Think you’re not racist?The great thing about this logic is that racism can never be defeated: the more evidence that racism has been defeated, the more proof of racism.
Research uncovers our secret prejudices, and ways to overcome them By Alice G. Walton
Then the team asked the participants, in a number of different ways, whether race was currently a limiting factor for people in the US. They found that people who were incidentally exposed to counterstereotypical African Americans, such as Obama, former Brown University President Ruth Simmons, or Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, were much more likely to say that race wasn’t a limiting factor. “Those exposed to Black counterstereotypical exemplars were more likely to deny racism and state that Blacks could pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they tried,” the team writes.
Interestingly, it was solely the counterstereotypical nature of the exemplars that was key to the effect—highly successful African Americans in more “stereotypical” professions didn’t provoke it. When participants were shown pictures of singer Diana Ross or basketball player LeBron James, they did not later issue the same denial.