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Susan Ito trying to do it all: reading writing mothering spousing daughtering working living

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sorting People

Someone just pointed out to me a fascinating "test" on PBS.org where you can try to "sort" faces based on racial appearance. I was chagrined to only get 8 correct out of 20. So I shouldn't get all bent out of shape when people fail to see me as "Asian" as I feel inside. I was only able to identify half of the Asians! (maybe that's because I'm half Asian? yuk yuk)

How easy is it to group people into “races” based on appearance? What about using individual traits? Does everybody classify the same way?

Try your hand at "sorting" individuals and see if it matches how people think of themselves. Or explore how we might sort people by physical traits.


Blogger melanie said...

I only got half the Asians right too! I got 3 of the 4 black people right, 1 Latino person right, and 2 of white and American Indian. Interestingly, the Asians I got correct were the most likely to look like people I was related to. That was a really fascinating exercise - I think more people should take it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 3:01:00 PM

Blogger Bustopher Jones said...

I got most of them (all) wrong. Crazy. Everyone should see this!

Thursday, February 09, 2006 4:06:00 PM

Blogger C(h)ristine said...

I only got 1 out of the 4 Asians "right." I didn't get more than 2 in each category 'correct."

But then again, I was horrible at the "which asian am i" quiz, too.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 5:48:00 PM

Blogger Frances said...

I missidentified all the Latinos and only got 1 causcasian right, 2 asian right and 2 native american right.

But you know what, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the Bay Area, people come from so many backgrounds, which means you can't assume you know someone's heritage just by looking at them. In another 10-20 years, race distinctions will have faded even more.

This test forces you to choose a category, which is not how we live our lives any more.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 5:51:00 PM

Blogger Susan said...

Frances, I do think it's a good thing (that we made so many mistakes!). It is a great demonstration about how we cannot make assumptions, and we can't think we know things on surface appearance.

Christine - what is the "which asian am i" quiz?? I must take it!

Thursday, February 09, 2006 5:58:00 PM

Anonymous Ericka said...

I got three out of four on both Asian and American Indian. The other three categories I BOMBED on. Good test!

Thursday, February 09, 2006 6:07:00 PM

Blogger Libby said...

I only got six out of sixteen on the whole thing! Two of the whites, and only one each in every other category. I think I tried to outguess it in one or two cases, but that's part of the point as well. Thanks for the link!

Friday, February 10, 2006 9:26:00 AM

Blogger Bustopher Jones said...

I wonder how many of them are mixed race (and therefore could be perceived as either one), but are labeled as one and not the other?

Friday, February 10, 2006 12:59:00 PM

Blogger Susan said...

Well, the thing is that these people self-sorted. Their categories were those that they felt they belonged in. I wonder if my picture was on this test, how many people would classify me as Asian? I bet a lot of people would get me "wrong." It was a good reminder for me. Since there was no mixed-race category, obviously the mixed people had to choose one.

Friday, February 10, 2006 10:49:00 PM

Blogger Miss Cellania said...

I only got five right out of the whole thing! Hmm, I try to NOT be in the habit of pigeonholing people, even though my 3-person family has 3 different colors in it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 12:04:00 PM


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