The country has gotten better — we have less overt racism, people are generally ashamed if they’re caught expressing bias. But it’s the subtle stuff, the premises that form the foundation for racism, that still poison our citizenry. Unbelievably (for me, at least), white Americans now think they are the victims of racism.
The study was conducted by Sommers and co-author Michael I. Norton of Harvard asking a roughly equal national sample of 209 Caucasians and 208 African Americans to indicate, on a scale of 1 to 10, the extent to which they felt blacks and whites were the targets of discrimination in decades spanning from the 1950s to the 2000s. The scale’s ranking of 1 indicated “not at all” while 10 indicates “very much.”
Both groups reported roughly the same things for the 1950s, with neither believing Caucasians experienced much racism at all during that turbulent decade. Both similarly agreed that at the same time, there was substantial racism against African Americans. Both groups also agreed that racism against African Americans has steadily decreased over time. But here’s where the study gets interesting. Caucasians surveyed believe that the discrimination faced by their African American neighbors has decreased much more rapidly than the African American respondents. Furthermore, they believe that while African Americans now have it better, they – the Caucasians surveyed – have taken their place as the primary targets of discrimination.
How? How can anyone think that? I can’t think of a single thing where being black would privilege someone over me — nothing I aspire to is hampered by the color of my skin.
An astounding 11% of Caucasian respondents assigned the maximum rating of 10 to the seriousness of anti-white discrimination. Compare that with only 2% who reported the same of anti-black racism. Caucasians, the study found, often believe that racial equality is “a zero sum game,” where one group gains at the expense of others.
When the goal is equality, that should tell you right there that it doesn’t have to be a zero sum game — when obstacles are removed from one person’s progress, that doesn’t mean they have to be placed in someone else’s way. Do they think Harrison Bergeron is non-fiction?