Whites See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game That They Are Now Losing

Perspect Psychol Sci. 2011 May;6(3):215-8. doi: 10.1177/1745691611406922.


Although some have heralded recent political and cultural developments as signaling the arrival of a postracial era in America, several legal and social controversies regarding "reverse racism" highlight Whites' increasing concern about anti-White bias. We show that this emerging belief reflects Whites' view of racism as a zero-sum game, such that decreases in perceived bias against Blacks over the past six decades are associated with increases in perceived bias against Whites-a relationship not observed in Blacks' perceptions. Moreover, these changes in Whites' conceptions of racism are extreme enough that Whites have now come to view anti-White bias as a bigger societal problem than anti-Black bias.

Keywords: affirmative action; bias; racism; zero-sum game.

Publication types

  • Review