Black respondents saw anti-black bias decline steadily, from 9.7 on the scale in the 1950s to 6.1 in the 2000s. During that same period, they thought anti-white bias increased marginally, from 1.4 to 1.8.This editorial was wrong. I read it and then I read it again and I knew it was wrong on so many levels but it took me a minute or two before I could pin it down. Not only was Gregory Rodriguez wrong, but so was Michael Norton the study's author. It's completely believable that black people feel as though there is still this seething undercurrent of racism that flows throughout the white community. Countless movies and television shows as well as popular music constantly reinforce this belief.
White respondents also saw anti-black bias decline through the decades, but even more dramatically than blacks did, from 9.1 in the 1950s to 3.6 in the 2000s. More significantly, whites also saw anti-white bias shoot up from 1.8 to 4.7 in the same period. As the researchers concluded, over the decades there was a "complete reversal" in whites' perception of racism. By the 2000s, whites considered anti-white bias to be a greater social problem than anti-black bias.
Norton and Sommers don't waste time pondering the veracity of that conclusion. By any metric, they write, "from employment to police treatment, loan rates to education — statistics continue to indicate drastically poorer outcomes for black than white Americans." Instead, they figure this historic flip-flop is not about objective conditions but about how whites conceptualize bias. Norton and Sommers conclude that whites, unlike blacks, view racism as a zero-sum game, a situation in which one side's gain automatically results only from the other's loss.
Where my opinion diverges from Norton, Sommers and Rodriguez is at the point where they begin to draw erroneous conclusions from that study. Few would argue that blacks in America are faring poorly. In every study, whether they look at economic outcome, educational achievement, family stability, or incarceration, blacks are faring worse than any other race. No one with half an IQ point would argue this. However the underlying cause of these facts is certainly up for debate.
The traditional liberal perspective and also the perspectives of Rodriguez, Norton, and Sommers is that it must be racism and discrimination that accounts for this disparity in economic and educational achievement. It must be racism and discrimination in our justice system that causes blacks to be jailed at six times the rate of whites.
It is precisely this intersection of our differing cultures that perfectly exemplifies exactly what is wrong with America. Without working, why should you be provided a living? Without studying, why should you be provided with a diploma? When you rob, murder, rape, and deal drugs, why should you be granted freedom?
How can we ever come together and agree to solve our problems when there is this insane denial of the facts. You didn't pass because you failed. You didn't get the job because there was someone else applying whose resume was impeccable, while your own application might as well have been filled out with a crayon. It wasn't racism that put you in prison, it was that trigger you pulled.
The other point brought up in the study and the editorial is that whites feel as though discrimination against them is on the rise. The Author of the study Michael Norton and also Gregory Rodriguez the LA Times writer both immediately dismiss the possibility that whites actually do face increased discrimination. Instead, they come up with some asinine zero-sum argument that presupposes that it is the reverse that is actually true. If you think that affirmative action isn't tangible evidence of nationwide systemic racial discrimination, then I'd like to know how you define discrimination, because I don't think we're speaking the same language at all.