Men with “Black” Names Seen as Aggressive, Low Status

According to a study published recently in Evolution and Human Behavior, men with black-sounding names “are thought to be larger and more dangerous” than men with white-sounding names.

The study involved more than 1,500 participants, most of whom were white. After reading three different vignettes (“neutral,” “successful,” “threatening”) that featured characters with either stereotypically white-sounding or stereotypically black-sounding names, the participants were asked to describe the characters.

The study…found that men with black-sounding names, such as Jamal, DeShawn, or Darnell, were assumed to be physically larger, more aggressive, and lower in status, compared to men with white-sounding names such as Connor, Wyatt, or Garnett.

The lead author of the study, Colin Holbrook, said via press release: “I’ve never been so disgusted by my own data.” He also called the results disturbing. I agree…though I don’t find them particularly surprising.

Source: Baby Names 2015: ‘Black’-sounding Names Usually Met With Prejudice, Assumed To Be Large, Dangerous People [Study]

2 thoughts on “Men with “Black” Names Seen as Aggressive, Low Status

  1. He should retract his study as soon as possible. Even as a continental European I can immediately check, that all role models (with one exception being a rapper) for his three “Black” names are from sports like basketball, baseball, american football or boxing. No wonder that they are perceived as large and aggressive. His “White” names offer many more role models (musicians, politicians, actors) and aren’t correlated with physical strength.

    Method to check this: Look for namebearers with the given names in the Wikipedia.

  2. That’s an interesting observation. Those three black-sounding names do seem to have a lot more sports-associations than the three white-sounding names. I wonder how much this affected the results…

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