America is less racist than in decades past. But racism still holds a surprisingly tight grip on how we view racial groups. It may be 2014 and not 1964, but a majority of whites still see blacks as lazier or less intelligent than they are.
The 2012 American National Election Study included interviews with nearly 5,500 Americans. Among the questions included were questions asking people to rate whites and blacks on their intelligence and work ethic.
Rather than asking whether whites and blacks were equal, the survey asked respondents to place each racial group on seven point scales. They rated both blacks and whites from “intelligent” to “unintelligent.” They also rated blacks and whites for work ethic, from “hard working” to “lazy”.
The results will be shocking to anyone who believes we are living a post-racist society.
A majority of whites in the survey rated blacks as lazier than whites. Whites gave themselves a score of 3.0 (with 1.0 being “hard working”); they gave blacks an average score of 4.0. A full 53 percent of whites scored whites as more hardworking than blacks. 44 percent gave whites and blacks the same score on work ethic.
For blacks, nearly two-thirds gave equal scores to whites and blacks. While some see whites as more hard working and some see blacks this way, they balance out so that the average scores were basically the same.
The pattern is slightly better for ratings of intelligence, but it is still disturbing. A majority of whites say that blacks and whites are equal. Still, 44 percent said whites were more intelligent.
For blacks in the survey, the result for work ethic was the same as for intelligence. The vast majority said the groups were equal. And those that didn’t balance out, leaving the average scores roughly equivalent.
So, let’s get down to brass tacks: How many people see blacks as both lazy and stupid?
One third of whites rated blacks as less intelligent and lazier than whites. Another quarter of whites said that blacks were either lazier or less intelligent than whites. Together, this means that nearly six-in-ten whites view themselves as superior to blacks.
Just under a third see the two groups as equal on both qualities. A minority gave blacks the edge on one of the characteristics (usually hard working). And one percent rated blacks as better on both.
For blacks, views of white and black equality is very different. A plurality see groups as equal. But more importantly, the pattern in the graph is “bell-shaped”. One side balances out the other. Blacks, on average, see blacks & whites as equals. Whites, however, are more likely than not to see themselves as more hard working and/or more intelligent than blacks.
Have questions about this survey? Want more information? Just ask in the comments.