In order to give myself yet another Internet Time-sink, I've registered at Harvard's website for the Implicit Association Test
, which, every time to log in, you're given a randomly chosen bias test (One test I took showed I had a moderate automatic preference for squares over rectangles, for example. But since all the rectangles were oriented vertically, I wonder if it's really a "Short" over "tall" bias).Anyway
, yesterday, after I tired of scrolling through Academia.edu
's page of "Disability Studies" documents, I decide to hop over to the IAT site.
What do I get? ::::Drum roll::::
(Well, considering the access filter for this entry, you probably know, already):The Abled - Disabled IAT
(full disclosure time, I've taken this test before, as an unregistered "Guest")( My description of this particular test, behind a cut, 'cause it turned out kind of long )
And here's the result that came back at me:
Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for Disabled Persons compared to Abled Persons.
Thank you for your participation. Just below is a breakdown of the scores generated by others [further info: 38,544 Web participants, between June '03 and May '06]. Most respondents find it easier to associate Disabled Persons with Bad and Abled Persons with Good compared to the reverse.
Strong preference for Abled Persons: 33%
Moderate preference for Abled Persons: 27%
Slight preference for Abled Persons: 16%
No Preference: 15%
Slight preference for Disabled Persons: 5%
Moderate preference for Disabled Persons: 3%
Strong preference for Disabled Persons: 1%
*raises fist of solidarity*
(Phasing Abbreviated, 'cause I'm lazy at typing)
Actually, because this test only showed abstract images, I think this measured my aversion to being excluded, rather than an aversion to people in the Abled Class. If I go into a public space, and I don't
see a wheelchair access sign on the bathroom door, I know I'm going to be squirming uncomfortably rather soon. If, on the other hand, I see a sign that indicates service dogs are welcome, I'm more confident that I'll
be welcome, too, 'cause the proprietors have shown a modicum of awareness of different needs.
As for the strength
of my aversion, that may have been because I'd just
finished reading (as in, within the hour, before I started browsing the disability studies uploads) Joke's on You: An Examination of Humor as a cultural Divider/Queer Uniter
about the sexist, homophobic, racist, and ableist oppression (in that order) exerted by the "Good Sport Culture" of the 1950's through 1970's mass culture "humor" of television and night clubs. And my "Grah!" beast had been awakened.
What gets me a bit annoyed though, is the following explanation for the use of those abstract images (emphasis added by me):
The test represents the disabled category with symbols that are familiar from their uses as public signs. We contrast these signs with other, neutral, public symbols. Because physical disability has no borders, we have used symbols that should be recognizable internationally, permitting the test to be used world wide.
Okay, I understand that representing "Abled vs. Disabled" with images of actual people can be tricky, because, unlike categories such as "Gender" (common Euro-American names) or "Race," (tightly cropped faces) you can't show an actual person's disability status without showing them in the context of their environment -- and that probably throws too many variables into the mix to get a reliable test result. But an icon of the crosswalk dude going at a full sprint is no more "neutral" than showing a (terribly outdated) pair of crutches, and he's certainly not commonly viewed in public space-- I'll give a pass for the regular crosswalk dude and the school crossing kids, 'cause, yeah -- they're everywhere. ...I wonder if the test-makers know that their own implicit bias is showing.