Despite Black and White men being the same weight and height, people perceive African-Americans as physically more dangerous, a new study finds.
According to the report, Black men are viewed as taller, more muscular and heavier. The study was published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (APA).
It found that participants who were not African-American believed Black men were more capable of physical harm than White men despite being the same size.
“Black men tend to be stereotyped as threatening and, as a result, may be disproportionately targeted by police even when unarmed,” a synopsis of the study reads. “Here, we found evidence that biased perceptions of young Black men’s physical size may play a role in this process.”
In a statement published to the APA’s website, even Black participants displayed this bias. The difference was that they did not find Black men to be more harmful or deserving of force.
We found that men with darker skin and more stereotypically Black facial features tended to be most likely to elicit biased size perceptions, even though they were actually no larger than men with lighter skin and less stereotypical facial features,” said lead author John Paul Wilson, PhD, of Montclair State University. “Thus, the size bias doesn’t rely just on a White versus Black group boundary. It also varies within Black men according to their facial features.”
Researchers noted that in the wake of today’s tension between police and people of color, the physical size of those killed becomes pushed to the forefront.
“Unarmed Black men are disproportionately more likely to be shot and killed by police, and often these killings are accompanied by explanations that cite the physical size of the person shot,” Wilson said. “Our research suggests that these descriptions may reflect stereotypes of black males that do not seem to comport with reality.”
Click here for more on the report.