Wednesday 7 September 2011

The New Racism

The study polled roughly 200 white people and 200 black people drawn at random from a national census and asked them to rate racist attitudes against blacks and whites in each decade from 1950 to 2000.

Both groups felt racism against black people was substantial in the 1950s and both groups agreed the situation had markedly improved.

However, white respondents to the survey indicated that racism is now on the rise against white people. Eleven per cent of people responding to the survey even gave anti-white racism a maximum rating of ten points.

The authors said the research showed America has not yet reached a "post-racial" era, despite the election of Barack Obama as the country's first black president.

Instead, they said there are still "several legal and social controversies" highlighting "reverse racism" against white people, and that the white respondents to the survey felt that racism is now a "zero-sum game" - the less racism that is directed against black Americans has been accompanied by a rise in perceived biases against white Americans.

"Whites believe the pendulum has now swung way beyond equality in the direction of discrimination," it added.

"It is 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," said Samuel Somers, an associate professor of psychology at Tufts who co-authored the study.

David E. Berstein, a professor of law at George Mason university, told the New York Times that the US policy of affirmative action, which sees universities and employers overtly favour black candidates over whites, had led many whites to complain about the unfairness of the system.

"It is not terribly surprising that whites subjectively perceive discrimination against members of their own group as an especially significant and growing problem, even though, objectively speaking, bias against blacks is far more pervasive, problematic and ill-intentioned," he said.

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