Study: Confederate Flag Triggers Anti-Black Mindset

confederate_tshirtShocking discoveries: apparently, symbols from the past can retain a potent negative impact, and the Confederate flag is definitely racist. In two studies, after being exposed to a subliminal image of the Rebel flag, whites (of all political affiliations) displayed increased animosity towards black people. Miller-McCune reports:

The Confederate flag, which continues to fly on buildings throughout the American South 150 years after the Civil War, is a potent symbol. But of what? Cultural heritage, answer many Southern whites. Lingering racism, insist many blacks.

Newly published research provides evidence supporting the latter view. It suggests exposure to the flag evokes anti-black sentiments among whites, regardless of their stated beliefs on racial issues.

Specifically, white students at a large state-supported Southern university who were exposed to images of the still-ubiquitous battle flag judged a fictional black character more harshly. They expressed less willingness to vote for presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

“Whether or not the Confederate flag includes other nonracist meanings, exposure to this flag evokes responses that are prejudicial,” a research team led by Florida State University psychologist Joyce Ehrlinger writes in the journal Political Psychology. Displays of the flag, the researchers assert, “may actually provoke discrimination — even among those who are low in prejudice.”

“Whether or not the Confederate flag includes other nonracist meanings, exposure to this flag evokes responses that are prejudicial,” a research team led by Florida State University psychologist Joyce Ehrlinger writes in the journal Political Psychology. Displays of the flag, the researchers assert, “may actually provoke discrimination — even among those who are low in prejudice.”

“White participants exposed to the Confederate flag reported a significantly lower likelihood of voting for Obama than those exposed to the neutral symbol,” the researchers report. (No similar impact was found for black participants.) Exposure to the flag had no effect on their self-reported measures of liberalism or conservatism; this suggests the flag’s psychic impact was on racial rather than ideological attitudes.

The second study featured 116 white students, half of whom were exposed to the Confederate flag via a sticker attached to a folder that sat upon their desks. They read a story about “a young man named Robert who engaged in ambiguously negative and aggressive behavior.”

Specifically, Robert — a young black male whose picture was provided — “refused to pay his rent until his landlord painted his apartment, and demanded his money back from a store clerk.” The results: Those exposed to the flag, which was sitting on the corner of their desks while they took the test, rated Robert more negatively than the others.

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19 Responses to Study: Confederate Flag Triggers Anti-Black Mindset

  1. Anon January 24, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    What I see is a symbol that should point to the last major organized resistance against our federal state, which was imposing it’s will upon the Southern culture it didn’t understand. Instead, this symbol is covered with the blanket of racism, so that we may forget our rebellious past and abhor in it’s idealized hatred. This article alone is a great use of disinformation to keep the majority of citizens thinking about the black/white lines, when we should be looking at the greater picture… are “superpowers” really all that super? ;)

    We tend to forget that the Northern states were just as disgusting when it came to abusing human rights as their Southern brothers, they just weren’t required to feed and shelter their slaves.

    • Raymond January 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      “What I see is a symbol that should point to the last major organized resistance against our federal state, which was imposing it’s will upon the Southern culture it didn’t understand.”
      I love it when people say things that are completely historically inaccurate just because it sounds right to them. Yep, those damn Yankees had a hard time understanding a southern culture where we had more than a million people enslaved here in Georgia alone. You want to equate the Confederates with the modern anti-fed, 9/11 Truth crowd and this is ridiculous. The Confederates, my ancestors, were some of the most despicable people in the history of the Western World, and they got exactly what they deserved. Three cheers for Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and the Feeral Gpvernment.

    • copperhead25 March 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

      Absolutely…glad to see somebody gets it!

  2. Anon January 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    What I see is a symbol that should point to the last major organized resistance against our federal state, which was imposing it’s will upon the Southern culture it didn’t understand. Instead, this symbol is covered with the blanket of racism, so that we may forget our rebellious past and abhor in it’s idealized hatred. This article alone is a great use of disinformation to keep the majority of citizens thinking about the black/white lines, when we should be looking at the greater picture… are “superpowers” really all that super? ;)

    We tend to forget that the Northern states were just as disgusting when it came to abusing human rights as their Southern brothers, they just weren’t required to feed and shelter their slaves.

  3. Paddym_13 January 25, 2011 at 4:27 am #

    yeah, a flag suddenly makes people more racist. And that Judas Priest record is gonna make me shoot myself in the face.

  4. Paddym_13 January 25, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    yeah, a flag suddenly makes people more racist. And that Judas Priest record is gonna make me shoot myself in the face.

    • Andrew January 25, 2011 at 1:06 am #

      Yeah, and that straw man is going to make the facts of human behavior go away.

  5. Andrew January 25, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    Yeah, and that straw man is going to make the facts of human behavior go away.

  6. Hadrian999 January 25, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    people’s reaction to the symbol is tells more about the person than the symbol.
    the same logic could be used to say the swastika is antisemitic even though it predates it’s antisemitic connotations.

  7. Hadrian999 January 25, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    people’s reaction to the symbol is tells more about the person than the symbol.
    the same logic could be used to say the swastika is antisemitic even though it predates it’s antisemitic connotations.

  8. Raymond January 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    “What I see is a symbol that should point to the last major organized resistance against our federal state, which was imposing it’s will upon the Southern culture it didn’t understand.”
    I love it when people say things that are completely historically inaccurate just because it sounds right to them. Yep, those damn Yankees had a hard time understanding a southern culture where we had more than a million people enslaved here in Georgia alone. You want to equate the Confederates with the modern anti-fed, 9/11 Truth crowd and this is ridiculous. The Confederates, my ancestors, were some of the most despicable people in the history of the Western World, and they got exactly what they deserved. Three cheers for Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and the Feeral Gpvernment.

  9. Rkpn91 January 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    haha i have this shirt

  10. Rkpn91 January 26, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    haha i have this shirt

  11. Jonnyrebel February 21, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    fuck this story i wanna know where to find that shitrt

  12. Jonnyrebel February 21, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    fuck this story i wanna know where to find that shitrt

  13. copperhead25 March 10, 2011 at 12:39 am #

    Absolutely…glad to see somebody gets it!

  14. guest September 8, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    So because someone wouldn’t vote for Obama, the confederate flag is to blame? Wow what else will liberals and  Obama apologist blame his failures on.

  15. guest September 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    So because someone wouldn’t vote for Obama, the confederate flag is to blame? Wow what else will liberals and  Obama apologist blame his failures on.

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