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Jackson outburst shows problems with ‘other’ faces

February 12, 2014 • Entertainment


This combination of 2012 and 2008 file photos shows actors Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne. A Los Angeles newscaster apologized to Samuel L. Jackson for confusing him with fellow actor Laurence Fishburne during a live TV interview on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. Thomas Busey, an Indiana University psychology professor who studies face recognition, says, “There’s a phenomenon called the ‘other race effect,’ where people in general have a tendency to confuse or fail to correctly name individuals of other races.” (AP Photo/Invision, Victoria Will; Kathy Willens)

“They all look alike.”

There may be something behind this age-old canard: Science indicates that people can have a hard time differentiating between faces of people whose race is different from their own. But for black people, being mistaken for someone else can have a special sting, which may explain why the movie star Samuel L. Jackson eviscerated a white TV reporter for mistaking him for Laurence Fishburne.

“We may be all black and famous, but we all don’t look alike!” Jackson exclaimed. He proceeded to ridicule the reporter, refusing to move on despite profuse apologies.

It was a situation that’s familiar to many groups in a diverse society conscious of demographic boxes.

Asian-Americans get confused with people who aren’t even from their ancestral countries. Blondes get mistaken for other blondes who look nothing like them. Login to read more

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