Researchers at Tufts University and Harvard Business School are releasing a study which found that many white people feel that anti-white racism has increased and even surpassed racism towards black people.
The study surveyed a nation-wide sample of about 200 white people and 200 black people, asking them to rate discrimination against blacks and whites in each decade from the 1950s to the 2000s on a scale of 1 to ten. Both groups felt that racism towards blacks was substantial in the 1950s and minimal for whites, and that racism against blacks has decreased over time. However, many white respondents felt that racism against whites has increased significantly.
On average, white respondents rated anti-white racism more prevalent in the last decade than anti-black racism by more than a full point on the scale. Eleven percent of white respondents even gave the anti-white bias a maximum rating of ten, whereas only two percent of white respondents rated anti-black bias a ten. White respondents were also found to believe that anti-black racism has declined faster than black respondents did.
The study’s authors say that their data demonstrates that white people feel that more progress has been made toward equality than blacks do, and that this progress has been made at their expense. Put another way, many white respondents seem to view “reverse racism” as a bigger problem today 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,” co-author Samuel Somers, associate professor of psychology at Tufts, said.
The study, entitled “Whites See Racism as a Zero-sum Game that They Are Now Losing” will appear in this month’s issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.