How the Unconscious Mind Can Act Out Our Prejudices

Came across this book excerpt during my daily news reading:

“What would be remarkably instructive in real life is if women in various professions could experience life as men, and vice versa. If the same person got treated differently, we would be sure sexism was at work, because the only thing that changed was the sex of the individual and not his or her skills, talent, knowledge, experience, or interests. Individual human beings could become their own control groups… As it turns out, there are men who were once women, and women who were once men…

Overwhelmingly, the men told Schilt that they were being treated better than they’d been treated as women.

…becoming a woman often brings a loss of authority, harassment, and termination, but that for female-to-male workers, becoming a man often brings an increase in respect and authority. These findings . . . illustrate the often hidden and subtle processes that produce gender inequality.”

From: How the Unconscious Mind Can Act Out Our Prejudices

Good grief. 😦

2 thoughts on “How the Unconscious Mind Can Act Out Our Prejudices

    1. Interesting but I think there’s an aspect here the author missed entirely. That’s being nice – Pierre Tristam either accidentally or intentionally created sensationalist journalism!

      Non Verbal Communication (NVC)

      Ignore the skin color, the politics, the persons place of origin, all of that stuff. Put a mask on someone’s face and I betcha ANYBODY in our culture would feel uneasy in a conversation with them. Cover their whole body with a nabiq or a burqa and now there isn’t any of the NVC we’re expecting that helps us decide who this person is and where they fit. Picture having a conversation with someone hiding behind a tree! This dearth of information would lead to feelings of uneasiness and distrust because we won’t have enough information to get past Friend or Foe identification in the amount of time it usually takes. Lack of information. Guaranteed anxiety right there. What are you hiding from me, what aren’t you telling me?

      I also guarantee that our eyes would be on a constant hunt for NVC. So now you’ve got mental AND physical stress! That’s when folks go into coping mode. Some will pretend the person is invisible, some will get hostile, it’s all fight or flight reaction. It would take repeated and regular exposure for a non-covered culture to get comfortable with it. Hell, it might take so much exposure that we’d have to become a covered culture ourselves (Nabiq-Americans? ;-))! I don’t see that happening anytime soon. So…

      Let’s flip the script on the France report. With this logic, it is entirely possible that the ban on coverings in France is meant to protect these women so they will be treated fairly by well intentioned people who can’t help themselves. It’s the best option.

      That the author made no remark on any of this is appalling! I’m not a sociologist and don’t claim to even want to be a journalist but this concept practically jumped off the page. Tying it into racial bias, xenophobic “Tea Parties”, and then a woman’s rights was horrendously sloppy agenda pushing. Overlooking the impact of NVC and it’s removal on a person from our culture shows the ignorance or complete lack of thought or research by the author. I’d say it was bad science too, but this was a campus game by a professor who also had a point to underscore, not a real experiment trying to find the empirical truth.

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