A couple of months ago in one of the many sociology classes I have taken, I conducted a survey along with a few other classmates. It was about individuals perceptions of racism. Questions like if the respondent believed racism existed, if they considered themselves racist, or knew of an individual that was racist, were some of the many different questions that were asked. What we found out was that racism is a very testy subject where individuals commonly opt to not respond to questions that could possibly signalize them as racist or having a relation with someone who by society’s perception could possibly be considered racist. Indeed many questions were responded with the answer “choose not to reply or other” even though a variety of questions consisted of yes or no answers.
While looking through the many different articles on the web, I came across the article, Poll: Most Americans see lingering racism— in others, on the CNN website and felt like there was a direct connection with what I had found out when I conducted my own survey.
Most Americans, white and black, see racism as a lingering problem in the United States, and many say they know people who are racist, according to a new poll.But few Americans of either race — about one out of eight — consider themselves racist. .
Clearly many individuals acknowledge that there is racism but not that they partake in racist acts although the contrary may be true. In a poll conducted by Opinion Research Corp for CNN the different viewpoints of blacks and whites pertaining to how serious racial bias is in the United States comes to light. Some of the most interesting findings was that 49% of the black respondents stated that racism was a very serious problem. On the contrary only 18 percent of the white respondents thought racism was a serious issue. The great difference in percentages gives off the impression that only 18% of the white respondents might view racism as not such a serious issue simply because they have not been part of a situation where they were discriminated on or know of any other individual who might have experienced racism. As we all know whites have a great amount of advantages over minority groups because whites are commonly viewed as the greater race. Reason being as to why many whites havent felt discrimination solely based on their race.
When respondents were asked if they knew someone who they consider racist, 43% of whites said yes and 48% of blacks said yes as well. The percentages are much more closer together which leads me to draw the conclusion that both races are exposed to racism either being victims to racism or actually the ones being racist. I can infer that whites are most likely being racist to minority groups and blacks are most likely racist to other minority groups than to whites. I infer this simply because this idea of white mans power still exists that a black man who is being racist to a white can get in greater trouble than if the situation were vise versa. So, in order to avoid situations where blacks can be on the short end of the stick and have serious problems after, they rather not confront or be part of situations where they may be perceived as discriminating whites. Another interesting fact is that 13% whites and 12% consider themselves as racially biased individuals. Meaning that they have favoritism of a particular race (theirs, of course) and prejudice of another. The percentages are probably smaller because individuals don’t want to be categorized or recognized as being racist.
“Racism here is quite subtle,” e-mailed CNN.com reader Blair William, originally from Trinidad, who now lives in Lexington, South Carolina. “I think that the issue is twofold. I believe that white America’s perception of blacks is still generally negative based on their limited interaction with blacks, whether this is via the media or in person.
Tieing in to the previous quote the National Fair Housing Alliance found that whites were steered away from integrated neighborhoods and on the contrary blacks were steered towards neighborhoods that were predominantly black neighborhoods. It’s amazing how this racial separation still persists after so many centuries have passed. No wonder people like Blair William believe that white Americas perception of blacks is generally negative, and with all honesty it’s rather true. As previously stated whites don’t have much interaction with blacks because of the neighborhoods they live or even work in. The media plays a major role in portraying blacks in a very bad light, commonly vandalizing or as criminals. Which as a result gives off the over generalized idea that every black person is a “bad seed” when that really isn’t the case.
The Opinion Research poll shows that blacks and whites disagree on how each race feels about the other.Asked how many whites dislike blacks, 40 percent of black respondents said “all” or “many.” Twenty-six percent of whites chose one of those replies.On the question of how many blacks dislike whites, 33 percent of blacks said “all” or “many,” while 38 percent of whites agreed — not a significant difference statistically because of the poll’s 5 percent margin of error.
Possibly, if blacks and whites knew that not the entire population of each race dislikes each other, perceptions of individuals and how they view other races could possibly change although it may take many years to occur. More blacks have claimed that they have been victims of their race compared to the amount of whites that have claimed they have been discriminated because of their race. Sadly to say I believe racism and discrimination are two concepts that will always be a part of our lives regardless of how much we may try to ignore it or become oblivious to it.