If you ever wondered which personality type is most common among racists, a poll posted on the white nationalist website stormfront.org may provide an answer.
Stormfront.org is a self described “community of racial realists and idealists” where embittered white nationalists and Neo-Nazi sympathizers can connect with other like-minded souls to indulge in unsavory racist rhetoric. The site is ranked 8,148 on Alexa and it’s founder claims it receives over 1 million unique visitors per month. Google reportedly had to tweak it’s search engine algorithm after a Holocaust-denying Stormfront article began ranking in the top search engine results for “holocaust” search terms.
In a forum poll surveying the personality types of Stormfront users, of the participants, INTJs are shown to be the most prevalent, followed by ISTJs and INTPs.
Racism and Intellect
It’s worth noting that most of the survey participants are introverts. Only 20% are extraverted personality types which isn’t surprising since extraverts are likely too busy with their social lives to be hanging around online forums. Nevertheless, even among the introverted samples, the INTJs are way overepresented. This is troubling when you consider that INTjs are statistically among the most intelligent, high achieving personality types, which also includes the ranks of such prodigious luminaries as Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.
Although the Myers Briggs personality types are by no means a measure or indication of intelligence or intellectual aptitude, it’s clear that certain cognitive preferences tend to be stronger than others in specific areas such as academics and creativity. Naturally, the more peaceable and decent folks among us would like to dismissively attribute low I.Q. to racist attitudes but in truth, do they necessarily go hand in hand? No doubt, hate groups are notoriously host to some of the least erudite troglodytes of society. Intelligent people seem to be too busy with more productive things than to concern themselves with fruitless hate-mongering.
But INTJs have often been stereotyped as mad scientists with a potential for misanthropic diabolism. Being a rational type, INTJs are inclined to rely on logic and gut intuitions which may lead them to form unconventional conclusions that may threaten the sensitivities of feeling types. So from a depth psychology standpoint, it’s not difficult to see how INTJs, who are by their very nature predisposed to develop antipathetic views of people and society, could come to embrace such uncompassionate ideologies.
Racism as personality disorder
There is a wide spectrum of causes by which racist attitudes may arise, but one of them may simply be a symptom of personality disorder. An article published in the Journal of the National Medical Association suggests that racist attitudes may be the product of malignant narcissism. The cause of narcissistic personality disorder is not known but has been attributed to excessive pampering or criticism in childhood, or due to genetic predispositions. Narcissistic traits include:
- Grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
- Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
You may have heard about dominant/tertiary loops as an MBTI-based explanation for personality disorders. Where this idea came from, I don’t know. It appears to be an idea born of internet forums that just caught on. The INTJ Ni/Fi loop has been cited as giving rise to what resembles Paranoid Personality Disorder.
The idea is that if the INTJ’s auxiliary “Te” is debilitated, underdeveloped, or ignored for whatever reason the tertiary Fi will step in and join center stage with dominant Ni. The two introverted functions operating without “Te” to provide a reality check results in the INTJ becoming too isolated and losing touch with objective reality. In theory this could lead to all kinds of ill conceived notions and irrational conspiracies manufactured by their introverted intuition and further reinforced by their subjective introverted feeling.
In this state, INTJs become your typical conspiracy theorists; they cling deeply to their personal values and can find a conspiracy to assault or attack those values everywhere they look. Chronically distrustful of others’ intentions for no legitimate reason, these types are certain they are the only ones who really know “the truth.” The inferior function, Se can sometimes lead to an unconscious desire to attract the attention of or lead/organize others in efforts to expose the nefarious conspiracies they invariably see everywhere. If Te were doing its job, the INTJ would be able to look around them and observe empirical evidence that most of their theories are probably not reflected in reality, but as they rely almost entirely on internal validation, Ni will go to any lengths to justify Fi’s emotion-based suspicions.