IMW 300 Racial Fictions - Natural/Physical Sciences

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Author: jbusacca

Now Everyone Looks the Same: Alcohol Intoxication Reduces the Own-Race Bias in Face Recognition

This article adds onto the idea of implicit bias and a slightly different spin on it with the concept of “the own race bias”. An underlying theory about this bias is usually the fact that there is usually a lower level of contact with other races compared to same race individuals. There was a second study done that reversed this result however, showing that even when an individual came in contact with a high level of other races there still seemed to be a lot of bias. This article then examines how the possibility of consuming alcohol and intoxication can affect how we see our own race bias and how we interpret others. It was hoped that by testing this concept it would be possible to we might be able to determine driving forces in what causes biases in people. The results of the test did prove that there was no significant proportion of the variance in the test participants that really proved that alcohol consumption had any affect on how their own race bias was interpreted.


Hilliar, Kirin F., et al. “Now Everyone Looks the Same: Alcohol Intoxication Reduces the Own-Race Bias in Face Recognition.” Law and Human Behavior, vol. 34, no. 5, 2010, pp. 367–378.,

Forgotten Racial Equality: Implicit Bias and Decision Making

This article argues with the idea of implicit bias and decision making and these implicit racial biases affect the way that jurors, and judges interpret, remember, and store information in different cases that are presented. This brings in a worrying idea and raises concerns about the legal system and the ability of the system to achieve fair social justice. The article then elaborates on this claim stating that in a lot of cases we don’t intentionally mis-remember or interpret information a certain way. This way by giving the judge and jurors all the decision making ability we are making the assumption that the judges and jurors can make unbiased cognitive decisions that in a lot of cases can vastly affect someones life. Given that implicit bias is a psychological concept that we usually can’t control this always leaves us with a grey area on how we are supposed to successfully interpret the information we are given. In a scholarly sense however, there has not been a ton of research in determining how we misremember information and if people do it in racially biased ways or the reasoning behind it.


Levinson, Justin D. “Forgotten Racial Equality: Implicit Bias, Decisionmaking, and Misremembering.” Duke Law Journal, vol. 57, no. 2, 2007, pp. 345–424.,

Racial Capitalism

Racial Capitalism is the concept of deriving social or economic value from the racial identity of another person. This is an extremely negative problem when it comes to race because it relies on reinforcing stereotypes and broadcasting these stereotypes to the majority of the population and is detrimental to both individuals and societies as a whole. Racial capitalism can then cause a lot of resentment from non-white people towards white people for exploiting these stereotypes. With all the issues with race in this country racial capitalism causes a lot of problems and really makes it more difficult for race relations to improve. This article then proves how how society sees whiteness. For example, back in history people would describe white people as acting “black” when they did something bad or to be derogatory. The article then discusses how “whiteness” is the key to everything good while “non-whiteness” is used as the justification for many issues one of the oldest being slavery. Recently however, “non-whiteness” has reversed and has been a source of value and now racial capitalism has occurred because of people wanting to exploit this new perceived value.


Leong, Nancy. “Racial Capitalism.” Jstor. Harvard Law Review Association, June 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Implicit Bias

This article discusses implicit bias and how it is the unconscious and unintentional mental process of making judgements. It is stated that implicit bias goes along with when we automatically and unconsciously use heuristics to cope enormous amounts of information that is thrown at us. This article then goes into the specific fact that implicit bias has in public defender triage and in court. For example, being aware of stereotypes that we know about certain races and might not believe as true is still in our head and subconsciously being aware of these stereotypes. These are called implicit attitudes. The theory is that certain races are much more associated to negative stereotypes so there is a general tendency to associate everything negative with these negative stereotypes, which is quite a problem. This is a big issue with public defenders because of their massive caseloads and being very underfunded it makes it very difficult for  public defenders to successfully represent clients. Because of how much work public defenders have they are forced to work with “triage” and quickly decide which clients are worth representing and which ones to not represent. With implicit bias this shows how a certain races and negative stereotypes could greatly affect how clients are represented.


RICHARDSON, L. SONG, and PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF. “Implicit Racial Bias in Public Defender Triage.” The Yale Law Journal, vol. 122, no. 8, 2013, pp. 2626–2649.,


Criminalistics is the profession and discipline focused on recognizing, identifying, and evaluating physical evidence by using natural science in law-science matters. It is claimed that criminalistics is a very misunderstood by the scientific public. Criminalistics has been compared with forensic science as it is a relatively new and still very small category in science. Some difficulties that criminalistics is facing is the adaptation of technology to criminalistic science specifically. It was expected that advances in technology would really help further the criminalistics, but after hundreds of thousands of dollars of research later it became apparent that the problem was still unsolved. Another problem with criminalistics is the inadequacy of samples left because in most cases criminals don’t leave DNA samples on purpose and these samples are usually inadequate and hard to get a good reading from. To really make some progress to improving criminalistics it is going to require a sufficient amount of financial backing and then using that backing to create a better intellectual environment in which to start finding better answers to some of the issues named above. Criminalistics has made some technical progress, but there is still a significant amount of fundamental progress that needs to be made.


Ostenburg, James W. “What Problems Must Criminalistics Solve.” Jstor. Northwestern University School of Law, 23 Oct. 2007. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.

Human Genome Project

In this article and post I will be discussing the human genome project and how it relates to the idea of race. A big goal of the human genome project was to prove that racial and ethnic classifications do not have any real merit as this project proved that there is a multitude of similarities in genetics across all racial and ethnic categories. Instead however, it created a new more intense interest in attempting to find biologic between race and ethnic groups. People are now looking into how race and ethnicity plays a role in other aspects of life such as disease susceptibility and drug metabolism. When trying to establish the vast number of genetic differences it is seen as quite difficult because except for genetic features related directly to a specific phenotype there is not really any other identifiers. So the answer that most people have come up with is to use social categories such as race, ethnicity, nationality, and geography. What this shows is that this is an extremely complicated issue and even with the use of the human genome project it is still necessary for scientists to use some social categories and ideas to help understand the concept of race.


“Race, Ethnicity, and Genomics: Social Classifications as Proxies of Biological Heterogeneity.” Genome Research. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.


Anthropometry is the study of human body measurements and the most simplistic application of this study is to help scientists and anthropologists understand understand the physical variations and differences among human beings. In the early start the applications of anthropometry had some not very scientific uses such as measuring a persons head size and analyzing facial characteristics to establish a persons chance of being involved in crime. It is obvious now that there is not a lot of real science behind this and any possible correlations would strictly be coincidental. In modern day studies anthropometry is used as statistical comparison and in ergonomic design. The main measurements used in anthropometrics is height, weight, body mass index (or BMI), waist-to-hip ratio and body fat percentage. By analyzing these differences researches can attempt to assess a  multitude of risk factors for diseases. This then all ties into the idea of race because if there is the possibility of using body measurements to assess disease then there is a possibility of attempting to use body measurements to understand other phenomena that could be related to race and ethnicity. This could be another way of using science to understand an extremely complicated concept within the United States.


Chris Adams Ergonomics Expert. “How You Benefit From Anthropometrics.” Home. N.p., 15 Nov. 2016. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.