Willful Ignorance

This, from YouGov, tells you everything you need to know about contemporary race relations in a single, compact chart:

For 66 percent of white Americans to agree with this statement—“Irish, Italian, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors”—there needs to be either large scale amnesia or willful ignorance about what happened in the previous 150 years of this country’s history.

In case you don’t know, it’s straightforward. After the Civil War, when African Americans were freed after more than two hundred years of bondage and chattel slavery, whites in the South—with, eventually, the complicitcy of whites nationwide—engaged in a brutal campaign of violence and economic deprivation against the descendants of said slaves, the result of which was to keep most blacks in a state of near-peonage, where their opportunities for social and economic advancement were extremely limited.

Not to discount the prejudice faced by many immigrant groups, but I’m reasonably sure that this wasn’t the case for anyone other than African Americans. Which, I should add, is the reason why we have affirmative action and other such programs—the effects of this state-sanctioned mistreatment were so strong and so pervasive, that they continue to have an enduring effect on the lives and livelihoods of black Americans (in the aggregate).

But, it seems, most white Americans don’t know that. Indeed, if this YouGov poll is any indication, a fair number of white Americans simply believe that black people are lazy:

This is incredibly depressing.

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