Things That Make You Go Hmmm….

Sorta adoption related because it is revealing about my views on race at least as it pertains to Asians….

So in reading all the various blog posts about the apparently racially motivated arrest of an African American Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr. I ran across a reference to these really cool tests developed by Harvard to study people’s implicit assumptions about race, gender, religion etc. It’s a bit hard to describe but essentially you are presented with two different sets of “opposite” concepts such as male and female, science and liberal arts. You are then presented with a bunch of words or pictures associated with those concepts and asked to sort them accordingly. The concepts are paired with a key e.g. “I” might be “male” and “liberal arts” while “E” is “female” and “science.” The idea being that the extent to which one keeps trying to hit the “I” key for a word such as “biology” when the correct key is “E” can be revealing of our biases.

The tests are really cool. Go and check ’em out.

I’m not terribly surprised by some of my results – despite being an unabashed liberal and feminist it is hard to unlearn all those gender stereotypes and other biases that one is raised with/exposed to in our culture. Some assumptions are just very deeply ingrained and hard to break. I was happy to find that my biases were in the “slight” range, showing that 20+ years of education can make a difference.

But this one made me laugh – it was a measure of how one thinks of race (in this case Asian and European Americans) and the concept of “American” versus “foreign”:


Interesting, neh?

Now of course I grew up in a mixed race home with Asian immigrant family members and myself identify as Asian American – I guess more fully than I even realized. So I guess it’s only a little surprising that my idea of American is slightly biased in that direction. My apologies to all my European American friends and family. I know you are all “real” Americans, too. 😉

Blessings all!



Leave a Reply