The New Inequality

We have come a long way as a nation about racism.  The most important symbol of that is the fact that a black person is now the leader of the free world.  But, that important milestone in the history of racial change may also be causing a monumental shift in the attitudes of some Americans about race.  Some new research shows that whites now believe they are victims of racism more than blacks.

 The research was done by a psychologist, Samuel Sommers, at Tufts University.  He said, “It's pretty surprising” considering the fact that blacks still lag behind whites in home ownership, health care and employment. The study basically shows that whites surveyed believe, that since 1950, anti-white bias has increased and anti-black bias has decreased.  The most significant point, according to Sommers, is that whites living now between 2000 and 2010 think they are now the target of racism more than blacks.  He says this shows that white see racial equality as a balance.  When one racial group gains equality, the other gives up some equality.  Whites see this new era of racial equality for blacks as coming at their expense.

 The CBS news program “60 minutes” aired an interview recently with the Reverend Al Sharp ton, the notorious civil rights leader who won his fiery reputation confronting the so- called white establishment over racial inequality.  He told CBS that since Barak Obama was elected president, he has toned down his rhetoric and has become more of a statesman than a revolutionary.  He sees the Obama presidency as a significant marker in the battle for black equality because of the symbol it presents to the world.  The fight is not over, he said, but it has changed. 

 Playing the race card, which was so prevalent in recent years, in politics and the law and education, is becoming less powerful.  Extreme racists, black and white, are being rejected dramatically.  But, if this study is true, it appears there is a discontent growing in the white middle class that may become the next “quiet” stigma to deal with.  Whites who think when someone who is black wins, they lose.  If that is a reality, then it too will become something politicians, lawyers and communities will have to face.  It may not be right or fair, but it may be reality.

Categories: Becker’s Digital Notebook