Racial Tolerance Can Spread Quickly, Too, Studies Say

Studies show flip side of 'Bradley Effect' fears
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 7, 2008 9:42 AM CST
Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha take the stage to deliver his victory speech at his election night party in Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – In this election, some feared that racial biases could affect the outcome—but tolerance between groups can grow as quickly as distrust, new studies suggest. Researchers have used interviews and competitions to quickly forge close relationships between people of different ethnic backgrounds, and those newfound friendships can ease the subjects’ relations with each others’ racial groups, the New York Times reports.

That tolerance can quickly spread to the subjects’ friends, too. Why does this happen? Some researchers say it’s tied to a human tendency toward shared identity, a need to play a role in the lives of others. “It’s important to remember that implicit biases are out there, absolutely; but I think that that’s only half the story,” says an expert.