US researchers say they’ve proved listening to harder music makes white people favour other whites over blacks, latinos and Arabs

Is rock racist?

A US journalism and communications study has concluded that listening to rock music makes white people subconsciously favour other white people over those of different races.

And researchers say it proves heavier genres of music – most of which have their roots in African-American sounds of the early 20th century – is more associated with white people.

The study took place at the University of Minnesota. Analysts gathered 138 white-American students and had them listen to seven minutes of music, under the impression they were in a waiting room.

The subjects were then asked to distribute the university’s tuition money between the centres of African American Studies, Latino American Studies, Arab American Studies and Rural and Agricultural Studies.

When the waiting room had been piping in tracks by pop stars Gwen Stefani, Fergie and Akon, the students split the money fairly equally between the four centres, each receiving around 25% of the cash.

But after hearing Bruce Springsteen and the White Stripes, participants gave 35% of the total to Rural and Agricultural, and shared the rest almost equally amongst the others.

When extremist “white power” groups including Skrewdriver and Bound For Glory were played, 40% of funds wwent to R&A, while the Latino-American group received 25%, African-Americans were given 16% and Arab-Americans got 15%.

Associate Professor Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick tells the Daily Mail: “We saw very targeted, almost punitive take-aways from groups by those who listened to radical white power rock.

“Those who listened to mainstream rock gave more to the white group but split the rest equally. In other words they weren’t punitive against the others, as were the listeners of white power rock.

“Music has a lot of power to influence our thoughts and actions – more than we often recognise. It has the power to reinforce our positive biases towards our own group, and sometimes negative biases towards others.

“its hows that it is not just the lyrics that matter. Good old-fashioned rock’n'roll, with no incendiary or hateful lyrics at all, was enough of a cue to increase the percentage of money allocated for the white-American group.

“This appears to show that music genre itself, not just the lyrics, has the potential to be a very powerful influence on people.”

Assistant Professor Heather LaMarre adds: “Rock music is general associated with white Americans, so we believe it cues white listeners to think about their positive association with their own in-group.”

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