It makes for uncomfortable reading

This new map shows how easily white Europeans associate black faces with negative ideas. Since 2002, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have logged onto a website run by Harvard University called Project Implicit and taken an “implicit association test” (IAT), a rapid-response task which measures how easily you can pair items from different categories.

To create this new map, we used data from a version of the test which presents white or black faces and positive or negative words. The result shows how easily our minds automatically make the link between the categories—what psychologists call an “implicit racial attitude”.


Each country on the map is colored according to the average score of test takers from that country. Redder countries show higher average bias, bluer countries show lower average bias, as the scale on the top of the map shows.Like a similar map which had been made for US states, our map shows variation in the extent of racial bias—but all European countries are racially biased when comparing blacks versus whites.


In every country in Europe, people are slower to associate blackness with positive words such as “good” or “nice” and faster to associate blackness with negative concepts such as “bad” or “evil”. But they are quicker to make the link between blackness and negative concepts in the Czech Republic or Lithuania than they are in Slovenia, the UK or Ireland. No country had an average score below zero, which would reflect positive associations with blackness.




In fact, none had an average score that was even close to zero, which would reflect neither positive nor negative racial associations. Implicit bias Overall, we have scores for 288,076 white Europeans, collected between 2002 and 2015, with sample sizes for each country shown on the left-hand side. Because of the design of the test it is very difficult to deliberately control your score. Many people, including those who sincerely hold non-racist or even anti-racist beliefs, demonstrate positive implicit bias on the test.

The exact meaning of implicit attitudes, and the IAT, are controversial, but we believe they reflect the automatic associations we hold in our minds, associations that develop over years of immersion in the social world. Although we, as individuals, may not hold racist beliefs, the ideas we associate with race may be constructed by a culture which describes people of different ethnicities in consistent ways, and ways which are consistently more or less positive.


Looked at like this, the IAT—which at best is a weak measure of individual psychology—may be most useful if individuals’ scores are aggregated to provide a reflection on the collective social world we inhabit. The results shown in this map give detail to what we already expected—that across Europe racial attitudes are not neutral. Blackness has negative associations for white Europeans, and there are some interesting patterns in how the strength of these negative associations varies across the continent.


North and west Europe, on average, have less strong anti-black associations, although they still have anti-black associations on average. As you move south and east the strength of negative associations tends to increase—but not everywhere. The Balkans look like an exception, compared to surrounding countries. Is this because of some quirk about how people in the Balkans heard about Project Implicit, or because their prejudices aren’t orientated around a white-black axis? For now, we can only speculate.

Open questions
When interpreting the map there are at least two important qualifications to bear in mind. The first is that the scores only reflect racial attitudes in one dimension: pairing white/black with goodness/badness. Our feelings about ethnicity have many more dimensions which aren’t captured by this measure. The second is that the data comes from Europeans who visit the the US Project Implicit website, which is in English.
We can be certain that the sample reflects a subset of the European population which are more internet-savvy than is typical. They are probably also younger, and more cosmopolitan. These factors are likely to underweight the extent of implicit racism in each country, so that the true levels of implicit racism are probably higher than shown on this map. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


1. (Colours) of the colour of jet or carbon black, having no hue due to the absorption of all or nearly all incident light. Compare white1
2. without light; completely dark
3. without hope or alleviation; gloomy: the future looked black.
4. very dirty or soiled: black factory chimneys.
5. angry or resentful: she gave him black looks.
6. (Theatre) (of a play or other work) dealing with the unpleasant realities of life, esp in a pessimistic or macabre manner: black comedy.
7. (of coffee or tea) without milk or cream
8. causing, resulting from, or showing great misfortune: black areas of unemployment.
a. wicked or harmful: black lie.
b. (in combination): black-hearted.
10. causing or deserving dishonour or censure: black crime.
11. (of the face) purple, as from suffocation
12. (Industrial Relations & HR Terms) Brit (of goods, jobs, works, etc) being subject to boycott by trade unionists, esp in support of industrial action elsewhere
13. (Colours) a black colour
14. (Dyeing) a dye or pigment of or producing this colour
15. black clothing, worn esp as a sign of mourning
16. (Chess & Draughts) chess draughts
a. black or dark-coloured piece or square
b. (usually capitalthe player playing with such pieces
17. complete darkness: the black of the night.
18. (Billiards & Snooker) a black ball in snooker, etc
19. (Gambling, except Cards) (in roulette and other gambling games) one of two colours on which players may place even bets, the other being red
20. in the black in credit or without debt
21. (Archery) archery a black ring on a target, between the outer and the blue, scoring three points
22. another word for blacken
23. (tr) to polish (shoes, etc) with blacking
24. (tr) to bruise so as to make black: he blacked her eye.
25. (Industrial Relations & HR Terms) (trBrit and Austral and NZ (of trade unionists) to organize a boycott of (specified goods, jobs, work, etc), esp in support of industrial action elsewhere


1. (Colours) having no hue due to the reflection of all or almost all incident light. Compare black1
2. (General Physics) (of light, such as sunlight) consisting of all the colours of the spectrum or produced by certain mixtures of three additive primary colours, such as red, green, and blue
3. (Colours) comparatively white or whitish-grey in colour or having parts of this colour: white clover.
4. (Zoology) (of an animal) having pale-coloured or white skin, fur, or feathers
5. (Physiology) bloodless or pale, as from pain, emotion, etc
6. (Hairdressing & Grooming) (of hair, a beard, etc) silvery or grey, usually from age
7. benevolent or without malicious intent: white magic.
8. (Colours) colourless or transparent: white glass.
9. capped with or accompanied by snow: white Christmas.
10. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (sometimes capitalcounterrevolutionary, very conservative, or royalist. Compare Red2
11. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) blank, as an unprinted area of a page
12. (Brewing) (of wine) made from pale grapes or from black grapes separated from their skins
13. (Cookery)
a. (of coffee or tea) with milk or cream
b. (of bread) made with white flour
14. (General Physics) physics having or characterized by a continuous distribution of energy, wavelength, or frequency: white noise.
15. informal honourable or generous
16. (Arms & Armour (excluding Firearms)) (of armour) made completely of iron or steel (esp in the phrase white harness)
17. rare morally unblemished
18. rare (of times, seasons, etc) auspicious; favourable
19. poetic or archaic having a fair complexion; blond
20. bleed white to deprive slowly of resources
21. whiter than white
a. extremely clean and white
b. informal very pure, honest, and moral
22. (Colours) a white colour
23. (Colours) the condition or quality of being white; whiteness
24. (Colours) the white or lightly coloured part or area of something
25. (Zoology) the white the viscous fluid that surrounds the yolk of a bird's egg, esp a hen's egg; albumen
26. (Anatomy) anatomy the white part (sclera) of the eyeball
27. (Animals) any of various butterflies of the family PieridaeSee large white, small white, cabbage white
28. (Chess & Draughts) chess draughts
a. white or light-coloured piece or square
b. (usually capitalthe player playing with such pieces
29. (Colours) anything that has or is characterized by a white colour, such as a white paint or pigment, a white cloth, a white ball in billiards
30. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) an unprinted area of a page
31. (Archery) archery
a. the outer ring of the target, having the lowest score
b. shot or arrow hitting this ring
32. (Poetry) poetic fairness of complexion
33. (Furniture) in the white (of wood or furniture) left unpainted or unvarnished
34. (Forestry) in the white (of wood or furniture) left unpainted or unvarnished
35. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) (usually foll by out) to create or leave white spaces in (printed or other matter)
36. obsolete to make or become white
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