clothing influences race perception

Dress Nice and Look White – Science Says So

Every so often another race-based study comes out that makes me wonder if scientists are just thinking of ways to fuck with people on an emotional level. On the other hand, it does solidify why I’m working so hard to be an Oreo.

This is another one of those studies. It’s findings: If you’re dressed nice, you’re probably white.

Researchers had people look at a bunch of pictures of folks who were dressed in either a nice business suit or in janitor’s clothes and guess the person’s race. Though people eventually guessed race correctly most of the time, if the person was in the suit, they were more likely to try and click “white” first.

Based on these photos, I'm more likely to pick "Dead-eyed Soulless Pedo." But no one asked me to be in this study.

What I’d like to know is whose idea this study was and how exactly they decided to do this. I imagine the conversation went something like this:

Researcher: So, I want to do a study where we show people pictures of nicely dressed people and badly dressed people and have people if they’re black or white.

Panel: Are you racist?

Researcher: What? No! Why would you say that?

Panel: Well, a person’s clothes are just clothes, right? Do you have a hard time judging a person’s race if they’re wearing Chanel?

Researcher: Of course not! I just think that…umm… maybe other people do.

Panel: Yes, but why do you think that? How did this come into your brain? Why spend millions on this piece of stereotyping? Johnson over here, he’s working on cancer. And Cortez is busy exploring chronic poverty. And you think a black man can’t wear a suit and still look black.

Researcher: Listen sirs.

Researcher stands up. Paces in front of the panel.

Researcher: I may or may not have all the answers. And I may have some crazy questions. But let’s be honest. Is there one among us who hasn’t at some point asked some crazy fucking questions! If so, I invite him to throw the first stone!

Researcher stands on the table. 

Researcher: Sure, it’s scary to look inside ourselves and probe what’s really in there. No one like colonoscopies emotional or otherwise.  Sure, there will be some long, dark nights collating data where we wonder who we really are. But it is in those trenches, sirs, that men become men. That women become women. And that God appears to all of us.

Assistant: Oh captain, my captain!

Panel: We’re science. We don’t really do God.

Researcher: Dammit.

Panel: And as for the rest of it. Well, here’s what we have to say about that!

CLAP…CLAP….CLAP….CLAP… 

A slow clap commences as Researcher takes his seat.

Researcher: Thank you, gentlemen. As a black woman, I appreciate this opportunity.

Panel: You’re black?!?!?! Ohhhh, it was the Burberry and the Louboutins. We had no idea. Nicely done!

There are three black dudes, two and a half Asians and one Native American in there. You just can't tell cuz they look so swank