Similar studies conclude that not much would change if they walked faster.
According to a recent study by Wake Forest University, people’s most profound, deep-seated prejudices come out when a person in front of them walks very slowly.
“We discovered that even those who consider themselves to be open-minded and accepting will discriminate against a snail-paced individual impeding the flow of traffic,” reported Dr. James Walker. “It seems as though open-mindedness cannot stand the test of someone who can’t get a fucking move on.”
In the study, 400 participants were asked to share their opinions of strangers both before and after a long, slow-moving walk behind them. The results were reportedly consistent across the board. Dr. Sarah Branson explained, “For example, prior to the walk, most participants applauded one woman’s choice to wear a short skirt, calling it ‘empowering.’ Yet after just one block of trying not to step on the back of her feet, she unequivocally became a ‘bitch,’ a ‘whore,’ or a ‘fucking slut who doesn’t deserve the right to vote.’”
Participants also did not hesitate to extend their opinions about strangers of different races, ethnicities, or gender to the entire group they represented.
“Yes, this was one isolated incident and not necessarily a reflection of their entire culture. But let’s be honest, it’s sort of a pattern,” said participant Will Jones, a man who previously called himself “very tolerant of all people.”
The study has been published in multiple journals of social science. While many in academia are praising the researchers for advancing stereotyping and prejudice research, Branson hopes that the most important conclusion will not be overshadowed.
“Oh, no, no. The message here is not to be more patient or understanding,” she said. “It’s for people to get out of the goddamn way.”