Original Article – The Times of London | How clever people hide their racist views

Hannah Devlin Science Editor
Published at 12:01AM, August 12 2013

Intelligent people are just as likely to hold racist views as less intelligent people, but are better at concealing their prejudices, a study suggests.

While those with higher cognitive scores tend to be supportive of racial equality in principle, they were just as likely as less intelligent peers to oppose policies aimed at tackling prejudice, the research found.

The authors said that the mismatch could be because smarter people were less likely to admit to views that are considered socially unacceptable. Another explanation could be that while they see equality as an ideal, it is not one that they would be prepared to make social or financial sacrifices for.

The study was based on surveys of the l attitudes of more than 20,000 white Americans. Geoffrey Wodtke, a sociologist at the University of Michigan who presented the research to the American Sociological Association in New York, said: “There’s a disconnect between the attitudes intelligent whites support in principle and their attitudes toward policies designed to realise racial equality in practice.”

The findings come after a number of distinguished academics have been accused of expressing prejudiced views in recent years.

David Starkey, the British historian, was widely criticised after linking “black culture” with criminality after the London riots of 2011, while on Friday Richard Dawkins, the atheist, was accused of bigotry after marking Eid by tweeting: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.” Professor Dawkins later said that he was simply noting an “intriguing fact”.