Online Game/Test: Are You Racist?

I wanted to write about this yesterday, when I first read about it in Nicholas Kristof's column, but so many people were doing it, the server was overloaded, and I couldn't even get to it.

The game is simple: you are shown a series of settings, into which pops a person. That person may or may not be holding a gun. If he is holding a gun, you're supposed to shoot him (the "/" key). If he's not, you're supposed to holster your weapon (the "z" key).

Kristof, whose explicit non-racist bona fides are undeniable, came up a little implicitly racist. Most white people do. Racism against blacks is so ingrained in this country that many black people apparently come up a little racist. Kristof described his scores as follows:

I shot armed blacks in an average of 0.679 seconds, while I waited slightly longer — .694 seconds — to shoot armed whites. Conversely, I holstered my gun more quickly when encountering unarmed whites than unarmed blacks.
I played too. So should you. Here are my results:
Game Over
Your Score: 550
Average reaction time:
Black Armed:604.76ms
Black Unarmed:676.52ms
White Armed:597.4ms
White Unarmed:677.96ms
I shot armed whites faster than I shot armed blacks. This might lead you to think I'm racist against white men. Or you might conclude that I am just implicitly racist in a slightly different way: that my synapses get a little stunned by the vision of a black man, and my reaction times overall slow down. Or maybe I just hate white guys. I don't know.

What really surprises me is the biggest discrepancy in my times: between shooting and holstering. I decide to shoot an armed black or white guy in between 597.4-604.76 milliseconds, but it takes me an additional 75 milliseconds of consideration or so before I'll put my boomstick away.

Man, people are violent.

Newer Post Older Post Home