5 Random Factors That Determine Whether You Succeed in Life Read more: 5 Random Factors That Determine Whether You Succeed in Life
You’ve stayed in school, stayed off drugs and made the right friends. Dollar bills should be raining down on you like a ticker tape parade, right?
Not if you’ve got these completely arbitrary factors working against you. Studies show that …
#5. A Baby Face Earns More Money (If It’s Black)
If given the chance, Science will jump over mountains to point out that we’re more superficial than we think. The business world is no exception — in fact, a study by Duke University found that “competent looks” had a direct correlation to the paycheck of a given CEO. The traits that implied competence were craggy, rugged, mature facial features, presumably because we want business leaders who go home to wrestle a bear in a log cabin. Fair enough.
But that study mostly involved white CEOs. A study of black CEOs found the exact opposite — their success was directly related to how “baby-faced” they were.
“Give this man a pacifier and make him our new CFO!”
Here’s how they figured out the correlation: Whiteys were shown 40 headshots of black men, white women and white men who were current or former CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Then the subjects were asked to judge personalities based on the headshots, because we really don’t judge people based on their headshots enough in this world. Did the people look competent? Warm and friendly? How much money did they make? Were they good in bed? Did they pee in the shower? You know, the usual things you can tell from a headshot.
So then things took a turn for the oddly specific. Black men who had rounder faces were perceived to not only earn more money but have higher positions within their companies. The crazy part was that those ridiculous predictions were right! The black guys with baby faces really did earn more money than their black counterparts who were more facially chiseled. Can you guess why? If your answer started with an “r” and rhymed with “fascism” if “fascism” had a long “a” sound, then you’re right. One of the researchers put it this way:
To function effectively as an African-American male in the U.S. it helps to have a disarming mechanism.
“No, sir, his face is pretty square. I figured it’s better to be safe than sorry, you know?”
And by “disarming mechanism,” he means something that makes white people think you’re not out to hurt them, even though they’re asking for it by requiring a disarming mechanism in the first place. In this case, the thing that helped these real world CEOs get ahead in their field was something they couldn’t help — the shape of their face. But there are other times when a Harvard degree, friendly smiles or a pair of suspenders can do the trick. Look at President Obama, after all. No one can say that lean BHO is sporting a baby face. Except the president happens to have another trick up his sleeve:
Big ears or a simple smile can disarm one’s appearance from suggested perceptions of threat that might otherwise be associated with black males. This could serve to increase the appeal of the president or even one of Hollywood’s most successful actors — Will Smith.
Plus, you know he was only in one little fight before his mom stepped in and rewarded him with luxury.