Race in America

Over half of white America thinks they’re being discriminated against

The poll reflects a key narrative that emanated from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

According to a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a significant majority of white Americans feel that they are the targets of discrimination.

The poll found that 55 percent of whites surveyed said they felt discrimination against white people is an ingoing problem. Interestingly, although the majority of whites polled said they felt discrimination against their demographic is real, a much smaller percentage claim they have personally experienced discrimination.

The poll was conducted with 3,453 adults in the U.S.

One of the poll’s respondents, 68-year-old Tim Hershman of Akron, Ohio, said that if a white person were to apply for a job, “they seem to give the blacks the first crack at it,” adding that “if you want any help from the government, if you’re white, you don’t get it. If you’re black, you get it.”

“It’s been going on for decades, and it’s been getting worse for whites,” Hershman continued. As NPR points out, data shows that whites continue to be better off in regards to income and education than minority groups.

From NPR:

Even though Hershman believes he has been a victim of anti-white discrimination, he wasn’t able to provide a specific example. He describes losing out on a promotion — and a younger African-American being selected as one of the finalists for the job. But the position eventually went to a white applicant, who was also younger than Hershman.

Influencing the responses to the poll seemed to be the income levels of the respondents, with lower to moderate-income white Americans being more likely to say discrimination against them exists. According to University of Akron political scientist David Cohen, the poll’s findings are consistent with one of the main narratives that came out of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“I think this does reinforce a lot of the resentment you saw in the 2016 election, especially among white, working-class voters lacking a college degree,” Cohen told NPR.

“I’m not sure that [Trump] necessarily created this angst among white voters,” Cohen added, “but he certainly knew how to take advantage of it.”

Featured image via Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

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