When addressing minorities, white liberals tend to present themselves as less competent, according to a newly released study by Yale and Princeton researchers.
Conservatives–on the other hand–use the same vocabulary no matter the race of the audience they are addressing.
The Washington Times reports:
Yale and Princeton researchers found that white Democratic presidential candidates and self-identified liberals played down their competence when speaking to minorities, using fewer words that conveyed accomplishment and more words that expressed warmth. On the other hand, there were no significant differences in how white conservatives, including Republican presidential candidates, spoke to white versus minority audiences.“White liberals self-present less competence to minorities than to other Whites — that is, they patronize minorities stereotyped as lower status and less competent,” according to the study’s abstract.
“It was kind of an unpleasant surprise to see this subtle but persistent effect,” said Cydney Dupree, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. “Even if it’s ultimately well-intentioned, it could be seen as patronizing.”
The study first analyzed speeches from Republican and Democratic presidential candidates going back 25 years.
That study, according to a Yale press release revealed that “Democratic candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences. The difference wasn’t statistically significant in speeches by Republican candidates.”
It was noted that fewer Republicans gave speeches to minority audiences than their Democratic counterparts.
Then, researchers conducted an experiment where white liberals were asked to respond to hypothetical women named “Emily” and “Lakisha”
“Liberal individuals were less likely to use words that would make them appear highly competent when the person they were addressing was presumed to be black rather than white,” said the release. “No significant differences were seen in the word selection of conservatives based on the presumed race of their partner.”
Dupree says those white liberals “may be unwittingly contributing to group divides,” no matter how well intentioned they may be.