Whites care about own race

What whites think about their own race is the focus of a first-of-its-kind national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota’s department of sociology. From a telephone survey of more than 2,000 households nationwide, results show that there is more recognition among white people of their own racial identity and the social privileges that come with it than was previously thought.

The assumption behind prior scholarship and diversity training initiatives was that whites overlooked their own race.

“It’s sort of like having an accent,” said the study’s co-author, University of Minnesota associate professor Doug Hartmann. “For some white Americans, racial identity is so fixed, so taken for granted, that ‘race’ becomes something other people have.”

In fact, the researchers found that a majority of whites (74 percent) felt that their own racial identity was important to them, and that a similar majority were able to see prejudice and discrimination as important in explaining white advantage. At the same time, minorities are more likely to see their racial identities as important and to see structural reasons for racial disparities.

The research also suggests that awareness of white identity and awareness of white privilege are not the same. “The fact of the matter is that people claim white identity for defensive as well as progressive reasons,” said survey co-author Paul Croll, University of Minnesota graduate student.

Age and income have little impact on a white person’s awareness of their racial identity, the study found. But Southerners and social conservatives place more emphasis on their racial identity than other white Americans, while those with more education place less. Republican and male respondents most strongly resist claims that discrimination in legal and financial systems can explain white advantage. Additionally, respondents–regardless of their racial identity–believed strongly in the importance of individual effort, hard work and family upbringing in achieving success.

From University of Minnesota

6 COMMENTS

  1. As America continues to become taken over by immigrants who refuse to assimilate with American culture (Mexicans, Indians, and Arabs especially) the idea of a White identity will only strengthen over time. The melting pot is cracking and soon whites will have to fight to retake their country.

  2. The entire premise that Whites are somehow prohibited from a racial identity is absurd. Race is as real as gender or chronological age, if one wants to pretend they are younger than they are, that’s fine, or if they are a female and they wish to dress and act like a male, that’s ok too, ditto racial mimicry, but to say it doesn’t exist is laughable. Pehaps this is why too much “education” isn’t neccessarily an indication of knowledge.

    It is lines like this-

    “The assumption…was that whites overlooked their own race.” isn’t scholarship, it’s prejudice. You know what they say about what happens when you assume.

  3. WE SHOULD ALL REALIZE THE GREAT INTELLECTUAL, ECONOMIC, MEDICAL, LITERARY AND OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS OF AFRICA……WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY?……LITERACY REQUIRES READING AND WRITING….OH. WELL MAYBE WE CAN PRETEND THAT THERE HAVE BEEN THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF CONTRIBUTIONS.

  4. Was there any attempt to compare or differentiate this from ancestral/cultural identity? For instance, I know a number of people who don’t care about being “white,” but care a great deal about being by ancestry and culture Scottish, Italian, Japanese, Irish, German, English, Chinese … whatever. Of course, the slaves got their ancestral/cultural identities obscured, and so became more generically “black” – and perhaps the Southerners who weren’t slaves identified as “white” in contrast.

    But the starting premise that people don’t see themselves as “white” because there’s no “accent” to it overlooks that “white” and “black” take their meanings mainly in a context of (ex)slavery for the African nationalities, which mainly is a Southern thing. Personally, as Northeasterner, being Dutch-English means quite a bit to me (and if you know the Dutch and the English goes a fair way towards illuminating my character, despite each crossing the sea 350 years ago); being “white” nothing at all. So the survey looks naive.

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