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Racism Roots Identified in Monkeys?

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sasha031 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:13 AM
Original message
Racism Roots Identified in Monkeys?
Researchers from Yale University studied rhesus monkey behavior in relation to images of known monkeys (insiders) and unknown monkeys (outsiders). They concluded that they had found the first evidence that a nonhuman species shows greater attentiveness and weariness towards outsiders than those living in their own social units. Their research also showed when certain objects were associated with the outsider images, the monkeys became more attentive and weary of those objects also.

While this information may appear odd at first glance, it makes more sense when you learn some context. Their study was designed in light of the Implicit Association Test, which was developed to test human racism. It is a computer-based test which shows images of European Americans and African-Americans to subjects, and measures their tendency to associate the words good or bad with those races. The quick association of the word bad with African American faces or good with European American faces measured by the test, has been believed to show the biases of the test takers. This human-oriented test was the conceptual basis for the rhesus monkey study.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/racism-roots-identifie...
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. Not sure what that study has to do with racism...
"Outsiders" don't have to be a different color or race.

Sometimes all it takes for a group of people to be wary of others is that the others be from a different town.

In fact, in my town, there's a little bit of half-serious/half-kidding animosity between the people who live in town vs the people who live in the more rural area "on the hill". There aren't that many differences color-wise or race-wise or income-wise.

And one lady in particular that I know has complained on many occasions about being made to feel like an outsider because she wasn't born in this town but in a neighboring one. Although I personally feel most of the issue is probably of her own making...

I think the point I'm trying to make here is that it's natural for any creature to be wary of those they're not familiar with.
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bettyellen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. i have read it's natural for 1/3 of people to be wary to hostile, 1/3 of people
to be fairly neutral and 1/3 of people to be curious and welcoming to those people and situations that are new and unfamiliar. it's just that 1/3 who are more wary and conservative are the shit stirrers.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. It takes a certain kind of narrowmindedness to do this.
To see any result that might justify your personal bogeyman as being entirely about your bogeyman.

Racism and extreme partisanship are the same thing: You set up a group boundary, and then you say that everybody in your group is good, and you find ways to justify those in your group while everybody outside yoru group is bad and you find ways to demonize them whenever possible. This involves finding shared narratives that exclude the other. It involves reinterpreting narratives and producing myths and tales that substantiate the group boundaries. Most of all, it involves so much suspicion that denial of dialog and intentional misparsing of words and attribution of the worst possible intent is considered not just acceptable, but a virtue. It shows "enlightenment," you're better because you understand the enemy better than they understand themselves. In a phrase, "The worst of my tribe is better than the best of your tribe."

We're primates.

Often we're not hostile to a group because we're unfamiliar with it but because we're in close proximity to it and still recognize it as "not my group". Hatred for Hmong is hard to come by, even if you consider them "not my group" if they're all in SE Asia. They're not a threat. There's no exposure, just great unfamiliarity. But put 200 of them near people saying "they're not my group" and watch the hostility: They keep house badly, their food stinks, their language is nasty, they look funny (all things requiring some familiarity). While the counterclaim is that greater familiarity is required to get rid of group boundaries, more likely you're only going to get past your confirmation bias and perceive them as truly human, actual people, once you've gotten past your in-group/out-group hang-up.

(Although that "hang-up," being found in every group of primates I've ever heard of, is probably very old, was selected for over millions of years, and thus was probably a net advantage in evolution. In fact, if you look around the world these days, you'll see it's still a net advantage in evolution, individual cases where it leads to disaster not counterbalancing the hundreds of cases where it's a benefit.)
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
2. questionable.
Earned trust isn't the same thing as racism.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
4. sheeesh -- 'weary'? or....wary? nt
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