The researchers begin with a quote from Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala): "Empathy for one party is always prejudice against another." This quote may accurately reflect the sentiments of an individual who sent AAAA an email recently: "Affirmative Action ha srun its course, its now a matter of reverse discrimination against whites!!, and its going to cause a civil war!!!think i'm joking!!!!!!!!!!"
While our first notion is to dismiss this emailer as another misguided human being, the research suggests that there may be more to this and that a discussion should be had about the reasons for these perceptions and the consequences thereof.
Interestingly, African Americans do not see such a correlation; that less bias against them means more bias against Anglo Americans. The authors conclude:
Although our data do not speak directly to the mechanisms underlying Whites’ view of
racism as a zero-sum game, it is likely that this belief has both practical and symbolic components.On the practical side, affirmative action policies designed to increase minority representation may focus Whites’ attention on the impact of quota-like procedures on their own access to education and employment, in effect threatening their resources (Haley & Sidanius, 2006). On the symbolic side, Whites may fear that minorities’ imposition of their cultural values represent an attack on White cultural value sand norms, as evidenced by Whites’ resentment of norms of political correctness (Norton, Sommers, Apfelbaum, Pura, &Ariely, 2006) and the belief of many Whites in a ‘‘War on Christmas’’ (Gibson, 2005).
What is puzzling is the fact that there is little evidence that majority Americans are being displaced. Where are the hordes of women or minority CEOs casting out white males? Is the Congress being overrun with minorities? How many African-American college presidents or governors are there? The facts simply do not support these perceptions. Nor is there evidence that affirmative action programs on behalf of minority populations have greatly diminished the opportunities of non-minorities. Affirmative action simply makes the selection process fairer by diversifying the hiring pool from which a selection can be made.
This study confirms the irrationality of opposition to affirmative action programs and policies and the importance of education, especially as this nation becomes more diverse. Diversity and equal opportunity should not be viewed as a threat, but as endemic to this nation's core beliefs in equality; that "all men [sic] are created equal."
Wall Street Journal Story: http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2011/05/11/whites-americans-see-anti-white-bias-on-the-rise/
New York Times Story: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/05/22/is-anti-white-bias-a-problem
See Professor Patricia J. Williams' comments on this study: "When Prejudice Is So Malleable" http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/05/22/is-anti-white-bias-a-problem/when-prejudice-is-so-malleable