Rock And Racism: Is There A Connection?
Does listening to Bruce Springsteen and other mainstream rock encourage racist tendencies? A new academic study claims this to be the case.
This based on an experiment carried out using 138 students by the University Of Minnesota. Researchers played a host of different music genres to the students for seven minutes. The students were then told they were part of a study to work out how funds should be distributed within their college. Then they were offered a range of different ethnic groups to divide the money between,
After listening to seven minutes of Top 40 radio in the background while waiting for the study to start, most of those taking part distributed the funds equally between the groups.
However, after listening to seven minutes of Bruce Springsteen or the White Stripes, they favoured a white-American ethnic group. This increased after hearing extreme right wing bands like Skrewdriver. In no case did the students realise that the music being played was part of the experiment.
“It shows that it is not just the lyrics that matter,” says associate professor Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick. “Good, old-fashioned rock and roll – with no incendiary or hateful lyrics at all – was enough of a cue to increase the percentage of money allocated for the white-American group. Music has a lot of power to influence our thoughts and actions, more than we often recognize. It has the power to reinforce our positive biases toward our own group, and sometimes negative biases toward others.”
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