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Heather Mac Donald joins City Journal associate editor Seth Barron to discuss the dubious scientific and statistical bases of the trendy academic theory known as “implicit bias.” The implicit association test (IAT), first introduced in 1998, uses a computerized response-time test to measure an individual’s bias, particularly regarding race.
Despite scientific challenges to the test’s validity, the implicit-bias idea has taken firm root in popular culture and in the media. Police forces and corporate HR departments are spending millions every year reeducating employees on how to recognize their presumptive hidden prejudices.
In the wake of the Google employee defenestration, there has been some discussion recently on the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Apparently the IAT is being used as a method of thought control even though its caution that …these Universities, as well as the individual researchers who have contributed to this site, make no claim for […]
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Voltaire once said that if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him. Fast forward to today, and the left has invented everything required for social control that used to be provided by religion, except a replacement for God. Their most recent innovation in this field is “implicit bias,” which acts as a stand-in for original sin.
Before we dive into the technical details, it’s worth taking a moment to review how America got here. The left in America for at least the past few generations has viewed the world with an implicit Marxian frame. That is, they view the world as consisting of groups of people who are oppressed, and other groups of people who do the oppressing. In the traditional Marxist (note the subtle difference here, between -ist and -ian) formulation, that would be the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, respectively. This was a psychologically useful delusion until the end of the Cold War decisively proved that communism is a complete failure whenever it is implemented. It’s pretty hard to convince people they should create a Worker’s Paradise in America when so many of the Worker’s Paradises look less like an actual paradise than the status quo. There’s only so many times you can say “well, nobody has really tried communism yet” before normal people smile, nod, and walk backwards toward the nearest exit.
Unfortunately, like most people with unpopular ideas, the left looked at all of this and said to itself “Well, our ideas are obviously correct in spite of all evidence to the contrary, so the problem must be that we cannot communicate such that American people can understand us.” So, this is where the new fad “intersectionality” comes in. Intersectionality is a theory that basically says that you can be oppressed in a multitude of ways depending on your identity, and because most approaches to dealing with oppression usually only address one of those ways in which you are being oppressed, the “structures of oppression” “intersect,” e.g., coordinate their activities accordingly such that the “cycle of oppression” is free to continue indefinitely.