The Corner

Scar of Race

Roger: The most interesting poll I’ve ever seen on race preferences came out about ten years ago and was published in a book called The Scar of Race. In it, whites were asked whether they agreed with certain black stereotypes, including negative ones, such as “blacks are lazy” and so forth. When these questions were posed, a certain percentage–in the 15 to 20 percent range, as I recall–agreed with the negative characterizations. At the same time, a different group of respondents was asked the same set of questions–right after they’d been bombarded with a bunch of questions about affirmative action and racial preferences. The result: The number of people agreeing with anti-black stereotypes shot way up. The conclusion: The existence of racial preferences encourages racism among whites, even among those who aren’t predisposed to harboring it. That’s just one more reason to hope the Supreme Court does the right thing with these two Michigan cases. The decisions are due by the end of this month.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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