According to a new study, only about 31% of blacks said that they experienced discrimination “sometimes” or “often.” Comparatively, 27% of Hispanics, 23% of whites, and 18% of Asians were in the same category. That means that most minorities do not experience discrimination on a frequent basis.
The actual question they asked was “In your day to day life, how often do you feel you have been treated with less respect or courtesy than other people?” The answers were “never”, “rarely”, “sometimes”, or “often”. That means 69% of black “never” or “rarely” experience discrimination.
This was a scientific study that did not coach the respondents. They were free to interpret the question as they saw fit.
The authors of the study said they were “surprised” by this finding because they expected the rate of discrimination to be much higher for blacks.
Note that this study reported how each group felt they experienced discrimination. It did not identify whether there actually WAS discrimination. It was what they felt. Nor did it mention how strongly they felt discrimination. It was purely self-reported.
Let me say here that I don’t want to minimize the experience of discrimination. Anyone who has felt discrimination can tell you how small and irrelevant it made them feel. And obviously there are different intensities of discrimination. The study does not address instensity. It only mentions frequency.
Why does this surprise us? Because we are constantly receiving messages about racial discrimination, overwhelmingly against blacks. But the data does not back that up.
If each of the groups reporting discrimination actually reacted in the same way about their discrimination, then Hispanic, white, and Asian outrage would less than, but not tremendously less than, black outrage. But this is not what we see in the news.
But let me emphasize here that the discrimination reported in the survey is whatever the respondent identifies as discrimination. One of the most egregious kinds of discrimination that has been in the news during the past few years is that of white policement reportedly targeting and killing black men.Let’s ignore for now whether that is valid or not and assume that at least some (whether a majority or a minority of cases) of it are actually occurring. That’s on one end of the spectrum.
On the other end of the spectrum is a perceived discrimination about incidents that often seem ludicrous. Recently, there were blacks from Ole Miss who were “triggered” because someone threw a banana in a tree. NC State University black students were triggered when a toilet paper noose was found in a bathroom stall. And there are others. Individuals on a witch hunt for racists will see this type of behavior as indicative of widespread racism, but the vast majority of Americans just see this as silly. It is a shame that we have to treat these kinds of incidents with the same validity as significant cases of discrimination.
Racisl protests are almost exclusively about black racism and discrimination. It is as if no other group of Americans experience discrimination. If we were all reacting to discrimination in the same way, we would find Hispanics protesting slightly less than blacks, white protesting slightly less than Hispanics, and Asians protesting slightly less than whites. But it’s not like that.
Again, I know some will read this and think that I don’t think discrimination is taking place. No. I know discrimination occurs, that it is sometimes horrific, and I believe that blacks probably experience more discrimination than other groups. But I think there’s an assumption that blacks are triggered much, much more easily than other groups. And I think there’s an assumption that no other groups should feel discriminated against.
I understand the fact that lynchings of blacks were a terrible part of our past, but they have almost completely disappeared. I doubt that there are many black Americans alive who actually witnessed a lynching. That doesn’t make it inoffensive, but I wonder about the concern for “triggering” when most black Americans never saw it occur.
There are other groups who could just as easily feel triggered:
- Shouldn’t Christians who have witnessed their brethren around the world being slaughtered on camera by Islamists with large knives be triggered by hooded men, large kitchen knives, and Muslim symbols?
- Shouldn’t Korean- and Vietname-era veterans who were POWs be offended by anything that reminded them of the tortures they experienced in their own lifetimes at the hands of Communists? Should anyone be allowed to speak of Communism in a good way based on how these men suffered terribly?
- Shouldn’t women (and men) who were trapped by forced sex slavery be triggered by scenes of prostitution on television and the movies?
- Should anyone be allowed to show entertainment that involves illegal drugs based on the number of people whose lives have been actually ruined by the same?
It’s time for us to move beyond hyping and trivializing the discrimination experienced by one group and focus on how to remove discrimination by all. And it’s time for the Perpetually Offended to begin focusing on what others have experienced.