“A History of White Delusion” Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, 14 July 2016

“In the last decade, almost two-thirds of white Americans have said that blacks are treated fairly by the police, and four out of five whites have said that black children have the same chance as white kids of getting a good education. In short, the history of white Americans’ attitudes toward race has always been one of self-deception.”

In 1962 a Gallup poll showed that 85% of white Americans believed black children were getting as good a chance at a quality education as white kids. In 1963, half thought blacks had as good a chance as getting a job as whites. Looking back, that is clearly ignorant. White delusions have been constant, and many white Americans are still unaware of what the black experience is like. That’s not to say we haven’t progressed, but we still have a tendency to “otherize” minorities. There are black delusions too, but amazingly they downplay racial discrepancies. In 1962, half of the black surveyed thought they had the same job opportunities as whites. I think we’ll look back at today's racial debates in the same way. The surgeon who operated on the seven wounded officers in Dallas was a white man. He fought to save them, but maintained that the system was biased, saying, “I support you. I defend you. I will care for you. That doesn’t mean I will not fear you.” Half of white America thinks anti-white discrimination is as big a problem as discrimination against black, which ignores all research done on racial inequality. Even worse abuses than law enforcement are ignored, like how black students are more likely to be at worse public schools. These problems can’t be fixed unless white Americans break their delusions and recognize black peoples’ perspectives.

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“A History of White Delusion” Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, 14 July 2016


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