Why People of Colour are Misidentified so Often

There are scientific reasons that help explain initial mistakes; research shows that people identify faces from their own race better, BBC reports. But repeated errors can be frustrating, and take an emotional toll over time. Mistakes also carry career implications; visibility is a critical component of advancement, and Cadet points out that misidentification can impact work opportunities, such as travel and promotion, the story says. While BIPOC employees might ignore these missteps, or laugh them off for fear of appearing too sensitive, she adds, consistent mix-ups can be deeply isolating for the individuals involved, according to the news outlet.

The story continues:

A 2018 study on the experiences of black, Hispanic and Native American resident physicians in the US showed those doctors “were routinely mistaken for other minority residents”, sending a message they were “indistinct” from each other, which added to workplace stress.

Of course, science plays a role in how well we identify people. Work by Brent Hughes, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, who has studied cognition for more than a decade, reinforces a large body of research on the “cross-race effect”, or “own-race bias”. Simply, evidence shows that individuals identify faces of their own race better than those of other races.

Read the full story from BBC.

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