Everyone Who Keeps Telling Me Racism is No Longer a Problem Can Kindly Shut Up Now

From the Washington Post:

The poll finds that racial prejudice is not limited to one group of partisans. Although Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats), the implicit test found little difference between the two parties. That test showed a majority of both Democrats and Republicans held anti-black feelings (55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans), as did about half of political independents (49 percent).

What poll are they talking about?  This one.  Here is an academic analysis of said poll.  And here is the Boston Globe:

Poll finds majority in US hold racist views

Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the nation elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward black people whether they recognize those feelings or not.


Racial prejudice has risen slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

In all, 51 percent of those surveyed expressed explicit racist attitudes toward black people, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the share with racist sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing positive attitudes toward black people fell.

It’s not just blacks either.  Americans have more than enough hate to go around.

Most Americans also expressed racist attitudes toward Hispanics. In an AP survey in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed racist attitudes toward Latinos. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test.

While I am sure the people who keep insisting to me that racism is no longer a problem in the United States are shocked over these findings, not everyone was surprised by the results.

Experts on race said they were not surprised by the findings.

‘‘We have this false idea that there is uniformity in progress and that things change in one big step. That is not the way history has worked,’’ said Jelani Cobb, director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. ‘‘When we’ve seen progress, we’ve also seen backlash.’’

Of course, some will continue to deny the problem still exists.  For example, here is Fox News’ headline for this story:

AP Uses Online Poll To Claim Increased Racism In U.S.

Finally, some fair and balanced coverage. I mean, online polls are unscientific!  Everyone knows that.  The dishonesty in that headline would be shocking if it wasn’t from Fox.  Of course this wasn’t your average unscientific web poll.  From the Washington Post’s coverage:

All the surveys were conducted online. Other research has shown that poll takers are more likely to share unpopular attitudes when they are filling out a survey using a computer rather than speaking with an interviewer. Respondents were randomly selected from a nationally representative panel maintained by GfK Custom Research.

Wonder why Fox would try to spin this poll as some meaningless online survey with questionable results?  Could it have something to do with the percentage of Republicans the poll found with explicitly racist views?  Go back to the start and reread that number.  I report, you decide.

Oh, and if you really want to lose faith in humanity, spend about an hour reading right wing blogs talking about this poll.  I do not suggest that you actually do this, but if you really want to watch people disassemble, shift blame, grasp at straws, and outright deny reality, here is an opportunity.


5 thoughts on “Everyone Who Keeps Telling Me Racism is No Longer a Problem Can Kindly Shut Up Now

  1. The poll isn’t that good. It asks questions about whether Blacks should have special favors – is it racism to want equal favors for all?

    But more importantly it asks the general public and Whites are the largest group so by design you meassure white people’s attitudes. It perpetuates the liberal idea that racism is white while polls regularly estimate for instance Black anti-semitism at around 30 percent, more than twice the average and of course even more than that in comparison to nonblack Americans.

    • It also asks if descriptors such as “lazy” and “violent” apply to certain ethnic groups. Pulling one question out of a multiple question poll to claim that the poll isn’t very good reeks a bit of dishonesty.

      “is it racism to want equal favors for all?” Well, that depends. I often see that sentiment used in arguments against affirmative action, in which case it is normally accompanied by the complete denial of white privilege and the history of the United states. So no, it isn’t racism to want equal favors for all, as long as that desire includes a wish for a truly equal playing field and the acceptance that we are not there yet in modern day America.

      “It perpetuates the liberal idea that racism is white” Sigh. Some percentage of black people may very well be anti-Semitic. I’m sure some hate white people even. Some people of Hispanic heritage may very well have an irrational hatred of Mormons, and I have it on good authority that Koreans absolutely hate immigrants from any moon of Saturn. Of course, none of this hate has ever been institutionalized by the United States government. Mormons were never slaves on Hispanic plantations. No Koreans have ever thrown a police endorsed lynching party to teach those Enceladusians a lesson.

      Prejudice is a human problem. Discrimination can be a human problem. Racism, in America at least, is a white problem. Here’s a excerpt from an old Daily Kos piece that I’m sure you will love.

      Prejudice is an irrational feeling of dislike for a person or group of persons, usually based on stereotype. Virtually everyone feels some sort of prejudice, whether it’s for an ethnic group, or for a religious group, or for a type of person like blondes or fat people or tall people. The important thing is they just don’t like them — in short, prejudice is a feeling, a belief. You can be prejudiced, but still be a fair person if you’re careful not to act on your irrational dislike.

      Discrimination takes place the moment a person acts on prejudice. This describes those moments when one individual decides not to give another individual a job because of, say, their race or their religious orientation. Or even because of their looks (there’s a lot of hiring discrimination against “unattractive” women, for example). You can discriminate, individually, against any person or group, if you’re in a position of power over the person you want to discriminate against. White people can discriminate against black people, and black people can discriminate against white people if, for example, one is the interviewer and the other is the person being interviewed.

      Racism, however, describes patterns of discrimination that are institutionalized as “normal” throughout an entire culture. It’s based on an ideological belief that one “race” is somehow better than another “race”. It’s not one person discriminating at this point, but a whole population operating in a social structure that actually makes it difficult for a person not to discriminate.

      Give it a read, then come back and I’m sure we can get into an argument over white privilege, affirmative action, or why there is a BET but no WET.

  2. Language is a matter of conventions. You can of course do away with reverse racism by leaving the conventions of natural language, but then you’re not talking about what all the others are talking about. For most people racism means prejudice and some form of discrimination. To define racism as exclusively institutionalized racism is convenient in that you can disprove the existence of reverse racism as well as all forms of racism on behalf of any minorities. You admit that “some percentage of black people may very well be anti-Semitic” but by your sociological definition they are still not racist. The possibility of non-racist anti-Semitism is to most people a contradiction in terms.

    And regardless of how you redefine language to suit your ideological needs, it won’t change reality. Racism, in the normal sense of the word, is still thriving in all groups in society. You obviously want it to be exclusively white but playing with words isn’t going to fix that.

  3. One might also argue that portrayal of racism as an exclusively white phenomenon (or redefining the word ‘racism’ to make it an exclusively white phenomenon) is an integral part of the problem (it’s an approach almost guaranteed to cause resentment in both whites and non-whites), and perhaps even a deliberate attempt to aggravate the problem (by a race-relations industry whose job security requires bad race relations to exist, and/or by a ruling elite which arguably has several centuries of experience of benefitting from using such divide-and-rule policies whenever they find them useful, and countering them whenever they find them inconvenient).

  4. Correction: In the above post I would probably have been wiser to speak of ‘some elements within the race relations industry or industries’ and ‘some elements within the ruling elite or elites’, as it makes little sense to me to tar everybody with the same brush.

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