutor.

This racial and political disparity is among the discoveries made by a pair of social psychologists in a paper forthcoming in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Psychological Association. Cydney Dupree, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, and Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton, documented what they call a “competence downshift” exhibited by white liberals in interactions with racial minorities, and with black people in particular.

The findings, based on what the authors stress is “preliminary evidence,” raise difficult questions about aspirations for a so-called post-racial society. The results reveal how subtle forms of discrimination may coincide with progress toward equal treatment, or what the paper identifies as “a significant reduction in the expression of explicit prejudice and endorsement of negative stereotypes.”

The psychologists further discovered that white liberals rarely admit to the goal of appearing less competent, a fact that highlights the role of implicit bias and “the covert nature of the competence downshift strategy.”

“White liberals may unwittingly draw on negative stereotypes, dumbing themselves down in a likely well-meaning, ‘folksy,’ but ultimately patronizing, attempt to connect with the outgroup,” argues the paper, titled “Self-Presentation in Interracial Settings: The Competence Downshift by White Liberals.”

The findings could provide a new arrow in the quiver of those who decry identity politics practiced by liberals, and yet the paper hardly applauds conservatives for their approach, reasoning that they are simply “less motivated to affiliate with racial minorities.” In other words, the paper states, white conservatives “would not bother.”

“It’s somewhat counterintuitive,” said Dupree, who is the lead author and whose research was supported by the National Science Foundation as well as by Princeton’s Joint Degree Program in Social Policy. “The idea that people who are most well intentioned toward racial minorities, the people actually showing up and wanting to forge these connections, they’re the ones who seem to be drawing on stereotypes to do so.”

At the same time, she said, the findings are in line with what research has already concluded about the persistence of stereotypes even as more overt bias diminishes. What’s new is the paper’s focus on a population that has received less attention: people most likely to see themselves as allies of racial minorities.

White liberals, she said, may not endorse stereotypes painting black people “as lower status and less competent,” as the paper notes. But they’re nevertheless aware of these ideas, she explained, “and they may be using them to try to get along in a setting that we know is tricky — navigating an interaction with someone who’s different from you.”

The motive may be ingratiation, the paper suggests, since studies show that white liberals are “concerned about appearing racist,” as Dupree said. In their role as “impression managers,” white liberals may even take on the negative stereotypes they harbor toward people of other races, in an effort, as the paper puts it, to “get on their level.”

Their conservative counterparts, meanwhile, appear not to employ these stereotypes in the same way, as Dupree said, because, “we know empirically that white conservatives are less likely to be interested in getting along with racial minorities.” This became starkly evident to the behavioral psychologist when she turned to political campaign speeches for the first of several studies conducted to test whether political ideology shaped how white people presented themselves, on scales of competence and warmth, depending on the race of their audience.

In tracking the word choices made by white Republican and Democratic presidential candidates before white and black voters, her sample size was limited primarily by “the number of speeches in which Republican presidential candidates showed up for black audiences,” she said. The race of the audience was approximated by setting, at a black church for example, and by occasion, say the 40th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

What she found, by performing online text analysis of 74 campaign speeches over the past 25 years, was that white candidates who were Democrats used significantly fewer words about “agency or power” and more about “affiliation and communality” when addressing minority voters. There was no significant difference exhibited by Republican candidates.

The irony, as the paper notes, is that “Whites who may be more affiliative toward Blacks alter their verbal responses toward them in a way that matches negative stereotypes. Despite the patronizing behavior that they enact, these liberal candidates may hold more goodwill toward minorities.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/11/30/white-liberals-dumb-themselves-down-when-they-speak-black-people-new-study-contends/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1d0fbf75da33

‘Devil Next Door,’ new A&E series to take closer look at controversial Word of Faith Fellowship Church

 

 

The A&E Network is set to begin airing a new, six-part original docu-series on Tuesday night called “The Devil Next Door” based on the decades old controversial evangelical sect, Word of Faith Fellowship Church in Spindale, North Carolina.

“’The Devil Next Door’ takes a look at Spindale, North Carolina. It appears to be an average American town but hidden inside lies a church that is steeped in scandal,” a summary of the series begins on A&E.

“The Word of Faith Fellowship, led by Jane Whaley, proclaims to be a devout Christian church, but former members tell a different story: one of violence and exploitation. It’s the mission of these former members to convince those still inside, including their own loved ones and children, to break away from the church. Is Jane’s power finally about to come to an end?” it ends.

The six-part series will air on A&E starting at 10 p.m. EST on Tuesday. Episodes will air weekly through Dec. 18 and then the last two episodes will air in January 2019, the Times News Online said.

“We have interviewed or spoken with about 30 ex-members over the entire period we’ve been working on the project. Some did not want to participate on camera but were willing to speak to our producers and share their stories. The six episodes do focus on the stories of six specific ex-members who have opened up their lives to us,” Melissa Koshir, senior manager of publicity for A&E, told Times News Online.

Word of Faith Fellowship Church, founded by Jane Whaley and her husband, Sam, in 1979, describes itself as a nondenominational, Protestant church with classical Christian conservative beliefs. It also operates Word of Faith Christian School.

Officials from the cable network like Elaine Frontain Bryant, executive vice president and head of programming for A&E, said the victims of the church will provide powerful testimony in the series which they hope will help to convince their loved ones who still remain a part of the church to break free.

“A&E Network prides itself in finding truth and conviction through powerful storytelling,” Bryant told Times News Online. “The victims of the Word of Faith Fellowship Church have shocking and timely first-hand accounts that need to be shared and A&E is proud to provide them this very necessary platform so we can ensure their voices will be heard.”

Last summer, officials in Brazil and the U.S. announced that they were investigating Word of Faith Fellowship Church after the sect was accused of enticing young members of the Brazilian branch of their church to come to the U.S. on tourist and student visas, then coercing them to work illegally “like slaves” with little or no pay.

Prior to the announcement of the federal investigation, 16 Brazilians alleged in an Associated Press report that they were forced to work “like slaves” while in the U.S. after being lured with the chance of coming to America to sightsee as tourists or study.

“Everybody knew these trips were not about tourism,” Paulo Henrique Barbosa, 23, who now works in information technology in Sao Paolo, told the AP. “I didn’t want to go, but I had no choice.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/devil-next-door-new-ae-series-take-closer-look-controversial-word-of-faith-fellowship-church.html