“Most Americans, white and black, see racism as a lingering problem in the United States, and many say they know people who are racist.
But few Americans of either race — about one out of eight — consider themselves racist.
In a poll taken by CNN this past year, almost half of black respondents — 49 percent — said racism is a “very serious” problem, while 18 percent of whites shared that view. Forty-eight percent of whites and 35 percent of blacks chose the description “somewhat serious.” Asked if they know someone they consider racist, 43 percent of whites and 48 percent of blacks said yes.
But just 13 percent of whites and 12 percent of blacks consider themselves racially biased.
University of Connecticut professor Jack Dovidio, who has researched racism for more than 30 years, estimates up to 80 percent of white Americans have racist feelings they may not even recognize. “We’ve reached a point that racism is like a virus that has mutated into a new form that we don’t recognize,” Dovidio said.
He added that 21st-century racism is different from that of the past.
“Contemporary racism is not conscious, and it is not accompanied by dislike, so it gets expressed in indirect, subtle ways,” he said.
That “stealth” discrimination reveals itself in many different situations.
A three-year undercover investigation by the National Fair Housing Alliance found that real estate agents steered whites away from integrated neighborhoods and steered blacks toward predominantly black neighborhoods.
“Racism here is quite subtle,” e-mailed CNN.com reader Blair William, originally from Trinidad, who now lives in Lexington, South Carolina. “I think that the issue is twofold. I believe that white America’s perception of blacks is still generally negative based on their limited interaction with blacks, whether this is via the media or in person. …”1
Here is a great set of questions to use to discover if you are racist:
Racism/Bridge Builder Test
- Is there a particular group of people/ethnicity/race that you simply can’t stand?
- Is there any particular group of people/ethnicity/race your child cannot marry? Or You?
- What types of people cause you to cross the street if you are walking alone?
- When you think about images that portray beauty and sophistication, what culture/color is it imaged after?
- What, if anything, happens inside you when you see interracial couples? Which types or combinations of couples?
- When is the last time you visited the home/apartment of someone from a different culture/race or when was the last time you invited them to your home/apartment.
- What is your attitude towards people/groups that prefer music that is different than your preference? (e.g. Classical, classic rock, hard rock, Pop, Jazz, Hip-Hop, R and B (rhythm and blues), gospel, heavy metal, etc.
- Have you ever asked someone of another group to answer a question as a spokesperson for their entire race/culture?
- What type of person would you most trust to invest or steward your money? What type of person would you least trust to invest or steward your money?
- When you meet people from another race/culture who do not fit your stereotype (i.e. nicer, smarter, dumber, aggressive, passive, articulate) that you expected, are you surprised?
- When a driver of another car is driving too fast, too slow, or makes a mistake – and they are of a different ethnicity/race – do you say to yourself: “Figures.”
“Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.” Ephesians 2:16-18 The Message.
1 “Most Polls See Lingering Racism in Others.” CNN.com, December 12, 2015.
Racism Builder Test courtesy of Peter Scazzero, EmotionallyHealthySpirituality.org Used by permission.
This brief inventory was used in the beginning of a sermon preached by Pastor Scazzero on Ephesians 2:11-22.