Whites See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game that They are Losing.
So. A study came out recently saying that white folks in the US felt that anti-white discrimination was a huge problem and that anti-Black racism is hardly a problem at all anymore. While I understand that people do all sorts of studies on topics that I don’t give a shit about, my only question is was this a slow news day or something?
So white people minimize racism experienced by Black folks? Wow, stop the presses. And white folks still frame race issues in the US as Black/white? Sounds like some people don’t want to join the 21st century, which is well underway people, get with the program.
The researchers published an article in the New York Times, entitled “Jockeying for Stigma”. Funny, Sherene Razack used the phrase “the race to innocence” or “the race to the margins” when I was in graduate school in 1995.
From the NYT article:
Our recent research reveals that white and black Americans agree that bias against blacks was prevalent in the 1950’s and 1960’s. But while blacks see such racism as continuing, whites tend to see it as a problem that has been more or less “solved.”
If anything, many whites now believe that it’s anti-white bias that’s on an upswing, to the point where it’s even more prevalent than anti-black bias — a sentiment not shared by blacks. Why would the perception of anti-white bias have increased dramatically among whites, particularly in recent years?
One outcome of granting rights to traditionally marginalized groups has been to leave many whites feeling marginalized themselves.
Marginalization isn’t about how you FEEL. At least, it’s not only about that. It’s about ongoing, systemic, historical treatment that is discriminatory, oppressive, violent and marginalizing. Hurt feelings of white folks doesn’t quite fall into that category, ya think?
What are the consequences of this sense of marginalization? For one, the very same developments that some would point to as evidence of progress toward equality (an African-American president, a Latina Supreme Court justice) are seen by others as further evidence of the threats aligned against them.
Yeah. ONE Black president and ONE Latina Supreme Court justice PROVES that white folks are being shoved aside and NONE of their concerns matter, ever again! Nyah nyah!
Seriously, do we live in the same world here? Apparently not.
Racialicious has an article by Arturo R Garcia called Why That Harvard/Tufts study isn’t breaking news
In related news, the New York Times published an article, Is Anti-White Bias a Problem?
In what some have called the new post-racial era, what constitutes discrimination is shifting.
See right there I’m pissed off. Who has called this the post-racial era? Seriously. In the 2 1/2 years since Barack Obama has been elected I’ve never heard anyone use the term “post racial” without scare quotes, or with some distancing language such as “some have said this”. How about stop using the stupid term, which only means that white people are freaked out about space, race, authority and power. Which isn’t news, by the way.
Oh, and what “constitutes” discrimination is the same old boring (meaning non-headline grabbing) shit. It will remain the same old shit until more and more of us resist it.
Patricia Williams responds and includes an interesting scale of how various biases are perceived by the dominant group in varying ways. This scale explains the “model minority” for Chinese-Americans (and Chinese-Canadians) as well as the persistence of anti-Black and anti-Aboriginal racism that persists in both Canada and the U.S.
The world is changing, however, and the realignment of wealth, power, jobs and resources has been deeply challenging to the notion of American exceptionalism. That exceptionalism, consciously or unconsciously, is infused with racialized hierarchies — normative whiteness and masculinity still marking the “worthiest” inheritors of the American dream.
The trickiest thing about prejudice is that it is so malleable, so capable of reinvention. Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology at Princeton, has documented the varied and fluctuating presentations of social biases like race, class, disability, gender. She points out that there are nuanced differences in how prejudice is expressed against the disabled as opposed to Asian-Americans, or as against high-status blacks versus poor blacks, or the homeless or those with low-status accents. Elements like pity, resentment, competition, revulsion, paternalism, or fear play against one another in complicated ways.
Fiske employs a grid to predict how social groups will be ranked, using attributed vectors of warmth/coldness and competence/incompetence. In the simplest terms, her metric is as follows:
1. Those stereotyped as high competence and high warmth are met with pride and admiration (like most white people).
2. Groups who rank as high warmth and low competence are treated with pity, sympathy, paternalism (like the elderly).
3. Those stereotyped as high competence and low warmth are met with envy (like Jews and Asians).
4. Those perceived as low competence and low warmth are greeted with contempt, anger and resentment (like the homeless).