Thursday, May 15, 2008
How stupid urban legends get spread. I have an alternative way an urban legend can get spread. People with preexisting biases see a phenomena and then make up an explanation- this explanation is then spread to whole population. For example, a racist white person sees a black person at college. There are many possible explanations for this- the black person had adequate grades, good SAT scores, good extracurriculars... but the white person instead cobbles together a story involving shadowy racial preferences, suffering white men, and general evil. He tells anyone who will listen, and of course, people believe him, because everyone knows that black people can't get into college!