December 3, 2008
Oh no! I’m racist!
As suggested by Malcolm Gladwell I just took an Implicit Association Test (IAT) which, through responding quickly to a lot of pictures and words, is supposed to tell me my racial attitude on an unconscious level. I took the test twice, because I didn’t believe the results. But, sure enough, when I finished the IAT, these were the big, bold words staring down at me from my computer screen: “You have a strong automatic preference for European American compared to African American.” Dang it! I’m going to keep taking this thing until I can get it right. I’d really rather not be racist, I promise.
Fortunately, Malcom Gladwell says my results don’t mean I’m racist. In fact, he says that my crappy test score is society’s fault and not mine. Suck it, society. In reality, I wasn’t surprised by my score. I sincerely believe that I’m not consciously racist, but I know I’ve spent my whole life surrounded by a society that favors wealthy white people (who also happen to be straight and protestant). Sorry, my Berkeley roots are coming out quite a bit, so I better move on.
Not only am I racist, but I’m also going to get paid less because I’m short. According to Blink, 14.5% of all men are six feet or taller. However, among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, 58% of men are six feet or taller. What’s even worse is that all things being equal an inch of height is worth $789 a year in salary. This means I need to spend less time performing well at work, and more time growing. Maybe I’ll need to go back to my “I think I can” advice from my previous post.
This book is making me think an awful lot. That’s probably not a good thing because it makes posts less funny and more ridiculous. Now, I’m going to go think happy thoughts and try to fix my racism problem.
December 1, 2008
Thanks to the amount of people that recommended it, today I started to read the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m only about 75 pages into it, but I can already tell that it’s going to be a fantastic book. In short, the book is about “thinking without thinking” and how we can unconsciously make decisions in seconds that are better than our consciously thought out decisions that take minutes, weeks, or years. Mainly, I think I’m going to like this book because it fits in quite perfectly with my lazy lifestyle. From now on I’m doing whatever my gut tells me and I’m thinking about nothing. If I want chocolate milk, then I’m drinking it. If I want to high five, then I’ll high ten. When you say jump, I’ll say, “only if my unconscious mind tells me to.” I can already tell that Mr. Gladwell is going to be mad at me for distorting his message.
On a serious note (don’t worry, I’ll keep it short), there was already a part of the book that was very meaningful to me. It was so meaningful that I actually marked the page with a post-it note so I’d remember to go back to it. That might not seem like a huge step for you, but I very rarely ever mark up books. (I guess it goes back to the laziness thing.) Gladwell talks about an experiment that was done where African American students did twice as badly on a test if they were asked to identify their race on a pretest questionnaire. Gladwell says:
As a society, we place enormous faith in tests because we think that they are a reliable indicator of the test taker’s ability and knowledge. But are they really? If a white student from a prestigious private high school gets a higher SAT score than a black student from an inner-city school, is it because she’s truly a better student, or is it because to be white and to attend a prestigious high school is to be constantly primed with the idea of “smart”?
I sincerely believe in that last paragraph. But, unfortunately, I might ruin it with this next bad joke…
In other words, “I think I can, I think I can” is some very solid advice.