“Sorry, but you two are the same”

Tragic story from someone who worked in China for a while: “It was very difficult for me to exclude my colleagues. But when you meet someone for the fifth time, you can no longer ask: Who are you again? “Another: a black woman enrolled in a sports club, the sister of someone who had been a member for some time, was asked if she was a black woman. After she refused, her white speaker apologized,” Oh sorry, but you two are the same. “

According to psychologists, this type of unpleasant situation is the result of an event, the difficulty of which is common: Other race effect (ORE). Further Cross-racing effect Mentioned.

ORE is a phenomenon in which people more easily identify others with their skin color than people of different colors. It leads to all kinds of problems. And so on Eyewitnesses in court cases seem to be systematically less credible When they have to identify someone with a different skin color.

It Other race effect Did not deliberately discriminate on the basis of race

In A recent study Australian researcher Eleanor McConn & colleagues show that ORE leads to more common social problems. Chinese students who recently went to Australia were tested and interrogated on a number of subjects. This shows that the majority have difficulty distinguishing Australian fellow students and that Australian students and teachers are often confused with other Chinese students. According to Macon and colleagues, the ORE contributes to the separation. According to their research, the difficulty of being recognized and recognized by people of different colors is a major barrier to integrating into a language barrier.

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ORE does not intentionally discriminate on the basis of race. Research by British psychologist David Kelly It shows that we specialize in recognizing our own color nine months ago. After that, it will be very difficult throughout your life to distinguish people of different colors from each other. However, this does not happen when babies already meet people of other races in the first months.

ORE leads to all kinds of unplanned discrimination, but the effect itself does not discriminate. No matter what your skin color, it is always harder to differentiate between people of different colors than it is to separate people of your own color.

Can you do something about the other race effect, for example do you want to stimulate diversity and inclusion at work? Yes, it is very simple. It helps to know that there is such a thing as ORE. That too has been investigated. Those who are warned in advance about the outcome of the tests and do not simply classify people, but are advised to pay attention to personal characteristics, then seem to recognize those of a different color and their own color.

It is indeed gratifying that knowledge can sometimes have such direct positive effects. A bit difficult at the same time. Because, after you read my writing and this part, you can not hide behind our ignorance and a strange effect on our brain.

Ben DeCaler He writes weekly about personal leadership, work and management.

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