University Study Finds That Whites Believe They Are Now the Most Frequent Victims of Racial Discrimination

A poll conducted by researchers at Tufts University and Harvard Business School found that whites believe they are victimized by racial discrimination more often than blacks.

The article, “Whites See Racism as a Zero-sum Game That They Are Now Losing,” was published in the May issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Using a sliding scale of 1 to 10, black and white respondents were asked to what extent blacks and whites were victims of racial discrimination in every decade from the 1950s to the present. On the scale, 1 indicated “not at all” and 10 meant “very much.”

Both whites and blacks agreed that in the 1950s there was substantial discrimination against blacks and almost none against whites. Both blacks and whites responded that racial discrimination has decreased over the ensuing decades. But whites believe that racial discrimination against blacks has lessened at a faster rate.

But the most revealing finding is that in the present time whites believe bias against whites is greater than bias against blacks by a full point on the 1 to 10 scale. Some 11 percent of whites responded with the maximum rating of 10 for the level of anti-white bias. Only 2 percent of whites said that bias against blacks today rated a maximum score of 10.

Michael I. Norton of Harvard, one of the coauthors of the study, stated, “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 no believe that this progress is linked to a new inequality at their expense.”