A recent poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed that a majority of white Americans believe white people face racial discrimination, though most of them have never experienced it. When asked whether they agree with the statement "discrimination against white people exists in the U.S. today," 55% of white people said yes.
Tim Hershman, a 68-year-old white man from Ohio, explained his reason for saying "yes":
If you apply for a job, they seem to give the blacks the first crack at it. If you want any help from the government, if you’re white, you don’t get it. If you’re black, you get it... It’s been going on for decades, and it’s been getting worse for whites.
Despite 55% of respondents claiming discrimination existed, only 19% said they thought they'd been discriminated against while applying for a job, 13% while applying for a promotion, and 11% when applying for college.
But they have no personal experience with racial discrimination? White people face discrimination in their minds— unlike every person of color who experiences racial discrimination everyday, whether they are aware of it or not. #oppressionolympics https://t.co/L9BMgVeReU— Joe Madison (@MadisonSiriusXM) October 25, 2017
While the poll also revealed that most Americans, regardless of subset, believe their own group is victimized, whites ranked significantly lower than others in actual instances of discrimination. For example, 92% of African Americans agreed that "discrimination against blacks exists in America today," and more than half had personal experiences being discriminated against when applying for a job or promotion (56% and 57%). When asked if they or a family member had been "unfairly stopped or treated by the police because they are black," 60% said yes.
Can we ask those white Americans exactly what that discrimination looks like? Are they getting pulled over in the "wrong" neighborhood?— Gilskee (@Gilskee66) October 25, 2017
Feelings of discrimination against whites are often associated with Donald Trump, who is popular largely among white, rural populations. On multiple occasions, Trump has appeared to tacitly support white supremacists and, according to The New York Times, his Department of Justice has taken money from its civil rights division to sue universities over their affirmative action policies.
While only 24% of Americans in general agreed that "white Americans face a lot of discrimination," 45% of Trump supporters agreed with that same statement (though most of them had not experienced any discrimination personally), and only 22% of Trump supporters believed the same was true of black Americans. In parts of white America, there seems to be a disconnect in statistical perspective.