More Whites Believe 'Reverse Racism' Is Costing Them Jobs

reverse racismWhether you're in a minority or a majority, it seems that here in America we all feel discriminated against. A recent study conducted at a couple of very prestigious schools found that now whites believe they have replaced blacks as the primary victims of racial discrimination in America. This is mostly exhibited in the workplace, they say, but many believe it can be found in legal, social and educational situations as well.

The study, conducted by researchers at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School, shows that America has not achieved the "post-racial" society that some predicted in the wake of Barack Obama's election, according to the authors of the study.

At least whites and blacks agree on one thing: Both feel that anti-black racism has decreased over the last 60 years. 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, homeownership, health and employment," said Tufts Associate Professor of Psychology Samuel Sommers, Ph.D. He's co-author with Michael I. Norton of Harvard of the article, "Whites See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game That They Are Now Losing," which appears in the May 2011 issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Researchers were surprised to find that 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 percent of whites gave anti-white bias the maximum rating of 10 compared to only 2 percent 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 Norton and Sommers. Whites see racial equality as a zero-sum game, in which gains for one group mean losses for the other.

Although these findings might take some by surprise, you can find hints of it in the U.S. legal system. The authors of the survey note that claims of so-called reverse racism, while not new, have been at the core of an increasing number of high-profile Supreme Court cases.

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