Perception of injuries in black and white

Perception of injuries in black and white
November 16, 2012, 7:00 am
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Are you thinking that maybe Ray Lewis can somehow come back from his triceps injury and play this season? Did you believe all along that Terrell Suggs would make it back for the Ravens before projections that put his return from a torn Achilles no sooner than mid-November?

Regardless of the particulars of these injuries, it’s fascinating to look of our perception in light of newly published study in a journal called PLOS ONE, as reported by Deadspin. The research shows that black players are expected to be out with injuries shorter than white players.

Using NFL injury reports, the study showed that black players were listed under the more hopeful categories in the doubtful-questionable-probable scale more than white players. Why was this? From the article:

“In a series of experiments, researchers showed participants a series of injuries, then asked them to rate how much it would hurt them, on a numerical scale. They were then shown photos of both white and black people, and asked how much the same injuries would hurt these ‘targets.’ These experiments, conducted with laymen, nursing students and registered nurses, of all races, showed consistently that participants believed black people feel quantitatively less pain than white people.”

Further research indicated that this perceptive was built on the idea that the black athlete had come from a more underprivileged background and had been hardened by his tougher life — thus the idea that the black athlete feels less pain.

Of course, unless you’re Patrick Swayze in “Road House” (“Pain don’t hurt”),  you’re going to feel the effects of injury — and there is no true evidence to suggest the color your skin is any factor.