I’m just a squirrel tryin’ ta get a nut.
A recent study indicates that white folks see race relations as a zero sum game, i.e., if black people get an inch, white people lose an inch.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Both white Americans and black Americans perceive significant progress in the fight against anti-black bias, but white Americans believe the progress has come at their expense, a new survey finds.
The researchers contacted a random national sample of 209 whites and 208 blacks, and asked them how much discrimination each group faced, on a scale of one to ten, for each decade since the 1950s.
Black Americans saw anti-black bias as declining steadily, from 9.7 in the ’50s to 6.1 in the ’00s. Over the same period, they perceived a small increase in anti-white bias, from 1.4 to 1.8.
White Americans saw an even steeper decline in anti-black bias: from 9.1, in the ’50s, to 3.6, in the ’00s. But more striking, according to the researchers, was the sharp increase in perceived anti-white bias: Among whites, it shot up from 1.8 to 4.7.
White Americans, in short, thought that anti-white bias was a greater societal problem by the ’00s than anti-black bias.
The researchers described the pattern—which did not vary markedly with regard to age or education levels—as evidence that white Americans see race relations as a zero-sum game, in which one group’s gains must be offset by another’s loss.
Like, really really?
A friend (and one-time ABLC contributor) had this to say about zero-sum game thinking with respect to feminism:
My privilege, which comes from labeling me as “advantaged,” means that I am not normal. I suppose there is an underlying idea that there is no such thing as “normal,” but if that is the case, then what is left? Advantaged or disadvantaged? I’m not sure that’s a message most feminists want to convey. It hearkens back to that same zero-sum thinking that says there can only be a win or lose situation, and if I win, then you lose; if I am advantaged, then you must be disadvantaged, and if somehow you were to gain advantage, then that would take away from my advantage. For example, if we allow same-sex marriages, that will some how take away from the marriage of heterosexual people; we can’t all have the same things, at the same level.
Well, if that’s the case, then what the hell am I fighting for?
Exactly. What the hell are we fighting for? Sometimes, I’m not sure anymore.
Over the past two years, I’ve thought about race and racism and racial relations seventy-eleven percent more than I did during the Bush administration. Maybe it’s because I checked out for a few years when Bush was elected. I thought to myself, “just hang on ’til 2004.” And then when Bush was re-elected, I thought “just hang until 2008.” (Certainly I never imagined that 2008 would usher in the Era of Obama, or the simultaneous joy and ass-itch that the Era has brought.) We’re always just “hanging on” until the next thing. Where’s the promise of stability and normalcy?
It seems that this country is split between crazy people (with whom I cannot even have a rational conversation because what they believe to be fact is propaganda), and slightly less crazy people who are viciously fighting amongst themselves over any number of issues. If you are, like I am, an active member of the Twitterati and the Online Political Clusterfuck, you know precisely what I’m talking about. (Hell, if you’re reading this right now, you know what I’m talking about.)
Half the country is beholden to a party that has pledged to one fucking guy — this Grover Norquist character — never to raise taxes. NEVER. EVER.
HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?
Currently, the idiots in Congress are playing Russian roulette with the global economy, meanwhile the mouth-breathers at Fox News are slagging Common for being “a vile rapper.”
HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?
Half of the country gets their news from Fox “News” or “their neighbor who gets it from the computer.” Up until a couple weeks ago, the most pressing issue of our time was the birthplace and legitimacy of our President.
Was he born in Hawaii?
Is Hawaii a state?
Was his father an anti-colonialist?
Is he the Manchurian candidate?
Is he or is he not Kenyan, and if he’s not, exactly how Kenyan is he?
What the hell is going on ? What the hell are we fighting for? Is it to get through the next 4, 8, or 10 years until people figure out that they will most likely never be rich and famous so they should quit voting against their interests? Is it to upturn the Monopoly board and call a mulligan? Is it to rise up against our plutocratic overlords? Is it to grow Bieber-hair and move to Canada? Is it to score a point in the “How Do We Solve a Problem Like The War on Terra” debate which moves inexorably towards an all-out grudge match despite the biting irony that it’s a war that none of us thinks is real in the first goddamn place?
What are we doing? What are we fighting for?
I don’t know. It’s the end of a long day, and I’m tired.
Maybe I’ll just make a sandwich and watch Archer.1
1And by “make a sandwich and watch Archer,” I mean “make a sandwich, turn on Archer, and then pause it to get embroiled in some Twitter shenanigans.” I’m nothing if not predictable.
[image via the parody (I think, but I’m tired) Facebook Group Angry, Bitter, Frustrated, and Repressed White Men]
[cross-posted in my Glass House]