What are the cognitive costs of racism? A reply to Gendler

Philosophical Studies 166 (2):217-229 (2013)
Tamar Gendler argues that, for those living in a society in which race is a salient sociological feature, it is impossible to be fully rational: members of such a society must either fail to encode relevant information containing race, or suffer epistemic costs by being implicitly racist. However, I argue that, although Gendler calls attention to a pitfall worthy of study, she fails to conclusively demonstrate that there are epistemic (or cognitive) costs of being racist. Gendler offers three supporting phenomena. First, implicit racists expend cognitive energy repressing their implicit biases. I reply, citing Ellen Bialystok’s research, that constant use of executive functioning can be beneficial. Second, Gendler argues that awareness of a negative stereotype of one’s own race with regard to a given task negatively affects one’s performance of that task. This phenomenon, I argue, demonstrates that those against whom the stigma is directed suffer costs, but it fails to demonstrate that the stigmatizers suffer cognitively. Finally, Gendler argues that racists are less competent when recognizing faces of other races than when recognizing faces of their own race because, in the first instance, they encode the race of the face (taking up cognitive space that could have been used to encode fine-grained distinctions), whereas in the second instance they encode no race. I argue that in-group/out-group categorization rather than racism is the cognitive cost. I conclude that Gendler has failed to demonstrate that there are cognitive costs associated with being a racist
Keywords Implicit racism  Implicit belief  Bias  Alief  Tamar Gendler  Stereotype-threat  Cross-race facial deficit  Executive function
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-0036-z
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Tamar Szabó Gendler (2008). Alief and Belief. Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Emily S. Lee (2005). Towards a Lived Understanding of Race and Sex. Philosophy Today 49 (SPEP Supplement):82-88.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

80 ( #59,454 of 1,932,585 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

34 ( #13,988 of 1,932,585 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.