Yale study: White liberals use ‘less competent’ language with blacks — but conservatives don’tCue the tape of Hillary saying "I don't feel no ways tired", pandering to a black church in 2007.
The study is published psychology research by Cydney H. Dupree, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management and summarized in Yale Insights.
According to new research by Cydney Dupree, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale SOM, white liberals tend to downplay their own verbal competence in exchanges with racial minorities, compared to how other white Americans act in such exchanges. The study is scheduled for publication in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.Could it be that until very recently Republicans didn't speak to minority audiences because they weren't invited and didn't expect to be able to get more than 1% of those voters to even consider listening to them, anyway?
While many previous studies have examined how people who hold racial bias behave in multi-racial settings, few have studied how whites who are more well-intentioned interact with people of other races. “There’s less work that explores how well-intentioned whites try to get along with racial minorities,” Dupree says. “We wanted to know their strategies for increasing connections between members of different social groups—and how effective these strategies are.”
The team found that Democratic candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences. The difference wasn’t statistically significant in speeches by Republican candidates, though “it was harder to find speeches from Republicans delivered to minority audiences,” Dupree notes. There was no difference in Democrats’ or Republicans’ usage of words related to warmth. “It was really surprising to see that for nearly three decades, Democratic presidential candidates have been engaging in this predicted behavior.”
In another experiment, they tried to test how white participants would speak to a hypothetical or presumed-real interaction partner. They were assigned someone to compose an email to:
For half of these participants, their partner was given a stereotypically white name (such as “Emily”); for the other half, their partner was given a stereotypically black name (such as “Lakisha”). Participants were asked to select from a list of words for an email to their partner. For some studies, this email was for a work-related task; for others, this email was simply to introduce themselves. Each word had been previously scored on how warm or competent it appears.Down here in the south, when we're faced with a patronizing person, we tend to say, "bless her heart" (or his or their).
The researchers found that liberal individuals were less likely to use words that would make them appear highly competent when the person they were addressing was presumed to be black rather than white. No significant differences were seen in the word selection of conservatives based on the presumed race of their partner. “It was kind of an unpleasant surprise to see this subtle but persistent effect,” Dupree says. “Even if it’s ultimately well-intentioned, it could be seen as patronizing.”
So the article's takeaway is that liberals tended to talk down to minorities when addressing them, while conservatives didn't. Which is to say the liberals attribute less intelligence and less accomplishment to minorities, so they crank back their obviously superior intellect to talk to the inferior minorities. Conservatives tended to talk to minorities as if they're simply other people and should be treated as equals.