Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Poll: Most whites, and 2/3 of rural ones, say whites face discrimination, but few say it's hit them

Two-thirds of whites without a college degree and whites who live in rural areas think whites are discriminated against, but few of them say they have experienced such discrimination, according to a poll taken by the Pew Research Center.

"A majority of whites [55 percent] say discrimination against them exists in America today . . . and about 84 percent of whites believe discrimination exists against racial and ethnic minorities in America," Don Gonyea reports for NPR, which sponsored the poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

A much smaller percentage of white Americans say they've personally experienced racial discrimination. White construction worker Tim Musick of Maryland told Gonyea that he thinks whites are discriminated against because people assume that all white people are bigots. "I think that you pretty much, because you're white, you're automatically thrown into that group as being a bigot and a racist and that somehow you perceive yourself as being more superior to everybody else, which is ridiculous," he said. "I don't know what it feels like to be a black man walking around in the streets, but I do know what it feels like to be pegged, because of how you look, and what people perceive just on sight."

Lower- and moderate-income whites are more likely to say discrimination exists against whites, and that is significant because rural whites without college degrees are President Trump's voting base, says NPR Political Editor Domenico Montanaro. And rural Americans who feel dismayed about the changing culture of America tipped the election in Trump's favor.

University of Akron political scientist David Cohen says the findings fit into one of the biggest narratives of the latest presidential election. "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 Gonyea.

Gonyea posits: "Though it's possible that Trump's message to disaffected whites did make a difference in the decisive battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Cohen said the question remains: Did Trump create or significantly boost white resentment overall — or did he simply tap into a trend with deep roots and history?"

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