The American Psychological Association Journal of Personality and Social Psychology explores stereotypes about perceptions of male bodies. The study found that even if white and black men are the same height and weight, people tend to perceive Black men as taller, heavier and more muscular than white men, even if they are the same height and weight.
The study used 950 participants to gauge physical attributes and “threatening” characteristics of men/boys based on the face and body. Ninety high school quarterbacks were used in the study, 45 of them Black, the other 45 white. Study participants perceived the Black boys to be larger and more muscular than their white peers, even though they actually were similar in size and weight. Judging faces alone, black men were perceived to be more muscular than whites, even when the athletes were able to bench press the same weight…
Black participants didn’t rate black men more likely to cause physical harm, but nonblack participants did.
Non-Black observers in the study also claimed that police are justified in using more force on Black men, even if they are unarmed.
“Unarmed black men are disproportionately more likely to be shot and killed by police, and often these killings are accompanied by explanations that cite the physical size of the person shot,” says john Paul Wilson from Montclair State university.