Sunday, July 1, 2007

A psychometric test for racists

Scientist in the UK are developing a test to find out your attitude towards people of other races. They suggest it can be used in the not too far future for screening potential employees and weeding out racists. I am not familiar with the science of psychometrics but I am a bit sceptical of such tools. I mean surely people have prejudice but should the score on some test say if they are hired or not? What about people who have prejudice, given their background and upbringing, and how do we evaluate their potential to change? For instance, for many young students at Wits, being in such a diverse environment, with staff, students and lecturers of all races and origins, they live through a real culture shock. Eventually, they get used to diversity and even appreciate it. With a psychometric race test, would it mean that employees would no longer have the chance for change?

4 comments:

Susan Arthur said...

Hmmm.. a psychometric test for racists? Sounds a bit dodgy to me. You talk about people changing their attitudes in your post, which begs the question, how much do people really change? With an issue like racism, I think that's fairly ingrained and will take a lot to change a person's mind.
Interesting that this test is being developed in the UK.

Thomas Blaser said...

Well, ja, I find the whole concept of psychometric tests questionable. After all, we are much more complex than such a snap shot would allow to. True, racism can be ingrained but we often neglect the potential for change, especially among young people.

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

My question is, ''are there people existing who have no prejudices?'' I would be sceptical as well. The word racism on its own generates so much debate. What is racist to you may not be racist to me. On whose notion of 'racism' is the test based? The UK is of course plagued by racism, I suppose this might be one of the 'solutions' being explored in that regards. How's the job going Thomas. we rather miss you on blogthinking. ''Please come back''(belted out in operatic notes).

Bruce said...

The theory of reflexivity sates that what can be instilled in a person's mind can end turn to reality to the person concerned - said one commentator.