White Privilege Rears its Ugly Head: 46% of Whites in U.S. Think They are Victims of Racial Discrimination

Tea Party Constitution Cartoon

In 1960, Non-Hispanic whites made up 85% of the U.S. population. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2050, Non-Hispanic whites will only comprise 46.3% of the population. As white privilege declines, we see more and more instances of whites mistaking growing racial equality (slowly-growing, if at all) and (all-too-slowly) shrinking white privilege for growing “discrimination” against us whites. This new study and report by the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute provides an appalling insight into the pathology of a privileged majority whose power to oppress, be it loudly or subtly, with or without intent, is on the decline:

Nearly half (46 percent) of Americans agree that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. A slim majority (51 percent) disagree.

  • A slim majority of whites agree that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against minority groups, compared to only about 3-in-10 blacks and Hispanics who agree.
  • Approximately 6-in-10 Republicans and those identifying with the Tea Party agree that discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against minority groups. 
  • Nearly 7-in-10 Americans who say they most trust Fox News say that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. In stark contrast, less than 1-in-4 Americans who most trust public television for their news agree. (Italic-bold by editor for emphasis. Plain bold by original author.)

Now, there’s obviously a lot more to this study. Here’s one aspect that I find interesting:

Americans who are part of the Millennial generation (ages 18-29) are twice as likely as seniors (ages 65 and older) to have daily interactions with African Americans (51 percent vs. 25 percent respectively) and Hispanics (44 percent vs. 17 percent respectively), and to speak at least occasionally to Muslims (34 percent vs. 16 percent respectively).

We all know that the Tea Party demographic leans towards and is mostly spawned from people who are older than the “Millenial Generation” (in other words, “Baby Boomer” and older.) Also, there is what should be an obvious correlation between familiarity with people of differing ethnicities and cultures, and the degree of animosity and prejudice felt towards said groups. Cultural and physical isolation feeds the institution of white racism.

Also in the study, data that supports the obvious–that the Tea Party is an anti-immigrant movement. Tea Partiers are the least likely to “strongly favor” and “favor” pathways to citizenship for immigrants, and by far the most likely to “oppose” and “strongly oppose” citizenship for immigrants. Again, a summary of the data can be found here. The study itself can be found here.

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