Republicans believe white people experience same level of racism as black people, report says

Study finds civil rights progress does 'not seem to coincide with disadvantages for white people' 

Alex Woodward
New York
Tuesday 10 December 2019 22:31 GMT
Alt-right demonstrators held a 'free speech' protest in Washington DC in July 2019
Alt-right demonstrators held a 'free speech' protest in Washington DC in July 2019

Researchers have punctured right-wing claims that a wave of "racism against white people" has coincided with efforts to prevent discrimination against blacks.

A study published in Nature Human Behaviour compared perceptions of racial discrimination in "societies that supposedly favour non-white people" and found that white people consistently experienced far less discrimination than black people, despite the influence of far-right groups and increasingly polarised political views that have argued civil rights progress has eliminated rights for others.

Authors compared perceptions of racial discrimination with actual reported discrimination experiences throughout the US to determine the veracity of those claims. Overall, they discovered that respondents "do not express zero-sum discrimination beliefs".

A belief in "reverse racism" is largely relative to one's race and political position, the report says.

The report found that black respondents and Democrats "perceived that black people face much more discrimination than white people" while "white respondents and Republicans perceived a smaller discrimination gap between black and white people, relative to reported discrimination experiences".

Gordon Hodson and Megan Earle from Canada's Brock University Department of Psychology concluded that civil rights improvements "do not seem to coincide with disadvantages for white people".

Far-right populism and fascist movements in the US and Europe, as well as the election of Donald Trump, relied on "themes of white loss and perceived anti-white discrimination", the authors told Newsweek.

But because marginalised people are less likely to report acts of discrimination against them, the gap between the right's perception of discrimination against people of colour and actual rates of discrimination is likely wider than what was recorded, according to the authors.

The authors combined information from nationalist datasets from 2012 and 2016 containing information from nearly 6,000 people.

They also collected data from two decades' worth of reports of discrimination, hate crimes and other racially motivated bias attacks.

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