General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Are blacks any less prejudiced against whites than whites are against blacks in the United States?

Asked by ibstubro (18636points) August 25th, 2014

It seems to me that it is taboo for white people to talk poorly about blacks as group, whereas blacks are free to demonize whites.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

64 Answers

janbb's avatar

Who has oppressed whom consistently in this society?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Attorney General “elect” Eric Holder called the citizens of the US (this means YOU) cowards when it comes to speaking about issues of race during the first Obama inauguration. I nearly dropped the plate I was washing…

Ohh, I’m not a coward Poptart.

You just don’t want to hear what I would say.

zenvelo's avatar

You start with a basic premise that is false; that we, regardless of skin color, start from the same point and learn the behavior. That premise ignores the structure of race relations in teh US.

To use a strong version of the problem, it’s a matter of equating the oppressor and the oppressed. White privilege is inherent in this country, and “black prejudice” may be a generalization that casts some individual white people in a bad light, but in many ways, black assumptions about white people are a self defense mechanism.

A huge example is the response to open-carry demonstrations in this country. White rednecks open carry as a demonstration of their Second Amendment rights. Black people know if they were to carry an unloaded weapon into a Target or a Wal-Mart, they’d most likely be shot and killed by police.

shadowboxer's avatar

It’s been my experience that blacks are only prejudice when their family members or communities foster hatred among whites or when they themselves have been a victim of injustice.

Most blacks that I know have the insight that there are good and bad in everyone. Blacks that have gone to college or have good jobs will find it hard to hate an entire race whom in some cases have been one of their favorite teachers, coaches or in some instances mentors.

CWOTUS's avatar

I forget which black comedian it was (Chris Rock?) who noted that when he’s walking at night and sees a group of young black men coming his way… he crosses the road.

And then, in case the point of his humor was missed, he explicitly reminded the audience that everyone is prejudiced against young black men in the USA. Maybe that’s an over-broad statement, but it’s probably not far off the mark. (I’d probably cross the road if I saw a group of young white men coming my way, too.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@shadowboxer Whites are prejudice for the same reasons. It’s learned behavior.

@janbb Your comment “Who has oppressed whom consistently in this society?” seems to suggest that that is proof that whites are more prejudice than blacks. Was I reading that right?

Coloma's avatar

I think it is dependent on the individual more so than anything else in these times.
Programming is huge and anyone that grows up with racist family members, parents, on either side of the color fence is bound to have more deep seated issues and stereotyped thoughts than someone who has grown up in a climate of acceptance.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Wow, @ibstubro , it’s amazing how many overblown stereotype statements you can make in one short question!!!

There ae trends, but to suggest that all blacks think one way or another is insulting to a whole lot of people of many different races.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think he did that, @elbanditoroso. I just read it as a general observation.

kritiper's avatar

In my opinion, no. Maybe more so, in the predisposed way. I always get the notion that, to some at least, only whites can prejudice.

rojo's avatar

Like everyone else, I have my prejudices and preferences. I think everyone is more comfortable with those who are like them or from a lifestyle that they can relate to. Sex and skin color are just the most observable traits. I also think that it has a lot more to do with economic factors than many allow for.

I would like to see the studies @gorillapaws provided repeated today to see if there is any differences. My guess would be that there was a demonstrable difference.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Watch this Jamie Foxx bit. White People
(By the way, I think his portrayal of Ray Charles was brilliant. He really was Ray!)

I’m not sure a white comedian could get away with similar jokes about blacks.

Nope. I lied. I’m sure a white comedian could not. Imagine Seinfeld making fun of the black strut. He’d be crucified.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Seinfeld couldn’t get away with it, but Robin Williams could!

Blondesjon's avatar

Racism isn’t a black or white thing. It’s an asshole thing.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy Yes, but that’s true of all groups. Jews can make fun of Jews but not other people.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@janbb Sure self-deprecation is quite common and totally acceptable. But….
Even though we white folk would like to claim him, Jamie Foxx is black and was making fun of whites – their walk, their talk, the way they dance, the way they behave, etc.
Now take his bit and flip it around and make it a white guy joking about blacks – their walk, their talk, the way they dance, the way they behave, etc. It would be the end of his career.

@Dutchess_III Robin Williams could get away with it because in 2 minutes he would be black, white, Scot, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Baptist, Chinese, German, French, Bantu and who knows what else… He sure was talented.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy Ah! I didn’t watch the clip and assumed he was making fun of blacks.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I Agree with @blondesjon. Some hold onto the slavery issue though.

hominid's avatar

@KNOWITALL: “Some hold onto the slavery issue though.”

I know! C’mon, slavery was 400 years ago.

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL @hominid Seriously, I agree with that.
Jeez, I didn’t personally, force anyone to pick cotton or sell anyone down river. lol

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Dutchess_III's avatar

Sometimes it just floors me about how recent slavery, and insane discrimination and segregation is. It embarrasses me.

fluthernutter's avatar

There’s a difference between racism and prejudice.

Can a black person be prejudiced against a white person? Yes.

Can a black person be racist against a white person. Not really.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@COLOMA Exactly, it’s not like I’m pro-slavery because I’m white, geesh. @hominid What do you want ME to do about it?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@zenvelo Hit the nail on the head. I love when white folks act like white privilege doesn’t exist in this society.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@fluthernutter? why couldn’t a black person be racist against a white person? Caucasian is a race, you know.

zenzen's avatar

I don’t judge people based on colour, creed or religion; I judge them based on grammar and sentence structure.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I can get away with it because I can say whatever I damn well please.

Despite the PC set’s best efforts.

ibstubro's avatar

What would be equally thought provoking and hilarious?

If Jamie Fox would do the “White People” bit with an interpreter for the “Color Challenged”. A talented young white mime that would ‘translate’ the physical bits.

I hope that makes sense, I can’t get the clip to open.

ibstubro's avatar

I gave @zenvelo a GA, because it was a thoughtful, intelligent response.

I believe that a former [black] St. Louis chief of police made the argument that ‘in many ways, white assumptions about [young, male] black people are a self defense mechanism.’ during a discussion of the turmoil in Ferguson Missouri.

eno's avatar

I just read a new study on this more than a couple of months ago. It found that blacks are actually much more prejudice than whites. link

ibstubro's avatar

Damn, @eno, I thought that you’d come to my rescue, but it doesn’t take a lot to see that The Washington Examiner makes Fox look liberal.

eno's avatar

Washington Examiner did not conduct this study. They’re just reporting on it.

This is an independent peer-reviewed study in Sage Journals. Direct Link To The Study

Patton's avatar

@ibstubro I think @gorillapaws has already answered your question. Blacks are not unprejudiced against whites, but they are less prejudiced against whites than whites are to blacks because there are ways in which they are prejudiced in favor of whites that whites are not prejudiced in favor of blacks. This is backed up by the routine @CWOTUS cites (though I thought that was a Jesse Jackson gaffe, but what do I know).

@Dutchess_III I think your question to @fluthernutter is just a semantic problem. Some people use racism to mean “prejudice based on race.” Other people use it to mean “prejudice based on race and backed up by institutional power.” When someone means the latter, then only the empowered and privileged race or races can be racist. That would be whites in the US and Europe, but it might not be them in other places (though a lot of cultures still look favorably on whites). But blacks can obviously be racist in the first way.

@eno That study doesn’t say blacks are more prejudiced than whites. It reports on a particular prejudice that some blacks have against other blacks. Good try, though.

fluthernutter's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes, Caucasian is a race. And they can be victims of racial prejudice. But racial prejudice is not the same thing as racism.
(Unless you think Mr. Webster is an expert on contemporary issues of race.)

Prejudice + power = racism

eno's avatar


The study says whites are the reason why blacks are prejudice against blacks which means blacks are more prejudice than whites. Nice try, though.

ibstubro's avatar

I think, @Patton, your premise that “Blacks are not unprejudiced against whites, but they are less prejudiced against whites than whites are to blacks because there are ways in which they are prejudiced in favor of whites that whites are not prejudiced in favor of blacks.” had great merit. I totally agree, as a whole.

Although I think there is a lot of white envy of black sport ability.

Patton's avatar

@eno I know what the study says. I can read, and apparently better than you can. It’s about in-group empathy, and you don’t even have to read the whole study to see why you’re wrong. The abstract itself says “these findings were limited to the in-group target.” The in-group is blacks. So in laymen’s terms, this means the study only tells us about a prejudice blacks have against other blacks. The abstract also says “neither social network composition nor perceived racial identity predicted empathy for the out-group target.” The out-group is whites. So in laymen’s terms, this means the study does not tell us anything about how blacks who showed decreased in-group empathy felt about whites. It only tells us how they felt about blacks who associated with whites. Even if we assume that the cause is prejudice against whites, though, that still doesn’t prove that blacks are more prejudiced than whites. It just shows a prejudice that some blacks have. Those aren’t the same. So you lose again.

@ibstubro Yeah, probably. Racial politics in the US have become very entangled because you now have a social situation where whites are still on top in a lot of places, but blacks have a special prestige in a few important areas. So a small number of blacks have a strange partial privilege, but this causes the most racist whites to lash out even more strongly against them. And it’s harder to fight back because those blacks are not as clearly unprivileged as others, which makes people less convinced that racism is at play. It’s really a fucking mess, and you guys will have to go through a lot of uncomfortable conversations (like this one) until it gets cleared up. But at least people in the US don’t sweep it under the rug as much as some other Western countries do. You guys might actually make it through the problem, ugly as it will be while you’re in the midst of it.

rojo's avatar

@eno does that study not show that blacks are prejudice against other blacks who have white friends or did I read it incorrectly?

eno's avatar

Bragging about how well you read is no indication of how well you can comprehend.

The study actually does tell you how blacks felt about whites by showing inadvertently the negative feeling that arose when other blacks associated with whites. Whites were the monkey wrench. Common sense dictates that whatever the specific reason was, it was a negative reason, regardless. Hence, prejudice.

So not only does it make it clear that blacks are prejudice against white, the propensity of prejudice within a black in-group is much larger than that of whites, hence they’re more prejudice towards whites. You lose, again.

eno's avatar


Correct. They study, by showing you how prejudice blacks are towards their own when they’re associated with whites, shows you (inadvertently) how prejudice blacks are against whites.

rojo's avatar


Can you find another study that shows that whites are more prejudice toward other whites if they have black friends?

rojo's avatar

Are the terms racism and hatred interchangeable?

eno's avatar

I can try and find one. The only reason I ran into this study was from the Washington Examiner’s article.

According to the definition racism, yes, it can be interchange with hatred.

Patton's avatar

@eno I have a PhD in psychology and have worked as a research psychologist. I understand the terminology, and I know how to check a study for sources of error. It is that expertise that tells me I am comprehending the study better than you are, especially since you are misrepresenting what the authors explicitly say their findings are.

The study does not tell you how blacks feel about whites because no control group was used to see if the same phenomenon was found when blacks were friends with other non-blacks who were not white. This is why the authors say that all they were testing is in-group empathy. There’s also no test of whether whites undergo the same loss of empathy when other whites have non-white friends, so you have no basis for saying that this study shows blacks to be more racist than whites. Not even the news article you linked makes the stupid claim you are trying to make.

So I’m not even going to say “try again” or “you lose again” (though you do). I’m just going to say you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about.

eno's avatar

Having a Ph.D doesn’t absolve you of mistakes or bias, it doesn’t protect you from being criticized, and it certainly doesn’t invalidate my understanding of the study.

A lack of a specific reason does not negate the general theme that the study shows which is a negative feeling by blacks towards other blacks who associate with whites. I told you, it doesn’t matter if there was no control group because no matter what the study would find, it would be a negative feeling, regardless, hence prejudice. The study concludes clearly that the main theme is blacks are prejudice towards whites which is shown inadvertently through black prejudice towards blacks when associated with whites.

eno's avatar

Also, the fact that it says blacks were prejudice towards other blacks proves they’re not being ethnocentric which means it is based on hate, not preference/love for their own in-group.

rojo's avatar

@eno Can you in fact be prejudiced against your own ethnic group? If so, is it racism or what exactly?

fluthernutter's avatar

I’m feeling lazy today, so I’m pulling up a quote instead. Plus he’s way more eloquent.

The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. -Scott Woods

eno's avatar


That is exactly what the study shows (blacks being prejudice towards blacks because of white association). That is prejudice within its own ethnic group.

rojo's avatar

@fluthernutter here is the problem that I have with your quote.

I too, a white American male, feel that the “complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of” the political elite. It is not a racial thing, these folks just want to stay in power and maintain the status quo. Unfortunately, I am not a member of the status quo. Privilege, yes, they have that and I don’t. Access Yep, they got the cash, I don’t. Ignorance sure they try to keep us “educated enough to work in their factories but ignorant of the true economic divide. Apathy Damn straight, keep ‘em happy with bread and circuses and the masses won’t rise up against them and if we can tax ‘em enough to pay for these circuses, even better.

The more I think about it the more I am convinced it is not racism, it is economic slavery.

rojo's avatar

Ok, here I have a problem @eno. How can you be prejudice against your own race, no matter what the color? The study does not, in my opinion, show that blacks are prejudiced against whites, but against blacks who associate with whites. There is a difference. Can you say this is a racial bias? I do not think that is so. What is the terminology that we can use against a group that hates their own grouping?

Patton's avatar

@eno Wow, you really are incompetent. I mentioned my PhD in response to your comment that “Bragging about how well you read is no indication of how well you can comprehend.” My degree is an indication of how well I comprehend, especially when we’re talking about studies like this. So of course it doesn’t absolve me of all errors or free from criticism, but it does indicate that I can comprehend studies like this well. As for your comprehension of the study, I doubt you’ve read it. It seems like you’ve only read the news article you linked and the abstract available for free.

And yes, the lack of a control group is extremely important if we want to know whether the phenomenon is caused by whites or merely non-blacks. You claim it has to do specifically with whites, but there is no evidence that this is true. That’s why the authors say that there is no evidence of this: because they didn’t design the study in a way that could warrant that claim. Luckily, the authors are much more careful than you.

The cause (or “specific reason” in your terms) also matters because even if it has to be something negative, it doesn’t have to be something negative about the non-black associates. It could just be a matter of disliking people who do not show solidarity under conditions of oppression. If so, then the negative feeling would be entirely about other blacks. Now, I’m not saying this is the explanation. But the study provides no evidence either way, so we can’t responsibly draw a conclusion.

I notice, though, that you are changing your claim. You originally said that the study proved blacks were more prejudiced than whites. Now you’re just saying it shows that blacks are sometimes prejudiced. But I already said that blacks can be prejudiced. I think everyone so far agrees on that. It’s not the issue we’re discussing, though, so “proving” that doesn’t matter at all. Everyone agrees that blacks can be prejudiced and sometimes are. Everyone believes that blacks can be prejudiced against whites and sometimes are. You claimed to be proving that blacks are more prejudiced than whites, but you haven’t given us any evidence for that. At best, you’ve shown that sometimes blacks are prejudiced and that it might be caused by prejudice against whites.

Patton's avatar

@rojo I don’t know how much good it will do, but this article might help you understand how @fluthernutter‘s claim is consistent with your worries about class privilege. The short bit is this: you can be privileged in some ways without being privileged in all ways. So you’re focusing on class, which is legitimate, but using it to ignore race, which is also important.

eno's avatar


You wrote, And yes, the lack of a control group is extremely important if we want to know whether the phenomenon is caused by whites or merely non-blacks.

This comment tells me that you agree that the negative feeling from blacks arose from out-groups, but you want to know whether it is specifically whites or all non-blacks. In either case, logic dictates that no matter the findings, if it were whites exclusively, or all non-blacks, the study still clearly shows that blacks would still be more prejudice towards 1 or all out-groups. Thanks for agreeing and proving me right.

You wrote, The cause (or “specific reason” in your terms) also matters because even if it has to be something negative, it doesn’t have to be something negative about the non-black associates. It could just be a matter of disliking people who do not show solidarity under conditions of oppression.

Haha, look at what you just wrote. You just said that one of the possibilities of why blacks would be prejudice towards blacks is because of a lack of solidarity towards oppression. Since we’re You made this clear by stating a lack of solidarity within the in-group. This means you’re acknowledging that blacks are prejudice towards blacks because they don’t follow the same false notion that they’re being oppressed by white people. This inadvertently means they hate white oppression. How is the false notion of white oppression a positive feeling from blacks? Exactly, it isn’t. Again, thanks for agreeing with me and proving my point.

Blacks are more prejudice towards whites because the study says blacks frown more towards their own than whites do. I maintain this position.

Pretty ironic at this point to call me incompetent when you’re showing all the signs of it.

rojo's avatar

@Patton Thank you for the article, and the subsequent article by Peggy McIntosh.

One line stood out to me from that article and that was: “It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.”

This line enlightened me to what you were saying: That I can be seeing, and also correct, in my assertion that class and privilege is not necessarily racially motivated, but that does not negate the fact that racial bias does exist.

Thank you for the articles.

eno's avatar

When blacks move into a white neighborhood, it’s diversity. When whites move into blacks areas, its gentrification.

What do you call this?

rojo's avatar

@eno Who says this? Who came up with this terminology? Who actually uses these phrases? Do you think that the people living in the neighborhood actually say “Ooh Look!, we are being diversified”? or “Ooh Look!, we are being gentrified”?.

eno's avatar

Don’t dodge my question. Answer it. What do you call it?


There are a million examples, but here is the first article that popped up link

Alternatevily, link

rojo's avatar

Actually, for Gentrification there are: “About 1,290,000 results (0.19 seconds)” and for Diversification there are “About 7,130,000 results (0.22 seconds)”.

Nah, just funnin’ wit ya @eno.

I gotta go to bed. It is way past my curfew but I promise to look into it in the morning. (Late morning to be sure) and get back with an answer,

flutherother's avatar

I am prejudiced against blacks because they are prejudiced against me because I am prejudiced against them. Yes, I am in therapy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have never used the word “gentrified.”

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