I ran across a New York Times piece by columnist Nicholas D. Kristof called “Racism Without Racists”. He supports, in a grey, watered-down way, what I have been saying about white people – even though he is white himself. Instead of making absolute statements based on personal experience, like I tend to do, he makes softer statements based on studies, which is probably more believable (even if less true).
A bit of what he said:
One set of experiments conducted since the 1970s involves subjects who believe that they are witnessing an emergency (like an epileptic seizure). When there is no other witness, a white bystander will call for help whether the victim is white or black, and there is very little discrimination.
But when there are other bystanders, so the individual responsibility to summon help may feel less obvious, whites will still summon help 75 percent of the time if the victim is white but only 38 percent of the time if the victim is black.
What I call colour-blind racism Kristof calls aversive racism. He says it affects about half of all whites. Another 10% are still the old Jim Crow sort of racists, the kind who flat-out do not like blacks. He says that studies show that sort of racism is dying out.
So where I say 95% of whites are racist, he says it is more like 60%.
Kristof said that studies done two months before the 2008 election showed that Obama would be hurt more by colour-blind racists than the old Jim Crow sort:
The racism is difficult to measure, but a careful survey completed last month by Stanford University, with The Associated Press and Yahoo, suggested that Mr. Obama’s support would be about six percentage points higher if he were white. That’s significant but surmountable.
Most of the lost votes aren’t those of dyed-in-the-wool racists. Such racists account for perhaps 10 percent of the electorate and, polling suggests, are mostly conservatives who would not vote for any Democratic presidential candidate.
Rather, most of the votes that Mr. Obama actually loses belong to well-meaning whites who believe in racial equality and have no objection to electing a black person as president — yet who discriminate unconsciously.
Read the whole thing: Racism Without Racists