A new study by two US researchers, American whites believe they are now more discriminated against because of their race than their Afro-American fellow citizens. The new study, entitled "Whites See Racism as a Zero-sum Game that They Are Now Losing", reveals surprising results.
Samuel Sommers, a professor of psychology at Tufts University in Massachusetts, and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School performed the research on two groups of Americans. They asked a sample of 209 white people and 208 black people to rate how much each group was discriminated against on a scale of one to 10, starting from 1950 and ending at the start of the new millenium.
Both groups agreed that anti-black racism has significantly decreased during the past 60 years. Afro-Americans evaluated their discrimination at 9.7 in the 1950s and 6.1 after the year 2000. White people also recognized that racism against black people in the 1950s exceeded 9 points (precisely, 9.1) and ranked it currently at 3.6.
However, the experts noticed an enormous difference between black and white perceptions of discrimination of white people. According to the Afro-American group, such discrimination has risen only by four-tenths of a point during the past 60 years (from a ranking of 1.4 to 1.8). On the other hand, white people believe it has risen from 1.8 to 4.7.
"This is a completely surprising finding when you reflect that there are still great disparities in society due to which Afro-Americans are still much worse off," Professor Sommers told the UK paper The Independent, "including employment rates, health care access, real estate ownership, and wage levels." Sommers went on to say the findings indicate that white Americans simply view racism as a game in which one side will always win and the other will always lose - therefore, if racism against black people has been ameliorated, white Americans believe it must have increased against them.
It’s the little things that matter in life. The portrayal of blacks in media has to be addressed. Certain racial stereotypes must be done with. They no longer have a place in new America. For a long time, Blacks have been associated with lying, being prone to crime, irresponsible and good for nothings. Ever noticed that blacks in films are the first to die, in fact they assume inferior roles in films and are portrayed negatively.
Talking about stereotyping in films, I am reminded of my childhood favourite TV series ‘The A Team’. If you grew up in the 90’s you would probably remember how Mr. T. (weird hair-cut) was portrayed in the series. Ever noticed how he was meant to behave in a barbaric manner His other name BA Baracus was used to suggest so; (seems as if they wanted to say barbaric).He was scared to death to fly on an airplane that they had to dose him just before take –off. He was a man of few words and did most of the manual work- too eager to please the ‘master’ and could not think independently. He took orders from Hannibal Smith (the white guy who did most of the thinking). He was a big contrast of Hannibal Smith, who was the think tank; cool, smart, and intelligent. The film is reminiscent of the slave master relationship that existed during slavery.
One can not talk about American black history and the fight against racism without mentioning Martin Luther King’s famous speech, ‘I have a Dream’ delivered on August 28 1963.As a Civil Rights activist, Luther , through his powerful speech, which is still relevant in modern America, called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. According to Wikipedia, the speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.
As W.E. B DuBois states that the ‘problem of the 20th Century is the problem of the colour line’, Obama has to bear in mind that King’s ‘dreams’ are still alive today. King hoped for a just society with equal opportunities, a society where you are not judged by your race. He said ‘I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’ That has to be fulfilled. Obama has a big role to play for his fellow Black brothers and sisters.
As I see it, Obama’s victory, at a metaphorical level represents the advancement of the black race; a victory over white supremacy and dominance .An affirmation that black is not inferior as the world was meant to believe for hundreds of years, to the extent that many have lost pride and confidence for being black.
In my home country, Zimbabwe we used to have the skin-lightening creams. It’s a pity that some of our black sisters are still using them to date; some even want to pass for white. As Ngugi clearly states we need to ‘decolonize our minds.” That’s true.
Obama’s victory on the other hand is a celebration of black beauty; what negritude writers have been advocating for: ‘black is beautiful’. I hope racism will be defeated. It is also my hope that, the legacy of slavery: discrimination, unequal economic opportunities, segregation, racial stereotypes will come to an end .Most importantly whatever change Obama advocates for, it must bring hope to the Afro-American- and must create a society where blacks and whites will be able to live together in harmony and ‘let the past bury itself’. It has to be a step towards freedom and true independence as well as racial harmony. Lastly, Obama’s administration must fight to eliminate racial problems as joblessness, lack of housing, police brutality, and poor educational facilities.