Given that court cases claiming reverse discrimination have been litigated since the 1970s, perhaps it’s not surprising that a new study shows whites think they are more discriminated against than blacks. Combine this finding with a host of other new facts and figures, however, and you get a lot of evidence suggesting these whites need a reality check.

The study was conducted by Tufts University psychology professor Samuel Sommers and Harvard Business School professor Michael I. Norton. They found that both blacks and whites believe racism against blacks has declined in the last 60 years, but whites believe the situation is now reversed, with racism against them surpassing racism against blacks.

In a nation-wide sample of 208 blacks and 209 whites, some 11% of whites gave anti-white bias the maximum rating on the scale, while only 2% of whites gave the maximum rating for anti-Black bias. Sommers and Norton found no significant variation for other demographic factors like respondent age or education. They also said “whites linked lower levels of anti-black bias with higher levels of anti-White bias.”

“This emerging perspective is particularly notable because by nearly any metric—from employment to police treatment, loan rates to education—statistics continue to indicate drastically poorer outcomes for Black than White Americans,” the researchers concluded.

Coincidentally, last week Gallup published results of a poll that indicated 30 percent of African Americans think unemployment is the nation’s biggest problem while only 19 percent of whites think so. (Senior citizens and those earning less than $30,000 per year also named unemployment as the top problem, while Americans overall said it is the economy in general.)

Meanwhile the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on June 3 that the unemployment rate for May was “essentially unchanged” from the previous month. That rate was 16.2 percent for blacks, 11.9 percent for Hispanics, and 8 percent for whites.

An article yesterday at The Grio reported this rate as a factor in the disproportionate impact of the housing market collapse on African Americans. Other factors include “stricter credit score requirements, a severe decline in loans made to blacks, and predatory lending.”

“After peaking at 50 percent in 2006, the African-American home ownership rate has now fallen to 44.8 percent, Census Bureau data show. By comparison, the home ownership rate for whites in the U.S. is 74.1 percent, and the nation’s overall home ownership rate currently stands at 66.4 percent,” the article said.

Additionally, “The Center for Responsible Lending calculates that about 11 percent of African-American homeowners are in some stage of foreclosure, and that 1.1 million black families will lose their homes by 2012.” If the Qualified Residential Mortgage Rule that is being recommended by Federal regulators is signed into law, buyers will be required to put at least 20 percent down when purchasing a house, sending home ownership further out of reach for many Americans no matter their race, The Grio reported.

Finally, in our statistical mash-up, Psych Central reports that researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California interviewed 1,271 black men and found that they reported better mental health overall than whites, but the kinds of realities reported in these other statistics threaten it.

The National Survey of American Life: Coping with Stress in the 21st Century indicates that “lower socioeconomic standing including lower levels of education, unemployment and poverty were associated with poorer mental health status” in black men, but “only one out of 20 respondents reported major depressive disorder during the previous 12-month period,” and only 3 percent indicated the presence of serious psychological distress. “Overall, these prevalence rates are relatively low compared to non-Hispanic whites,” Psych Central concluded. (It’s important to note, however, that African Americans are less likely to seek and receive quality treatment for mental health concerns.)

Is there anything significant to be derived from the fact that whites think they’re being discriminated against more than blacks, while blacks actually are but report better mental health overall? Tell us what you think.

Share This