T Nation

What Price for White Skin?

Seeing as there is such a lively debate going on in here about race,colour,creed,affirmative action and so forth,I thought this would be well worth the read for some of our more ‘racially non apologetic’ fair skinned members.

Unequal Perspectives on Racial Equality

By Shankar Vedantam

Imagine that you are waiting in line to be born . . . Presently, you are scheduled to be born white. However, you are offered an alternative arrangement. In exchange for a cash gift, to be deposited in a bank account for you when you are born, you can choose to instead be born black.

Social psychologists Philip Mazzocco and Mahzarin Banaji once asked white volunteers how much money would cover the �??costs�?? of being born black instead of white. The volunteers guessed that about $5,000 ought to cover the lifetime disadvantages of being an average black person rather than an average white person, in the United States. By contrast, when asked how much they wanted to go without television, the volunteers demanded a million dollars.

Mazzocco and Banaji were taken aback: The average black person in America is 447 percent more likely to be imprisoned than the average white person, and 521 percent more likely to be murdered. Blacks earn 60 cents to the dollar compared with whites who have the same education levels and marital status. The black poverty rate is nearly twice the white poverty rate. Blacks tend to die five years earlier than whites; the infant mortality rate among black babies is nearly 1 1/2 times the rate among white babies. And because of long-standing patterns of inheritance, blacks and whites begin life with substantial disparities in family wealth.

�??The point we were making is, whatever the cost of being black might be, whites are vastly underestimating it,�?? said Mazzocco, of Ohio State University at Mansfield. �??You throw in the 5-to-1 wealth gap . . . if you wanted to put a dollar-and-cents value on the difference, you would come up with a number much larger than $5,000.�??

The unusual experiment is one of dozens that have found that whites tend to have a relatively rosy impression of what it means to be a black person in America. Whites are more than twice as likely as blacks to believe that the position of African Americans has improved a great deal. Blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to believe that conditions for African Americans are growing worse.

This long-standing war of perceptions created the perfect storm last week after sermons by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright �?? former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) �?? painted a picture of stark inequality at odds with white perceptions.

Mazzocco and Banaji, who teaches at Harvard, found that when volunteers learned about the disparities, they started to demand much larger sums of money.

�??Many whites assume blacks are making use of old crimes to gain present-day benefits that are unearned,�?? Mazzocco said. �??Underlying this is a misunderstanding and ignorance about black costs and white privilege.�??

But knowledge about disparities is not the only reason whites and blacks have different perceptions about racial equality. Social psychologist Richard Eibach at Yale University has shown that whites and blacks often employ different yardsticks to measure racial equality. Whites tend to measure progress by comparing the present and the past �?? and America has made giant strides since the Jim Crow era. Nonwhites, Eibach found, are likely to evaluate racial equality in comparison with an idealized future. These yardsticks create entirely different perceptions.

When Eibach asked each group to use the other�??s yardstick �?? whites to focus on the future and nonwhites to think about the past �?? the differences disappeared. Now, everyone agreed the country had come a long way �?? and had a long way to go.

In a speech last week, Obama similarly argued that his former pastor had failed to acknowledge how America had changed for the better. But Wright�??s critics, Obama added, were also wrong �?? because true equality is still remote.

The intriguing question prompted by Eibach�??s study is why whites and blacks are unconsciously drawn to different yardsticks. Eibach said one reason might be that racial equality means different things to whites and blacks: Whites see it as an ideal, blacks as a necessity. When people evaluate progress toward idealistic or optional goals �?? saving for a vacation �?? they tend to focus on progress made. But when people think of necessities �?? paying the rent �?? they focus on how much they are short.

In another set of experiments, social psychologist Amanda Brodish at the University of Michigan�??s Institute for Social Research showed that prejudice may play a role, too. Whites with high levels of prejudice �?? who think blacks are not as smart as whites, who think blacks and whites are inherently unequal, and who reported being uncomfortable with a black roommate �?? invariably evaluated racial equality only in comparison with the past.

By contrast, said Brodish�??s co-author, Patricia Devine of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, low-prejudice whites were equally willing to apply the yardsticks of both past and future.

While comparisons with a dreadful past and an ideal future produce glass-is-half-empty-vs.-half-full perceptions, the choices are not equivalent. Each perception is accurate, but Eibach said that progress toward true equality required whites to focus on where the country ought to be instead of becoming complacent about how far the country had come.

�??There is a disconnect between whites and blacks about what it feels like to be a victim of mundane discrimination,�?? Eibach concluded. �??There is a tendency to say, �??These mundane things are nothing like the past,�?? but the lived reality of bearing that weight �?? the frustrations and indignities �?? that is a major source of the disconnect.�??

Let the games begin.

You trying to play some silly game or something ? WTF is this ?

I would actually be interested in how some would respond to this.

Therefore, I am specifically calling out Boston, Thunderbolt and Zap.

I will also add that I doubt there are too many blacks who would claim we are worse off in 2008 than we were in 1968.

I’m not really sure what to make out of this article, I’ve noticed personally there are less black people in the middle grounds then other races, it seems they are either upper middle class or better off, or much worse off financially. I’m curious about:

Blacks earn 60 cents to the dollar compared with whites who have the same education levels and marital status.

How the fuck did this happen? you can’t dock someone 40% of their pay for being black. My bullshit detector is going off.

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
I’m not really sure what to make out of this article, I’ve noticed personally there are less black people in the middle grounds then other races, it seems they are either upper middle class or better off, or much worse off financially. I’m curious about:

Blacks earn 60 cents to the dollar compared with whites who have the same education levels and marital status.

How the fuck did this happen? you can’t dock someone 40% of their pay for being black. My bullshit detector is going off.[/quote]

I think that one can be explained by the research done under the Clinton Admin that was used to further justify Affirmative Action. I’ve posted the research before but would have to search for it now to show it here. In those studies, it was found that blacks, hispanics and women were paid less than white males.

http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/EOP/OP/html/aa/aa-index.html

I believe this is it.

Actually, THIS is it:
http://www.policyalmanac.org/culture/archive/affirmative_action_empirical.shtml

Mazzocco and Banaji were taken aback: The average black person in America is 447 percent more likely to be imprisoned than the average white person, and 521 percent more likely to be murdered. Blacks earn 60 cents to the dollar compared with whites who have the same education levels and marital status. The black poverty rate is nearly twice the white poverty rate. Blacks tend to die five years earlier than whites; the infant mortality rate among black babies is nearly 1 1/2 times the rate among white babies. And because of long-standing patterns of inheritance, blacks and whites begin life with substantial disparities in family wealth.

The income thing does not fit at all. I think the number I just saw in the other thread was blacks of a similar educational earn 7% less.

I think the fact that white people would be black for $ 5000 (assuming this is an honest answer) shows that they are not racist and it shows that they think they can overcome the hurdles that are inherent with being black in America and not go to jail or be murdered.

Having black skin is not a death sentence or even an automatic prison sentence.

http://stlouisfed.org/publications/re/2006/a/pages/ethnic_names.html

Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that median weekly earnings for full-time workers in 2004 were 28.6 percent higher for white men than for African-American men and 15.6 percent higher for white women than for African-American women. Differences in education, experience, occupation and industry may explain parts of these gaps.1 Several years ago, economists Joseph Altonji and Rebecca Blank showed that after accounting for these worker characteristics, the gap in hourly wages between blacks and whites who worked full-time for all of 1995 was still 7 percent.

Here is the 7% figure.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:

The income thing does not fit at all. I think the number I just saw in the other thread was blacks of a similar educational earn 7% less. [/quote]

Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the median black male worker earned only about 60 percent as much as the median white male worker; (10) by 1993, the median black male earned 74 percent as much as the median white male. (11) The male-female wage gap has also narrowed since the 1960s: median female earnings relative to median male earnings rose from about 60 percent during the 1960s to 72 percent in 1993. (12)

From that previous site. I have no clue how the numbers play out right now, but from what I’ve seen, until recently there was a huge discrepancy that most people turned a blind eye towards.

Discussing incarceration rates and omitting illegitimacy rates from the discussion is nonsensical.

Honestly, how many people, black or white, would change the color of their skin for other than cosmetic reasons?

I wouldn’t for all the tea in China.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Honestly, how many people, black or white, would change the color of their skin for other than cosmetic reasons?

I wouldn’t for all the tea in China.[/quote]

I am sure that in the early-mid 1900’s, quite a few blacks would have accepted being seen as a white person. I am also sure even more whites would see being black as a near death sentence.

447% more likely to go to prison? Whose fault is that?

I’m not saying blacks don’t have hurdles, but seriously, if you commit a crime, you deserve to go to jail.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Honestly, how many people, black or white, would change the color of their skin for other than cosmetic reasons?

I wouldn’t for all the tea in China.

I am sure that in the early-mid 1900’s, quite a few blacks would have accepted being seen as a white person. I am also sure even more whites would see being black as a near death sentence.[/quote]

Not the people in the survey.

I wonder what effect fatherlessness has on the income gap and incarceration rates. Isn’t that what Bill Cosby has been addressing? Didn’t Obama make some mention of that in his speech?

All of my friends with absent fathers have had run-ins with the law and done poorly in school.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Honestly, how many people, black or white, would change the color of their skin for other than cosmetic reasons?

I wouldn’t for all the tea in China.

I am sure that in the early-mid 1900’s, quite a few blacks would have accepted being seen as a white person. I am also sure even more whites would see being black as a near death sentence.[/quote]

Probably true, but we’re not in the 1900’s anymore. Nowadays, I wouldnt change my skin color for any amount of money.

People get paid for how much they produce. Wow, how unfair!!

Maybe when Hillary steals the nomination from Barack and black people see how the Dems have used them as pawns for the last 50 years, they might actually wake up to the fact that they were being tricked. They allowed themselves to become a dependent class, then ‘Boo Hoo! We’re not rich and successful!!’ How fucking pathetic!

When they adopt middle class values (dress like a civilised being and not ‘gangsta’, value education, not name their children ‘Sequoia’ or some other dumb shit like that) maybe they’ll get somewhere.

Racism is stupid but it doesn’t go away by whining and bitching, by listening to scum like Pastor Wright and his buddies Farrakhan and Obama, or with another governmental program.

Racism goes away when confronted with INTELLIGENCE!!!

[quote]LankyMofo wrote:
Professor X wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Honestly, how many people, black or white, would change the color of their skin for other than cosmetic reasons?

I wouldn’t for all the tea in China.

I am sure that in the early-mid 1900’s, quite a few blacks would have accepted being seen as a white person. I am also sure even more whites would see being black as a near death sentence.

Probably true, but we’re not in the 1900’s anymore. Nowadays, I wouldnt change my skin color for any amount of money.[/quote]

Neither would I, but look at how much flack any initiative for black pride has gotten even though it was clearly necessary?

Do you remember those old studies done in the 80’s where kids were given a black and white doll and asked which one was bad and which one was beautiful? I doubt you would get the same responses today and that is very much because of the focus on Black History Month or any initiative that promotes a positive black image.

The fact that we actually have people like Mick22 making statements that this should have never been shows the need for it in the first place.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Professor X wrote:
LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Honestly, how many people, black or white, would change the color of their skin for other than cosmetic reasons?

I wouldn’t for all the tea in China.

I am sure that in the early-mid 1900’s, quite a few blacks would have accepted being seen as a white person. I am also sure even more whites would see being black as a near death sentence.

Not the people in the survey.[/quote]

That wasn’t what I was responding to. I am trying to get people to think about time as a progression…therefore, while certain feelings may be much less in this day and age, it helps to understand why they exist in the first place.