Study: African-American men seen as bigger, more dangerous than white counterparts

MONTCLAIR, N.J. — As the racial divide across America continues to be a front-and-center topic in the current political atmosphere, a new study finds African-American men face exaggerated stigmas about their build when compared to white men of the same size.

Researchers at Montclair State University surveyed 950 American participants online and found that the majority viewed a sample of black men depicted in photographs “to be larger, stronger and more muscular” than white counterparts — when it turned out that both individuals in the set actually being the same size.

More troubling was the finding that “participants believed that the black men were more capable of causing harm in a hypothetical altercation,” and “that police would be more justified in using force to subdue them, even if the men were unarmed,” explains lead researcher John Paul Wilson, PhD, in an American Psychological Association release.

black man
A new study finds black men are viewed as bigger, more dangerous than white men of the same build and stature.

“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 Wilson. “Our research suggests that these descriptions may reflect stereotypes of black males that do not seem to comport with reality.”

Interestingly, even black participants demonstrated this cognitive bias to some extent, perceiving the black males to have more heft than the white males. They did not, however, view the black males to be more dangerous in a given situation than a similar white male.

It should also be mentioned that the African-American men who were deemed to have more stereotypically “black” facial features were more likely to be perceived as being disproportionately big.

As black men face violence from law enforcement at a higher rate than almost any other group, this study helps illuminate a possible reason.

Still, Wilson warns that the study’s findings are limited; more inquiry should be made into how this apparent bias plays into real-world police interactions, including life-or-death situations.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


  1. RIdiculously biased study done by a cop-hater who is probably supportive of racist hate groups like Black LIES Matter. The racial climate has been poisoned by 8 years of Divider-in-Chief Barack Hussein Obama.

    The whole BLM movement is built on a lie because “Hands up, don’t shoot” never happened. The “patron saint” of BLM, Michael Brown NEVER had his hands up and NEVER said “Dont shoot” but he was a violent thug who brought his own death upon himself.

    1. President Barack Obama did not divide this country because it was already divided and the “Divider in Chief” for the last 4 years was Trump and he has made it even worse with his LIES and HATRED. He has divided this nation so bad. Some white people have now become emboldened racists. They were previously more than likely closet racists but with Trump as President they have come out of the closet. Looks at all the Karen’s that he created. Prior to Trump these Karen’s would never have acted the way they do now and they are pathetic. White people commit just as many crimes as black people but they are not treated as harshly as black people by the “po po”. It sounds as though you have some racism in you. We need to stop this division and come together as a country. God created all of us equally and the only difference between white and black people is the “color” of our skin. We all bleed red and we are all Gods children. People are going to have to give in account of their hateful and racist ways on Judgement Day and I wonder what will their excuse be.

      1. “White people commit jsut as much crime as blacks?” What? See my comment (if they print it) One FBI stat showed for one year 28,000 white women raped by black men while zero black women were raped by white men. You are putting dangerous extreme lies out there regarding race and by doing that you are making more difficult for the authorities to get a handle on the problem. You can’t solve a problem until you admit there is one.
        The “Study” is a political statement as evidenced by the fact that it cites that cops are more likely to have violent altercations with blacks without mentioning that in the pursuit of criminals black males are what the police have to deal with on a daily basis when answering emergency calls of violent crime.

  2. Well when black males who are only 6% of the population stop committing over 50% of all murders in the country perhaps the just conclusions of onlookers will change to the new reality and the statistics concerning violent encounters with police will also drop off. But your use of statistics is biased in the first place, white men are more likely to be victims of police violence when police respond to a scene as percentage of crime perpetration and population.

  3. Can anyone be more divorced from reality than the those behind this “study”?
    They put these perceptions down as an unfortunate that “does not seem to comport with reality.”
    This is conclusion is so egregriously untrue it is both enraging and hilarious.
    Of course a large black male is perceived as more dangerous and more of a potential threat than a similar sized white. Who is comitting the vast majority of violent crime in the US out of all proportion to their numbers. Here is a statistic that will never appear in “Study Finds”: In one year chosen at random there were 30,000 white females raped by black men and eleven black females raped by whites. In another year (FBI stat) There were 28,000 white females raped by black males (including my girlfriend which is why I have an interest in this) and zero black females raped by white males. That’s right zero. The ratio is staggering. 28,000 to zero.
    And this “study finds” tells us that black males perceived as a threat “does not comport with reality”??! Similar stats are available regarding murder, assault, robbery et al. all part of an immense disparity between races re: commision of crime. “Study finds” has made numerous reports that bend to political correctness. That itself is a crime because the truth matters.

  4. If you see someone wearing a bad attitude avoid them. You don’t have to first risk your life to find out if someone is actually going to lash out.

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