Whites Believe They Are Victims of Racism More Often Than Blacks
Whites believe that they have replaced blacks as the primary victims of racial discrimination in contemporary America, according to a new study from researchers at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School. The findings, say the authors, show that America has not achieved the "post-racial" society that some predicted in the wake of Barack Obama's election.
Both whites and blacks agree that anti-black racism has decreased over the last 60 years, according to the study. However, whites believe that anti-white racism has increased and is now a bigger problem than anti-black racism.
"It's a pretty surprising finding when you think of the wide range of disparities that still exist in society, most of which show black Americans with worse outcomes than whites in areas such as income, home ownership, health, and employment," says Tufts Associate Professor of Psychology Samuel Sommers, PhD, coauthor of the study that appears in Perspectives on Psychological Science.
White and black estimates of bias in the 1950s were similar. Both groups acknowledged little racism against whites at that time but substantial racism against blacks. Respondents also generally agreed that racism against blacks has decreased over time, although whites believed it has declined faster than blacks do.
However, whites believed that racism against whites has increased significantly as racism against blacks has decreased. On average, whites rated anti-white bias as more prevalent in the 2000s than anti-black bias by more than a full point on the 10-point scale. Moreover, some 11% of whites gave anti-white bias the maximum rating of 10 compared with only 2% of whites who rated anti-black bias a 10. Blacks, however, reported only a modest increase in their perceptions of "reverse racism."
"These data are the first to demonstrate that not only do whites think more progress has been made toward equality than do blacks, but whites also now believe that this progress is linked to a new inequality, at their expense," note researchers. Whites see racial equality as a zero sum game, in which gains for one group mean losses for the other.
— Source: Tufts University