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Sunday, April 27, 2008

I'm not a racist; are you?

My reaction time is a tad slow, but I don't seem to see things in "black and white".

Well, that's what a University Of Chicago online psychological test tells me.

Click here to take the test yourself and tell me how you score.

My Results
Profiled recently in The New York Times, the online pop psych test presents you with images of 100 Black and white men. Some are armed, while others are carrying nothing more dangerous than a wallet or a cell phone. Unfortunately, if you're a Black man in New York, you're fully aware of the danger of carrying seemingly harmless objects.. From Amadou Diallo, who died after being shot at 41 times by police as he reached for his wallet, to the case of Sean Bell who, though unarmed, was gunned down by NYPD officers in a confrontation after a bachelor party, New York is ripe with examples of how deadly being a Black man in the wrong place at the wrong time can be.

With that in mind, I took the online exam. I was presented with these images and prompted to either shoot or holster my weapon depending on my split-second determination of whether the target was carrying a weapon or not. You lose points for being too slow and deliberate. The point of the exam is to gauge your instinctive belief of whether the target will be armed based on skin color.

My results were … "slow and deliberate". Definitely not racist; in fact I was quicker to shoot the white man with a gun. My overall score was 210, low compared to scores I observed on the site where I found this referenced. In all fairness to myself, the keys used to fire and holster, / and Z respectively seemed unfamiliar. I was probably 30 shots into the test before I became comfortable with them. My mindset was to focus immediately on the hand and it's contents as it appeared. Everything else became secondary.

The score is determined by getting points for a "good" shot -- shooting a target that is armed -- and losing points for either getting shot or shooting an unarmed target. In short, this exercise comes down to fractions of seconds. Fractions of seconds? Yes, but that's what real armed police officers who make these life and death decisions in real life situations as they encounter possible perps are faced with.

Let me know what your results look like!

**Update: I just tried the test again and, with more familiarity of the controls, my ratios didn't change appreciably but my score increased to 435.

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Blogger betmo said...

Game Over
Your Score: 525
Average reaction time:
Black Armed:747.12ms
Black Unarmed:848.28ms
White Armed:679.44ms
White Unarmed:775.76ms

title="comment permalink">April 27, 2008 10:58 PM  
Blogger betmo said...

i had the same problem you did- once i got the format down- i went for the hand and shape of a gun.

title="comment permalink">April 27, 2008 11:00 PM  
Blogger Sheri said...

590 here.

title="comment permalink">April 28, 2008 10:09 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

You ladies cleaned my clock!

title="comment permalink">April 28, 2008 10:42 PM  
Blogger Phil Marx said...

That was cool! I am surprised that the stats didn't list how many innocents were shot and how many armed persons were missed, according to each race. As it is, if I shot ten innocents and did the rest perfectly, my score would be the same no matter the race of the persons shot.

I like reflex tests, and I think that was a good psychological twist to throw in there. They should make it with some people holding objects in both hands. That would be really interesting.

title="comment permalink">April 30, 2008 3:28 AM  

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