Well I'll be!
As if it's not hard enough being black in America.
Let's see now, riding a bicycle while black is a problem.
Minding your business while black in a fancy hotel is a problem.
Shopping while black is a problem.
Staring while black is a problem.
Of course we all know that driving while black is a problem. (Even if you are in your own driveway.)
And even if you are laughing while black it can be problematic for some folks.
Now comes a new one: Simply walking while black.
"Sadly, it seems, “walking while black” can have dangerous consequences.
That’s because a recent study suggests motorists are less likely to stop for an African American pedestrian in a crosswalk. A black pedestrian’s wait time at the curb was about 32 percent longer than a white person’s. Black pedestrians were about twice as likely as white pedestrians to be passed by multiple vehicles.
The small but provocative study — conducted by researchers at Portland State University in Oregon and the University of Arizona — suggests that biases just outside people’s conscious awareness can make them less likely to yield to minority pedestrians. And that could put those pedestrians at risk, said Kimberly B. Kahn, an assistant professor of social psychology at Portland State University.
Put another way: Not only do black men have to worry about being hassled — and possibly shot — by police for simply being black, they have to worry about being run over by motorists.
Kahn said a follow-up study is underway to see whether drivers also discriminate based on gender and whether crosswalk design and signage might change driver behavior.
But can it change deep-rooted stereotypes? Ralph Ellison devoted a novel to the profound invisibility of African Americans. Researchers have shown the same thing. Taxi drivers roll past black people hailing taxis. Doctors miss telltale signs of critical medical conditions. Teachers fail to see a minority child’s gifts.
Implicit bias describes the way that people may unconsciously be biased toward others based on their race, gender or some other group category even if they are not explicitly racist in their thinking.
Yet those subtle biases can emerge when people encounter a stressful situation or make split-second decisions, such as when driving. A U.S. study found that people in expensive or “high-status” vehicles were the least likely to yield to a pedestrian. An Israeli study found that drivers are more likely to yield to pedestrians in their own age group.
The effect of such subtle biases is complex. But it might cause minority pedestrians to act in ways that put themselves in danger, such as forcing the right-of-way when cars fail to stop for them, Kahn said." [More here.]
How did the black man cross the road? Very carefully.
*Pic from blackpast.org.