Sex + Dating

Apparently Interracial Couples Still Gross People Out. In 2016.

According to possibly the most depressing study ever, people are still disgusted when they encounter a mixed-race couple. Put this in your ever-growing “sad news for humanity” file.

Reported acceptance is just that

While earlier research from 2012 found that only 11% of respondents disapproved of mixed-raced dating, new findings published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology from the University of Washington show some incredibly dark implications in this supposed “acceptance.”

According to Eureka, “Reported acceptance of interracial marriage masks deeper feelings of discomfort -- even disgust -- that some feel about mixed-race couples.” Meaning, people report that they accept interracial dating, but deep down they're repulsed by it. People are just as racist as they ever were, they just know enough to pretend they aren’t.

People have no idea how racist they are

Researchers conducted a series of three experiments.

It all began innocently enough -- and the data was pretty hopeful! For the first study, 152 college students were asked multiple questions about interracial dating and their levels of discomfort with mixed-race dating. Results showed little to no disgust by the participants.

But as they're wont to do, things took a heartbreaking turn during the second experiment. Nineteen college students were shown a series of wedding and engagement photos of 200 interracial and same-race couples.

As soon as the students were shown the photos, they were asked to indicate whether they thought the couples pictured in the marital photos should be included in an upcoming study on relationships. And surprisingly/not surprisingly, students' responses were skewed in favor of same-race couples.  

To summarize: the students were racist without knowing they were racist.

Dehumanization is alive and well in 2016

And it only got worse.

Next, researchers conducted an “implicit association test," in which 200 participants were asked to associate images of interracial and same-race couples with silhouettes of humans and animals. For the first part, they were asked to press one computer key if they saw an interracial couple or silhouette of an animal; and another if they saw a same-race couple or silhouette of a person. Then, the keys were switched: one key for an interracial couple or silhouette of a person, and another for a same-race couple and silhouette of an animal.

And to mix things up just a bit more, one control group was first shown a bunch of gross photos like dirty toilets and the other was shown a bunch of pictures of nature scenery. Because, you know, why not.

The results? Participants were quicker hitting those keystrokes while associating interracial couples with non-human animals. And unfortunately for the human race, our ability to dehumanize each other (for any reason, including skin color) correlates exactly to our ability to use violence against each other.

In conclusion: We live in a depressing world.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Gigi is the Sex and Dating Writer for Thrillist. She hates the news because it makes her sad. Follower her on Twitter @GigiEngle