SocraticGadfly: The Dunning-Kruger effect and race relations

July 24, 2015

The Dunning-Kruger effect and race relations

The New York Times has a very interesting story about race relations in America.

Two key polling points are the "tells."

First, about 60 percent of Americans, including majorities among both whites and blacks, think race relations are generally bad, and about 40 percent think they're getting worse.

However, more than 75 percent think they're getting better in their own communities.

Which is just as impossible as everybody in Lake Wobegon being above average, or the Red Queen's multiple impossibilities actually being true.

That's why I mentioned the Dunning-Kruger effect. This seems to be the emotional or moral version of that, where most people think they're smarter or more competent than they actually are, expect people are thinking they're more racially enlightened than they may actually be.

Here's the real "tell" on that:
Similarly, only a third thought that most people were comfortable discussing race with someone of another race, but nearly three-quarters said they were comfortable doing so themselves.

Erm, Sure! 

Which is just as impossible as everybody in Lake Woebegon being above average, or the Red Queen's multiple impossibilities actually being true.

And, as for why many people think race relations have gotten worse? The tea partiers have drunk the rebranded Jim Jones Kool-Aid, with the result of this:
Seventy-two percent of blacks said they approved of the way Mr. Obama is handling race relations, compared with 40 percent of whites. …

 The divide, seen in the answers to virtually every question in the poll, was stark when respondents were asked whether they thought most Americans had judged Mr. Obama more harshly because of his race. Eighty percent of blacks said yes, while only 37 percent of whites agreed.

Don’t tell me you’re surprised.

I would suggest those 60 percent of whites (not counting any like me who ding Obama from the left at times) take a test about subconscious bias at Project Implicit.

But, I know they won't.

1 comment:

Simon said...

Interesting, probably doesn't help that many whites don't associate with blacks in their day-to-day lives.

The other thing that disappoints me is the tribalism of both African Americans and many establishment Progressives or Liberals concerning Obama. Having said that even a journalist like Bruce Shapiro who considers himself a radical journalist, makes excuses for Obama. Darwin I wish someone would interview him and take him to task.

The really sad thing I'm seeing though, from the New Atheists and some other 'Progressives' are people who are left on traditional progressive values but are Islamaphobic and apologists for Israel and US human rights abuses. If you mix Dunning-Kruger and a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance you end up with a Sam Harris fan boy. It bogglers the mind that these people think he is an intellectual giant.