For those who think blacks in America are imagining racism or blowing things out of proportion:
Fact: Black youths arrested for drug possession are 48 times more likely to wind up in prison than white youths arrested for the same crime under the same circumstances.
Source: “Young White Offenders get lighter treatment,” 2000. The Tennessean. April 26: 8A.
Fact: Black and Latino men are three times more likely than white men to be stopped by the police and have their cars searched – even though white men are four times more likely to have weapons or drugs.
Source: Matthew R. Durose, Erica L. Schmitt and Patrick A. Langan, Contacts Between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey. U.S. Department of Justice, (Bureau of Justice Statistics), April 2005.
Fact: White men with a criminal record are more likely to be called back for a job interview than black men with no record, even when their education and experience are the same.
Source: Pager, Devah. 2003. “The Mark of a Criminal Record.” American Journal of Sociology. Volume 108: 5, March: 937-75.
Fact: Students of colour are far less likely to be put in honours courses even after you take test scores and grades into account.
Source: Gordon, Rebecca. 1998. Education and Race. Oakland: Applied Research Center: 48-9; Fischer, Claude S. et al., 1996. Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press: 163; Steinhorn, Leonard and Barabara Diggs-Brown, 1999. By the Color of Our Skin: The Illusion of Integration and the Reality of Race. NY: Dutton: 95-6.
Fact: Students of colour are more than twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school even though they are not much more likely to break school rules than whites.
Source: Skiba, Russell J. et al., The Color of Discipline: Sources of Racial and Gender Disproportionality in School Punishment. Indiana Education Policy Center, Policy Research Report SRS1, June 2000; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System: Youth 2003, Online Comprehensive Results, 2004.
For those who think White Americans have a good feel for how racist their country is:
Fact: In 1962, 85% of whites thought that black children in their community had just as good a chance of getting a good education as white children.
Source: The Gallup Organization, Gallup Poll Social Audit, 2001. Black-White Relations in the United States, 2001 Update, July 10: 7-9.
Fact: In 1969 nearly half of all whites (45%) believed that blacks had a better chance getting a good-paying job than they did.
Source: Newsweek/Gallup Organization, National Opinion Survey, August 19, 1969.
Those last two are from the 1960s – a period of history far enough in the past for even whites to see the racism that went on.
The above comes from an excellent article by Tim Wise, “What Kind of Card is Race?” (2006). As he puts it:
In every era, black folks said they were the victims of racism and they were right. In every era, whites have said the problem was exaggerated, and we have been wrong.
- Tim Wise: What Kind of Card is Race?
- Why whites are blind to their racism
- “You see racism in everything”
- The police
- The mass incarceration of black men