Prof finds majority of minorities don't face discrimination

Toni Airaksinen

  • A study recently conducted by a group of university professors found that only 25 percent of Americans responded affirmatively to ever experiencing discrimination.
  • Professor Brian Boutwell, who led the study, told Campus Reform that his findings were "true across racial and ethnic groups," ranging from 18% for Asians to 31% for blacks.
  • A new study conducted by a group of university professors found that most Americans actually report experiencing very little discrimination.

    The study, led by Professor Brian Boutwell, consisted of reviewing response data from a survey of more than 14,000 Americans, finding that the vast majority claim to have “never” or “rarely” been a victim of discrimination.

    "It was lower than what we might have thought going into it."   

    The results, relatively consistent across racial lines, found that only 25 percent of Americans responded “yes” to ever experiencing discrimination.

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    “For the entire sample, about 25 percent claimed they had felt discriminated against. It was lower than what we might have thought going into it,” Boutwell told Campus Reform.

    Although racial minorities did comparatively report facing more discrimination, racial disparities were not nearly as high as expected, with only 31 percent of blacks reporting experiencing discrimination “sometimes” or “often.”

    Similarly, just 27 percent of Hispanics responded similarly, followed by 23 percent of whites, and 18 percent of Asians, according to the study.

    While the findings suggest that discrimination is less prevalent that predicted, Boutwell cautioned against too much optimism.

    "People have rightly pointed out that 25 percent of the population is a lot of people,” Boutwell told Campus Reform. “That’s still millions of people. That's far higher than what we'd like to see. Ideally, you want that number increasing towards the mythical zero point.”

    He went on to say that “we always want to be striving for a lower percentage of folks that feel discriminated against. But even so, when you have three quarters of the sample saying ‘no,’ that's an interesting finding. And that was true across racial and ethnic groups."

    Since respondents were asked about discrimination in general (as opposed to exclusively racial discrimination), the survey captures a wide variety of discrimination experiences.

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    Notably, when asked about what they think caused unfair treatment, most respondents eschewed “race” as a motivating factor.

    Rather, most instead chalked up their discriminatory experiences to “other” causes, such as personal appearance or political views, Boutwell explained.

    Such findings, Boutwell elaborated, are both “interesting and problematic,” saying that while he “can’t speculate,” discrimination on the grounds of political views may be on the rise.

    “If anyone feels that their political alignment creates blowback for them in daily life, that's one possibility,” he said, noting that it’s a “a reasonable one, given the data on political polarization.”

    Boutwell concluded by cautioning against using his findings as definitive, saying “it’s not a perfect measure of discrimination” and “more research needs to be done.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen is a New Jersey-based Campus Reform contributor, and previously served as a Senior Campus Correspondent. Her reporting focuses on campus First Amendment, Title IX, Equal Opportunity, and due process issues, and her stories have been profiled by numerous outlets including Fox News, The New York Post, PBS News, and The Washington Examiner.
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