1.Obama's success isn't all good news for black Americans
As Erin White watched the election results head towards victory for Barack Obama, she felt a burden lifting from her shoulders. "In that one second, it was a validation for my whole race," she recalls.
"I've always been an achiever," says White, who is studying for an MBA at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. "But there had always been these things in the back of my mind questioning whether I really can be who I want. It was like a shadow, following me around saying you can only go so far. Now it's like a barrier has been let down."
White's experience is what many psychologists had expected - that Obama would prove to be a powerful role model for African Americans. Some hoped his rise to prominence would have a big impact on white Americans, too, challenging those who still harbour racist sentiments. "The traits that characterise him are very contradictory to the racial stereotypes that black people are aggressive and uneducated," says Ashby Plant of Florida State University. "He's very intelligent and eloquent."
Sting in the tail
Ashby Plant is one of a number of psychologists who seized on Obama's candidacy to test hypotheses about the power of role models. Their work is already starting to reveal how the "Obama effect" is changing people's views and behaviour. Perhaps surprisingly, it is not all good news: there is a sting in the tail of the Obama effect.
But first the good news. Barack Obama really is a positive role model for African Americans, and he was making an impact even before he got to the White House. Indeed, the Obama effect can be surprisingly immediate and powerful, as Ray Friedman of Vanderbilt University and his colleagues discovered.
They tested four separate groups at four key stages of Obama's presidential campaign. Each group consisted of around 120 adults of similar age and education, and the test assessed their language skills. At two of these stages, when Obama's success was less than certain, the tests showed a clear difference between the scores of the white and black participants—an average of 12.1 out of 20, compared to 8.8, for example. When the Obama fever was at its height, however, the black participants performed much better. Those who had watched Obama's acceptance speech as the Democrats' presidential candidate performed just as well, on average, as the white subjects.After his election victory, this was true of all the black participants.
What can explain this dramatic shift? At the start of the test, the participants had to declare their race and were told their results would be used to assess their strengths and weaknesses. This should have primed the subjects with "stereotype threat" – an anxiety that their results will confirm negative stereotypes, which has been shown to damage the performance of African Americans.
Obama's successes seemed to act as a shield against this. "We suspect they felt inspired and energised by his victory, so the stereotype threat wouldn't prove a distraction," says Friedman.
If the Obama effect is positive for African Americans, how is it affecting their white compatriots (同胞)? Is the experience of having a charismatic (有魅力的) black president modifying lingering racist attitudes? There is no easy way to measure racism directly; instead psychologists assess what is known as "implicit bias", using a computer-based test that measures how quickly people associate positive and negative words—such as "love" or "evil"—with photos of black or white faces. A similar test can also measure how quickly subjects associate stereotypical traits—such as athletic skills or mental ability—with a particular group.
In a study that will appear in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Plant's team tested 229 students during the height of the Obama fever. They found that implicit bias has fallen by as much as 90% compared with the level found in a similar study in 2006. "That's an unusually large drop," Plant says.
While the team can't be sure their results are due solely to Obama, they also showed that those with the lowest bias were likely to subconsciously associate black skin colour with political words such as "government" or "president". This suggests that Obama was strongly on their mind, says Plant.
Drop in bias
Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, who runs a website that measures implicit bias using similar test, has also observed a small drop in bias in the 700,000 visitors to the site since January 2007, which might be explained by Obama's rise to popularity. However, his preliminary results suggest that change will be much slower coming than Plant's results suggest.
"People now have the opportunity of expressing support for Obama every day," says Daniel Effron at Stanford University in California. "Our research arouses the concern that people may now be more likely to raise negative views of African Americans." On the other hand, he says, it may just encourage people to talk more honestly about their feelings regarding race issues, which may not be such a bad thing.
Another part of the study suggests far more is at stake than the mere expression of views. The Obama effect may have a negative side. Just one week after Obama was elected president, participants were less ready to support policies designed to address racial inequality than they had been two weeks before the election.
It could, of course, also be that Obama's success helps people to forget that a disproportionate number of black Americans still live in poverty and face huge obstacles when trying to overcome these circumstances. "Barack Obama's family is such a salient (出色的) image, we generalise it and fail to see the larger picture—that there's injustice in every aspect of American life," says Cheryl Kaiser of the University of Washington in Seattle. Those trying to address issues of racial inequality need to constantly remind people of the inequalities that still exist to counteract the Obama's effect, she says.
Though Plant's findings were more positive, she too warns against thinking that racism and racial inequalities are no longer a problem. "The last thing I want is for people to think everything's solved."
These findings do not only apply to Obama, or even just to race. They should hold for any role model in any country. "There's no reason we wouldn't have seen the same effect on our views of women if Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin had been elected," says Effron. So the election of a female leader might have a downside for other women.
We also don't yet know how long the Obama effect—both its good side and its bad—will last.Political sentiment is notoriously changeable: What if things begin to go wrong for Obama, and his popularity slumps?
And what if Americans become so familiar with having Obama as their president that they stop considering his race altogether? "Over time he might become his own entity," says Plant. This might seem like the ultimate defeat for racism, but ignoring the race of certain select individuals—a phenomenon that psychologists call subtyping—also has an insidious (隐伏的) side. "We think it happens to help people preserve their beliefs, so they can still hold on to the previous stereotypes." That could turn out to be the cruellest of all the twists to the Obama effect.
【題組】1. How did Erin White feel upon seeing Barack Obama's victory in the election?
2.【題組】2. Before the election, Erin White has been haunted by the question of whether ______.
(A) she could obtain her MBA degree
(B) she could go as far as she wanted in life
(C) she was overshadowed by her white peers
(D) she was really an achiever as a student
3.【題組】3. What is the focus of Ashby Plant's study?
(A) Racist sentiments in America.
(B) The power of role models.
(C) Personality traits of successful blacks.
(D) The dual character of African Americans.
4.【題組】4. In their experiments, Ray Friedman and his colleagues found that ______.
(A) blacks and whites behaved differently during the election
(B) whites' attitude towards blacks has dramatically changed
(C) Obama's election has eliminated the prejudice against blacks
(D) Obama's success impacted blacks' performance in language tests
5.【題組】5. What do Brian Nosek's preliminary results suggest?
(A) The change in bias against blacks is slow in coming.
(B) Bias against blacks has experienced an unusual drop.
(C) Website visitor's opinions are far from being reliable.
(D) Obama's popularity may decline as time passes by.
6.【題組】6. A negative side of the Obama effect is that ______.
(A) more people have started to criticise President Obama's racial policies
(B) relations between whites and African Americans may become tense again
(C) people are now less ready to support policies addressing racial inequality
(D) white people are likely to become more critical of African Americans
7.【題組】7. Cheryl Kaiser holds that people should be constantly reminded that ______.
(A) Obama's success is sound proof of black's potential
(B) Obama is but a rare example of black's excellence
(C) racial inequality still persists in American society
(D) blacks still face obstacles in political participation
Directions: There are 2 passages in this section. Each passage is followed by some questions or unfinished statements. For each of them there are four choices marked (A), (B), (C) and (D). You should decide on the best choice and mark the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 2 with a single line through the centre.
Questions 51 to 56 are based on the following passage.
Only two countries in the advanced world provide no guarantee for paid leave from work to care for a newborn child. Last spring one of the two, Australia, gave up the dubious distinction by establishing paid family leave starting in 2011. I wasn't surprised when this didn't make the news here in the United States—we're now the only wealthy country without such a policy.
The United States does have one explicit family policy, the Family and Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993. It entitles workers to as much as 12 weeks' unpaid leave for care of a newborn or dealing with a family medical problem. Despite the modesty of the benefit, the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups fought it bitterly, describing it as "government-run personnel management" and a "dangerous precedent". In fact, every step of the way, as (usually) Democratic leaders have tried to introduce work-family balance measures into the law, business groups have been strongly opposed.
As Yale law professor Anne Alstott argues, justifying parental support depends on defining the family as a social good that, in some sense, society must pay for. In her book No Exit: What Parents Owe Their Children and What Society Owes Parents, she argues that parents are burdened in many ways in their lives: there is "no exit" when it comes to children. "Society expects—and needs—parents to provide their children with continuity of care, meaning the intensive, intimate care that human beings need to develop their intellectual, emotional and moral capabilities. And society expects—and needs—parents to persist in their roles for 18 years, or longer if needed."
While most parents do this out of love, there are public penalties for not providing care. What parents do, in other words, is of deep concern to the state, for the obvious reason that caring for children is not only morally urgent but essential for the future of society. The state recognizes this in the large body of family laws that govern children' welfare, yet parents receive little help in meeting the life-changing obligations society imposes. To classify parenting as a personal choice for which there is no collective responsibility is not merely to ignore the social benefits of good parenting; really, it is to steal those benefits because they accrue (不断积累) to the whole of society as today's children become tomorrow's productive citizenry (公民). In fact, by some estimates, the value of parental investments in children, investments of time and money (including lost wages), is equal to 20-30% of gross domestic product. If these investments generate huge social benefits—as they clearly do—the benefits of providing more social support for the family should be that much clearer. 【題組】52. What do we learn about paid family leave from the first paragraph?
(A) America is now the only developed country without the policy.
(B) It has now become a hot topic in the United States.
(C) It came as a surprise when Australia adopted the policy.
(D) Its meaning was clarified when it was established in Australia.
9.【題組】53. What has prevented the passing of work-family balance laws in the United States?
(A) The incompetence of the Democrats.
(B) The existing Family and Medical Leave Act.
(C) The lack of a precedent in American history.
(D) The opposition from business circles.
10.【題組】54. What is Professor Anne Alstott's argument for parental support?
(A) The cost of raising children in the U. S. has been growing.
(B) Good parenting benefits society.
(C) The U. S. should keep up with other developed countries.
(D) Children need continuous care.
11.【題組】55. What does the author think of America's large body of family laws governing children's welfare?
(A) They fail to ensure children's healthy growth
(B) The fail to provide enough support for parents
(C) They emphasize parents' legal responsibilities.
(D) They impose the care of children on parents.
12.【題組】56. Why does the author object to classifying parenting as a personal choice?
(A) It is regarded as a legal obligation.
(B) It relies largely on social support.
(C) It generates huge social benefits.
(D) It is basically a social undertaking.
Questions 57 to 62 are based on the following passage.
A new study from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCL (E) at Tufts University shows that today's youth vote in larger numbers than previous generations, and a 2008 study from the Center for American Progress adds that increasing numbers of young voters and activists support traditionally liberal causes. But there's no easy way to see what those figures mean in real life. During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama assembled a racially and ideologically diverse coalition with his message of hope and change; as the reality of life under a new administration settles in, some of those supporters might become disillusioned. As the nation moves further into the Obama presidency, will politically engaged young people continue to support the president and his agenda, or will they gradually drift away?
The writers of Generation O (short for Obama), a new Newsweek blog that seeks to chronicle the lives of a group of young Obama supporters, want to answer that question. For the next three months, Michelle Kremer and 11 other Obama supporters, ages 19 to 34, will blog about life across mainstream America, with one twist: by tying all of their ideas and experiences to the new president and his administration, the bloggers will try to start a conversation about what it means to be young and politically active in America today. Malena Amusa, a 24-year-old writer and dancer from St. Louis sees the project as a way to preserve history as it happens. Amusa, who is traveling to India this spring to finish a book, then to Senegal to teach English, has ongoing conversations with her friends about how the Obama presidency has changed their daily lives and hopes to put some of those ideas, along with her global perspective, into her posts. She's excited because, as she puts it, "I don't have to wait [until] 15 years from now" to make sense of the world.
Henry Flores, a political-science professor at St. Mary's University, credits this younger generation's political strength to their embrace of technology. "[The Internet] exposes them to more thinking," he says, "and groups that are like-minded in different parts of the country start to come together." That's exactly what the Generation O bloggers are hoping to do. The result could be a group of young people that, like their boomer (二战后生育高峰期出生的美国人) parents, grows up with a strong sense of purpose and sheds the image of apathy (冷漠) they've inherited from Generation X (60 年代后期和70 年代出生的美国人). It's no small challenge for a blog run by a group of ordinary—if ambitious—young people, but the members of Generation O are up to the task. 【題組】57.What is the finding of a new study by CIRCLE?
(A) More young voters are going to the polls than before.
(B) The young generation supports traditionally liberal causes.
(C) Young voters played a decisive role in Obama's election.
(D) Young people in America are now more diverse ideologically.
14.【題組】58. What is a main concern of the writers of Generation O?
(A) How Obama is going to live up to young people's expectations.
(B) Whether America is going to change during Obama's presidency.
(C) Whether young people will continue to support Obama's policy.
(D) How Obama's agenda is going to affect the life of Americans.
15.【題組】59. What will the Generation O bloggers write about in their posts?
(A) Their own interpretation of American politics.
(B) Policy changes to take place in Obama's administration.
(C) Obama's presidency viewed from a global perspective.
(D) Their lives in relation to Obama's presidency.
16.【題組】60. What accounts for the younger generation's political strength according to Professor Henry Flores?
(A) Their embrace of radical ideas.
(B) Their desire to change America.
(C) Their utilization of the Internet.
(D) Their strong sense of responsibility.
17.【題組】61. What can we infer from the passage about Generation X?
(A) They are politically conservative.
(B) They reject conventional values.
(C) They dare to take up challenges.
(D) They are indifferent to politics.
18.Directions: There are 20 blanks in the following passage. For each blank there are four choices marked (A), (B), (C) and (D) on the right side of the paper. You should choose the ONE that best fits into the passage. Then mark the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 2 with a single line through the centre.
A new study found that inner-city kids living in neighborhoods with more green space gained about 13% less weight over a two-year period than kids living amid more concrete and fewer trees. Such __62__ tell a powerful story. The obesity epidemic began in the 1980s, and many people __63__ it to increased portion sizes and inactivity, but that can't be everything. Fast foods and TVs have been __64__ us for a long time. "Most experts agree that the changes were __65__ to something in the environment," says social epidemiologist Thomas Glass of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. That something could be a __66__ of the green.
The new research, __67__ in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, isn't the first to associate greenery with better health, but it does get us closer __68__ identifying what works and why. At its most straightforward, a green neighborhood __69__ means more places for kids to play – which is __70__ since time spent outdoors is one of the strongest correlates of children's activity levels. But green space is good for the mind __71__: research by environmental psychologists has shown that it has cognitive __72__ for children with attention-deficit disorder. In one study, just reading __73__ in a green setting improved kids' symptoms.
__74__ to grassy areas has also been linked to __75__ stress and a lower body mass index (体重指数) among adults. And an __76__ of 3,000 Tokyo residents associated walkable green spaces with greater longevity (长寿) among senior citizens.
Glass cautions that most studies don't __77__ prove a causal link between greenness and health, but they're nonetheless helping spur action. In September the U. S. House of Representatives __78__ the delightfully named No Child Left Inside Act to encourage public initiatives aimed at exposing kids to the outdoors.
Finding green space is not __79__ easy, and you may have to work a bit to get your family a little grass and trees. If you live in a suburb or a city with good parks, take __80__ of what's there. Your children in particular will love it – and their bodies and minds will be __81__ to you. 【題組】62. (A) findings (B) theses (C) hypotheses (D) abstracts