And everyone thought all those hours on Facebook were a waste of time. Granted, this study shouldn’t have singled out White people for “racist” posts but still, I think the findings are encouraging.
“Psychologists Shannon Rauch and Kimberley Schanz published their work in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. They sampled 623 Internet users (all white, 70 percent students), asking them to indicate the frequency of their Facebook usage. The group then read one of three versions of a Facebook Notes page they were told was written by a 26-year-old named Jack Brown. “Jack” was white and male. The first version of Jack’s message contained what the researchers call a “superiority message”: It “contrasted the behaviors of black and white individuals, only to find consistent superiority of the whites.” The second version offered a “victim message,” with Jack suggesting in his message that “whites are the most oppressed racial group in America.” The third version offered an “egalitarian message,” with Jack offering examples of racism he’d witnessed against black individuals, and concluding that discrimination, despite the progress we’ve made, still “exists widely today.”
The researchers then asked participants, for each version of the post, to rate factors like “how much they agreed with the message,” “how accurate they found it,” “how much they liked the writer,” and, significantly, how likely they were to share the post with others — either to propagate it or to argue against it.
Their findings? “Frequent users are particularly disposed to be influenced by negative racial messages.” The group of more-frequent Facebook users didn’t differ from others in their reaction to the egalitarian message. But those users “were more positive toward the messages with racist content — particularly the superiority message.”
MOAR (intentional misspelling)