Pedestrians Beware: Disturbing New Study About ‘Crossing While Black’

Pedestrians, African American*You know how some thoughts just come into your head, seemingly out of nowhere? Well, just recently, as I was crossing the street, I wondered if in this crazy world of ours, where there is still so much racial hatred and ignorance, if there are people who would actually take their hatred out on a pedestrian because of their race.

Now, a new study that tested the willingness of drivers to stop for people depending on their race has shown up and along with it comes some disturbing conclusions.

A Portland State University-based group called Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) set up six men – three black and three white – of similar age and build and dressed in identical ‘neutral’ outfits to cross the same street in Portland at separate intervals.

The crosswalk on the street had no traffic lights, leaving the decision  to stop or not with the driver, according to The Huffington Post.


Trained observers watched the study out of sight from the traffic and recorded how the drivers reacted to each pedestrian.

Each man crossed 15 times each, allowing for 168 drivers to unwittingly be involved in the report.

The study found that drivers were less likely to stop for the black pedestrians than they were the white ones.

The observers noted that black pedestrians were passed by twice as many cars as the white pedestrians, and waited 32 percent longer to cross.

Dr. Kimberly Kahn, the lead researcher was not surprised by the results and added that, while the study is small, it had sparked interest in this area of transportation.

‘We wanted to test this hypothesis to see if pedestrian’s race would influence driver’s yielding decisions at crosswalks,’ she told The Huffington Post.

‘For this first initial study, we wanted to see if the effect was even there, and even with the relatively small sample size, we saw a significant variation between races.’

Transportation experts found the results ‘striking’ – considering pedestrians account for 13 percent of all motor vehicle traffic-related deaths.

Read more about this study at the Huffington Post here.

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