Here’s some provocative research to consider:
Even among the most extreme opponents of President Obama’s push for health care reform — those who equate his proposals to Nazi death camps or Soviet gulags — there’s little overtly expressed racism. Aside from the occasional slip by Republican officials in South Carolina, the public debate over expanding coverage to the uninsured has largely ignored Obama’s status as the first African-American president.
But implicit racism — prejudice unacknowledged in public and, in many cases, hidden from conscious awareness — is a factor in opposition to Obama’s health policies. That’s the conclusion of a provocative new paper that’s one of two research reports on prejudice and the president just published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Participants in a yearlong study who scored low on implicit prejudice found the proposed health care plan equally appealing whether it was attributed to Bill Clinton or President Obama. However, those who scored high in implicit prejudice supported the plan when it was linked to Clinton, but opposed it when linked to Obama.