There are two men. They have nearly identical bodies, close to the same height and weight.
Which one is larger?
Which one is more threatening?
Which one could do more harm to you?
In recent studies conducted by John Paul Wilson, Nicholas Rule, and Kurt Hugenberg and published by American Psychological Association, the researchers found out that the race of a person can be linked to his/her body size and amount of threat that can be expected from the person.
In six of the studies, hundreds of participants were tasked with connecting a man’s face to body size, the potential harm a man could inflict, and whether use of force against that man would be justified in case of an altercation. In the seventh study, participants were asked to estimate a headless male body’s size based on a color-inverted picture (to remove racial identifiers), but some participants were primed to believe — through a stereotypically black or white name or through a picture of a person’s face — that the body picture was of a white man while others were primed to believe it’s a black man.
Throughout all these tests, researchers produced the same results and when participants believed the man in the images is black, they generally saw the man as larger, more threatening, and potentially more harmful in an altercation than a white person. Is this a new racial myth? Or another negative discourse on Black man.
Clearly, the studies raise more biases than they solve the problem of racism in our society. In all, the studies chart the old pathway of associating violence with black race.