This new map shows how easily white Europeans associate black faces with negative ideas.
Since 2002, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have logged onto a website run by Harvard University called Project Implicit and taken an “implicit association test” (IAT), a rapid-response task which measures how easily you can pair items from different categories.
To create this new map, we used data from a version of the test which presents white or black faces and positive or negative words. The result shows how easily our minds automatically make the link between the categories – what psychologists call an “implicit racial attitude”.
A European map of implicit racial bias. Author provided.
Each country on the map is coloured according to the average score of test takers from that country. Redder countries show higher average bias, bluer countries show lower average bias, as the scale on the top of the map shows.
Like a similar map which had been made for US states, our map shows variation in the extent of racial bias – but all European countries are racially biased when comparing blacks versus whites.
In every country in Europe, people are slower to associate blackness with positive words such as “good” or “nice” and faster to associate blackness with negative concepts such as “bad” or “evil”. But they are quicker to make the link between blackness and negative concepts in the Czech Republic or Lithuania than they are in Slovenia, the UK or Ireland.
No country had an average score below zero, which would reflect positive associations with blackness. In fact, none had an average score that was even close to zero, which would reflect neither positive nor negative racial associations.