We Perceive Black Men As Bigger And Stronger Than White Men
If we showed you photos of white and black men and asked you to rate how strong they appeared to be, you might reasonably ask if we were working on another porno, despite the entire industry taking out a restraining order against us last time. But when a qualified researcher asks that question, it's suddenly a harrowing insight into the power that stereotypes have over our subconscious reasoning. It's not fair.
950 American participants were shown photos of men who, unbeknownst to them, were of equal height and weight. They were then asked to estimate the height, weight, and strength of the men, and the black men were consistently judged to be larger and stronger. And the darker their skin was, the greater the assumption that they could overpower and bench-press the wimpy white men who were actually essentially identical to them.
The study's participants also believed that the black men in the photos were, in a hypothetical unarmed confrontation, more able to cause harm, and thus that police would be more justified in using force to stop them. Before you fire up your Outrage Machine, the point of this study was not to say "Everyone is secretly racist!" but rather "Everyone is, from birth, bombarded with countless stereotypes reinforced through subtle messaging that prompt us to make weird and unfortunate snap judgement calls." The study's black participants also judged black men to be stronger, although they did not agree that the men were potentially more dangerous. Go ahead and take a wild guess as to why.
Wilson, Et.Al./Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyWhite participants also rated white subjects as more dangerous, because apparently being European makes you jumpy AF.