[In 1940s-style Movietone newsreel voice] “Hello, J.R.? Yeah, this cover’s perfect, but it needs just one thing: Get me the Empire State Building and some biplanes, and make it snappy!!”

Big man, little woman

For weeks, I’ve been trying to get the word out on an underreported paper by psychologists at Stanford, Pennsylvania State University and the University of California-Berkeley: According to these researchers, many Americans subconsciously associate Black people with apes.

In addition, the findings show that society is more likely to condone violence against Black criminal suspects as a result of its broader inability to accept African Americans as fully human, according to the researchers.

Those findings, researched over a six-year period, were printed February 7 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.

Co-author Jennifer Eberhardt, a Stanford associate professor of psychology who is Black, said she was shocked by the results, particularly since they involved subjects born after Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. “This was actually some of the most depressing work I have done,” she said. “This shook me up. You have suspicions when you do the work—intuitions—you have a hunch. But it was hard to prepare for how strong [the Black-ape association] was—how we were able to pick it up every time.”

When colleague Ray Winbush forwarded me the LeBron James/Gisele Bündchen VOGUE cover, above, my first raw thought was that James looked bestial. They look like King Kong and Fay Wray. Is it just me? Am I just imagining this?



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