The authors divided 120 non-black participants into the roles of “experiencers” and “forecasters.” The “experiencers” were placed in a room with a white person and a black person, who played out pre-arranged scenarios for the experiment. The scenarios began when the black role-player bumped the white role-player’s knee when leaving the room.
In the first scenario, the white person did not comment afterwards. In the “moderate” case, the white person said, “Typical, I hate it when black people do that,” after the black person left the room. In the “extreme” case, the white person remarked, “Clumsy n****r.”
The “forecasters,” meanwhile, predicted how they would feel in these situations.
Immediately afterwards, the participants were asked to choose either the black person or the white person as a partner for an anagram test. More than half of experiencers chose the white partner — regardless of the severity of the comment that person made earlier. As for the forecasters, less than half chose the white partner when a comment was made, but most chose the white person when no comment was made.
“Some people might think that they’re very egalitarian and they don’t have to deal with their prejudices, and that’s not related to them at all, when in actual fact they may hold these hidden biases,” Kawakami said. (CNN)