Friday, 28 January 2011

Growing an Afro is Cue Arousing Color-Associated Ideation, Emotion and Behavior

Getty Images.  Malcolm Gladwell experienced color-aroused antagonism when he grew an Afro.

The Root and Malcolm Gladwell report that, simply by Gladwell changing his hair to an Afro style, his new color-associated physical characteristic was the cue that aroused antagonistic ideation, emotion and behavior from societal authorities such as airport security and the police.  
Malcolm Gladwell, author of four best-sellers, including Blink and What the Dog Saw, is fascinated by explaining everyday experiences.

Blink explores how humans make snap judgments (and how often we can be wrong). In What the Dog Saw, he questions "false certainties" -- things we think we know.

What does hair have to do with it? In a recent interview with CNN, the biracial writer explains that when he grew his out and "began to look more like people's stereotype of a black male," he experienced "a striking transformation in the way the world viewed [him]," including getting stopped by police and when he went through customs at the airport.

"Even though I was exactly the same person, once I had longer hair, the world saw me as being profoundly different," he said.
Blink shows that a color-associated physical characteristic (hair in the case) is sufficient to arouse ideation, emotion and behavior in others. No wonder that Black women straighten their hair. Would we have them grow Afros and braids and then face the constant color-aroused antagonism associated with color-associated physical characteristics?