The new victims of discrimination | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The new victims of discrimination

Posted By on Sat, Nov 20, 2010 at 7:23 AM

New York Times columnist Charles Blow writes on the mind-boggling development of the belief among conservative whites that they are the victims.

The latest evidence of this comes in a poll released this week that was conducted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute and financed by the Ford Foundation. The poll found that 62 percent of whites who identified as Tea Party members, 56 percent of white Republicans, and even 53 percent of white independents said that today discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. Only 30 percent of white Democrats agreed with that statement.

It’s an extraordinary set of responses. And my question is the same one used by the right to defend the Tea Party against claims of racism: Where’s the proof? There’s a mound of scientific evidence a mile high that documents the broad, systematic and structural discrimination against minorities. Where’s the comparable mound of documentation for discrimination against whites? There isn’t one.

Blow's view sounds reasonable — some things have improved, some haven't so much, there's still work to be done. He comments, "Racism isn’t everywhere we imagine it, but it is in far more places than we admit." Honesty by all is in order, he says. I'd add that this popular wave of denial is just a little nutty.

UALR, of course, is doing some valuable work in studying racial attitudes. It recently won UA Board approval to establish an institute on race and ethnicity, a signature part of Chancellor Joel Anderson's agenda. As Blow said, work remains.

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