White America Thinks Racism Is Getting Worse. For White People

Jul 26, 2016 by

By Nahema Marchal

Whites have replaced blacks as the main victims of discrimination in today’s America — or at least that’s what they’ve come to believe, reports the Washington Post.

While many commentators, both liberal and conservative, were celebrating the advent of a “post racial” society after Obama’s election in 2008, the reality on the ground a decade later couldn’t be further from the truth. If there’s one thing black and white Americans agree on when it comes to race relations these days it’s that they’re getting worse. But that’s about the only point on which they see eye to eye.

Black Lives Matter: Beyond the Riots

A fascinating study conducted by two Tufts University and Harvard Business school professors (for the Post, they revisited their findings from the original study in 2011showed profound differences in the way whites and blacks think about and experience race relations on a day-to-day basis. When asked whether anti-black bias had evolved since the 1950s, both groups of respondents agreed it had generally decreased over time. However, when asked if “reverse racism” or anti-white bias is a problem, black and white respondents held totally opposite views: While black folks could not discern a change in attitudes towards white people, white respondents reported feeling increased prejudice against them over the past 30 years.

This view by whites is also noteworthy because it stands in sharp contrast to pretty much any other measure of social and economic well being: When it comes to treatment by the police, access to jobs, schools, healthcare, or income, loan rates and poverty rates—black Americans are much worse off than their white counterparts.

According to the authors, Michael I. Norton and Samuel R. Sommers, these changes in whites’ conceptions of racism are so pervasive that whites have now come to view anti-white bias as a worse issue than anti-black bias. For many white people, the moment U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor foresaw in 2003—when she said that “25 years from now, the use of racial preferences” would “no longer be necessary”—has already been reached, and the pendulum of justice has now swung far beyond equality and into anti-white bias.

The recent deluge of legal disputes over wrongful termination alleging anti-white discrimination, Wendy Bell’s for example, and other racially tinged controversies supports this trend: Whites increasingly see themselves as the true victims of decades of corrective racial justice and affirmative action policies that have left them feeling disaffected and vilified.

This perceived victimhood, the authors say, could indicate that white Americans view racism as some sort of “zero sum” game—such that if any progress is made towards equality for black people, it will necessarily be at their expense. This is crucial, and may explain the boisterous response of critics of the Black Lives Matter movement, who feel compelled to reaffirm, again and again, that all lives—including theirs—matter.

Source: White America Thinks Racism Is Getting Worse. For White People | Heat Street

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