Study Suggests You *Should* Call Out That Bigoted Relative At The Holiday Table When They Say Something Awful

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Most people recommend not talking about politics at the dinner table in the name of keeping the peace. But a new study suggests that you should call bigoted people out when they say something awful during dinner, if only because it makes them think about what they're saying. Yes, really. It's hard to imagine talking someone out of co-signing President Donald Trump's refusal to disavow white supremacists or other controversial views, especially since the political climate is so polarizing right now. But it might be worth a shot.

Kimberly Chaney and Diana Sanchez, two researchers from Rutgers University, published their research in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, showing that people usually react pretty positively when they're confronted.

Alright, maybe in the moment they get defensive or it turns into a big fight. But Chaney and Sanchez found that most people who are confronted feel a little bad about what they say and "consciously try to avoid repeating such statements," according to a press release of the study published in Eureka Alert. Sanchez explained:

Ad failed to load

So if something's bothering you, it's not a total waste of time to speak up.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

The researchers broke university students into two groups and all of them self-identified as white. According to the study, Sanchez and Chaney showed each group of people a series of images that had a sentence paired with it and then asked them to make one inference from the photo and the caption. So, there might be a picture of a person of color and the caption says, "this man spends a lot of time behind bars."

The images and sentences were meant to illicit a bigoted or stereotypical response. So if someone said something bigoted about that image like, "he must be a criminal," the researchers would push back and ask how they knew or say something like, "whoa, that's a little judgmental, maybe he's a bartender and spends a lot of time behind bars," according to the research.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

When they brought the people back a week later and did the same exercise, the people they corrected were "markedly" less bigoted in their responses, according to Eureka Alert. A second group did the same thing, but also answered a questionnaire about how they felt about the experience and that group, too, was less prejudiced the second time around.

Of course, this might not work for everyone. Like, can you imagine getting Trump to change his mind? Not likely. But university students at least thought twice about what they had said and the perceptions they shared with the world.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

Sanchez told Rutgers Today, “I think this is important because we need to understand what reduces prejudice. Confronting people is hard, and unless people know it will be effective, they won’t do it."

It is good to know that suggesting that someone is wrong, in public, can affect their behavior, if not their beliefs. There are a slew of studies that show people really stick to their confirmation bias and that even when presented with facts, tend to not change their mind. So lecturing your family with statistics and actual facts about, say, immigration might not do any good.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

But calmly saying, "you know, it's pretty racist to assume that all immigrants are criminals," might be worth a shot according to the Rutgers study. Of course, when it comes to family, you always want to trust your gut.

But there are so many things happening these days that are pretty unacceptable, like victim-blaming all of the Hollywood sexual assault accusers or making excuses for white supremacist rallies. While the end goal might be to *actually* change someone's mind, knowing that you can at least make someone stop and think is encouraging.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack