Did you hear about the study by the Greater Washington University Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America that found older white Americans are more racist than younger white Americans? The study was so big, in fact, that at a Newseum event last week, moderator and National News Editor for NPR Marshall Sahlins mentioned it once — and then no more. It’s as if the magnitude of the findings that white Americans over the age of 65 are motivated more by sympathy and guilt than racism, and that their views are focused more on challenging young black Americans’ “commitment to America and the meaning of patriotism,” than on discrediting them.
On the other hand, the study found younger white Americans believe racism remains America’s biggest problem and believe police and white politicians more responsible for white supremacy than older white Americans, “who are more predisposed to seeing criminal problems as a function of individual bad behavior,” according to the study’s co-author Loyola University of Chicago professor Dr. Carolyn Cooper.
So the findings are sometimes, sort of, contradictory. What about the theme that one American “grieves more as a white man,” yet feels more unjustly targeted as a black man? Or the one about gay white men feeling marginalized in black communities, but having a full life in which they know that people are not generally prejudiced against them?
One of the books on the subject is Women, Race, and White Power: The True Story of an African-American Woman and Her Crazy Family by Sherrilyn Ifill, who is now the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The book is based on the real-life account of Betty Mae Hutchinson, a member of the Peoria, Illinois, legislative delegation who broke barriers as the first black female elected to the Illinois House in 1983. Read the full story by clicking here.
Also from the Archives of American History:
Their tales recall oral histories and shows in other parts of the country.
Read the full story in The New York Times.
Father of the murdered murder victim, Mark Carson, speaks to voters in Rochester, New York
The passionate memory of a woman found dead on the Staten Island Ferry, and an 8-year-old boy called to the task of pushing the yellow caution tape back from the edge of the water