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Clara Wilkins discusses the research she and Cheryl Kaiser conducted on the perception of bias against whites in this The Conversation article.

The dangerous belief that white people are under attack

by Clara Wilkins

In August, the Justice Department decided to investigate instances of bias against whites in university admissions. Since then, campuses have been flyered with “It’s okay to be white,” and in November, violence erupted at the University of Connecticut during a speech about discrimination against whites.

Are white people actually under attack?

After all, in the U.S., whites have historically been viewed as perpetrators of bias, and racial minorities as the victims.

But perceptions of this relationship have shifted. According to a recent survey, the majority of whites – 55 percent – now believe that whites experience racial discrimination.

What’s more, whites believe bias against their group is increasing, while believing bias against blacks is declining.

What’s behind this dramatic change in attitudes?

Research from my lab and others has found that social changes are a big reason. We’ve also found that these perceptions of bias – despite not being grounded in reality – can have real consequences.

In a series of studies conducted while Obama was president, psychologist Cheryl Kaiser and I were able to show how this phenomenon played out.

Read the entire article here .