Posted on April 11, 2023

Americans Are Convinced That Race Relations Are Bad. The Data Says the Opposite

Wilfred Reilly, Newsweek, April 10, 2023

American race relations are in a bad place. {snip} Back in those halcyon days of 2012, only 30 percent of Black Americans thought contemporary racism was “a primary detriment to success.” Yet by 2021, after eight years with a popular Black President and the entirety of the Black Lives Matter movement, fully 68 percent of Black Americans called racism a primary detriment.

Black people are not alone in this unexpected perception of a worsening America. A major recent poll of Asian Americans found that just 31 percent of Asian Americans between 35-54 feel they “belong and are accepted” in the U.S., and just 27 percent of those 25-34. An astonishing 81 percent of Asian Americans between 18 and 24 years of age do not feel they belong and are accepted in America.


{snip} In 2001, the proportion of American adults describing relations between our large racial/ethnic groups as “good” was 70 percent among Blacks and 62 percent among whites; by 2021, it had fallen to just 33 percent of Blacks and 43 percent of whites. {snip}

Astoundingly, these massive increases in the perception of racism occurred while racism by any real standard steadily declined. In his comprehensive 2021 paper “The Social Construction of Racism,” the Manhattan Institute’s Eric Kaufmann makes the point that less than 10 percent of Americans currently score as bigots when tested via traditional techniques like anonymous questions about their feelings regarding inter-racial marriage. The percentages of Americans who believe “Blacks shouldn’t push themsel(ves) where they’re not wanted” or that it is acceptable to discriminate when selling a family home are similarly low.


{snip} In what is by now almost certainly one of the least racist large societies in world history, why do most citizens of all colors think that race relations are bad and most minorities feel constantly oppressed?

The answer is that our society has for some navel-gazing reason begun talking obsessively about racism. Mentions of terms such as “racists” and “racism” have increased by hundreds of percent across virtually every major news outlet since the empirically more bigoted 1970s and 1980s. In The New York Times, that Gray Lady of record, these two words surged from 0.005 percent of all words used in 1970 to 0.02 percent in 2020. In The Washington Post, mentions grew to 0.03 percent of all words appearing in print today. {snip}