Morgan Freeman Asks, ‘Are We All Bigots?’ – WATCH

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According to Morgan Freeman, you and I are kidding ourselves with our attempts at logic-ing away widespread discrimination. In a recent episode of "Through The Wormhole", Freeman digs into the social psychology that plays an integral part in the ways in which racial biases factor into our senses of danger and safety. Racism, Freeman explains, is more than a mere function of misunderstanding. Rather, it’s the result of a life’s worth of how law enforcement officers are trained to respond to perceived threats.

“On average, white subjects are quicker to shoot the black male and are 30-40% more likely to mistake his phone for a gun,” Freeman explained of tests that have been conducted to understand how the police conceptualize black men. “When [this experimentation was performed with law enforcement officers], he finds that their expert training significantly reduced the occurrence of fatal mistakes.”

While it may be easy to explain the explicitly black-bias away as baseline American racism, The Science Channel found that a discrimination against black study participants was just as strong.

“We think this represents an awareness of a cultural stereotype,” Joshua Correll explains. “Not that our participants–necessarily–that black men are more dangerous than white men. But by virtue of [news reports,] they’re getting the idea that black male goes with violent.”

Watch as Morgan Freeman asks, "Are We All Bigots?", AFTER THE JUMP…

 

Comments

  1. Enough said says

    by virtue of [news reports,] they’re getting the idea that black male goes with violent.”

    Even more when those news reports themselves have racist overtones. For example an underage black youth takes his grandmothers car for a joy ride and gets called a hoodlum etc by the news reporters while a white kid takes his parent’s car he is refereed to as “boys will be boys. Cute rascal . etc” This is just 1 real world example that has happened out of zillions

    It also doesn’t help that the holywood portrayal of african americans is either “thug” or bafoon most of the time.

  2. ATLJason says

    The actual episode has a hilarious clip about stereotypes. They show a guy looking at a perfectly normal Asian girl and in his head she changes to this studious, bookworm type as a play on the “all Asians are smart” stereotype. THEN, they show the same guy looking at a well-dressed man who is fussing with his hair in the mirror and suddenly the scene changes to a gay guy in a club getting down to dance music. The implication being, of course, that any guy that cares about his appearance must be gay and all gay guys spend their time at dance clubs.

    It is so startlingly funny that I rewound and watched it twice. I literally burst out laughing.

  3. anon says

    Various forms of bias involve “snap” decisions in the absence of further information. The trouble starts when even in the presence of evidence that contradicts the bias the bigotry remains.

  4. Alan says

    Wait, I seem to remember this same study of police responses (to shoot or not)on This American Life a while back. And I remember that it was civilians, not police, who were more likely to shoot black suspects. The only exception were officers in gang crimes units

  5. michael in nyc says

    RICK, I know hate and racism flow through your sad body like blood; but do understand: the White racists that control the GOP do far far more harm to our great nation then all the ‘thugs’ that dance around in your mind. Those same White GOP racists also do far more damage to Gays than any ‘black thug’ will ever do.

  6. michael in nyc says

    RICK, I know hate and racism flow through your sad body like blood; but do understand: the White racists that control the GOP do far far more harm to our great nation then all the ‘thugs’ that dance around in your mind. Those same White GOP racists also do far more damage to Gays than any ‘black thug’ will ever do.

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “….you’re a twatwaffle.”

    LOL. I’ve got to write that one down.

    Twatwaffle. I love it. It isn’t sexist, is it? If it is then I can’t use it. But it sure made me laugh.

    twatwaffle

  8. Randy says

    “While it may be easy to explain the explicitly black-bias away as baseline American racism, The Science Channel found that a discrimination against black study participants was just as strong.”

    Wat?

  9. Randy says

    This is an example of bad science.

    When all people are more likely to wrongly shoot a black person holding a black cellphone, maybe we ought to look into real reasons people might be making a mistake, instead of jumping to racism.

    It would be interesting to re-do the experiment with a beige gun and beige cellphone.

  10. fedorajoe says

    All humans have inherent biases that we need to be aware of and even “manually override” at times.

    However, we are not all bigots. To suggest that we could be does nothing but water down the meaning of “bigot” by creating false equivalency. It just makes us all less able to criticize those who actually are bigots.

  11. Joe says

    Interesting. Would like to see the whole segment. There is probably some evolutionary instincts involved in the decisions that people make. For example, in the intro to the segment Freeman talks about an figure in a dark alley holding something in their hands. Human beings are probably hard wired genetically to fear something we can’t otherwise identify as a non-threat.

    As for the issue of race, I do think there is a cultural element at play. But the question becomes is that an informed or misinformed element. FBI statistics for 2013 indicate that despite making up just over 12 percent of the population, black on black murders account for 39 percent of all homicides in the country and black on white murders account for an additional 7 percent.

    Whites make up 75 percent of the population but white on white murders account for 44 percent of all homicides and white on black account for just over 3 percent of homicides.

  12. Carlie says

    @Joe

    Areas with concentrated population and concentrated poverty have murders. When our cities were all-white, the murder rates were highest where people were poorest. Race has nothing to do with murder rates. Thanks for playing.

  13. Joe says

    @Carlie

    I never said that a person’s race makes one more likely to commit murder. I was pointing out that black people tend to commit murders at far greater rates than people of other races in the United States and this FACT is why people (of all races) might perceive black people to be a greater threat than white people, as was indicated in the video.

    Next time try and use logic and reason when formulating an argument instead of allowing your emotions guide you down a path of ignorance.

  14. Paul K says

    So to ask a stupid and probably offensive question, is it not true that there is a higher probability that your average black guy is more likely to commit a crime (including mugging me or shooting me) than your average white guy?
    I know that statistic that 1 out of every 4 black males does prison time can be attributed to a “justice” system more likely to arrest and then convict a guilty black than a guilty white man. White privilege everywhere there’s room. But still, do black men not commit more crime than white men?
    If so, than my suspicion and/or subconscious bias that the black stranger might want to do me more harm than the white stranger is not unfounded. Or?
    I feel profound sadness for how young black males get screwed by modern America; that said, in my time in NYC, I have only been threatened/accosted by black men (twice in 20 years). No white guys (yet).

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