The Public Interest

Inventing racism

G. E. Zuriff

Winter 2002

RACIAL prejudice in the United States has decreased dramatically over the past five decades, especially so since the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Surveys show ever-increasing, majority support for racial equality, desegregation, and nondiscrimination, accompanied by a large decrease in personal animosity directed toward African Americans. Nationwide studies have similarly documented significant declines in expressions of prejudice, negative stereotyping, and resistance to equality by whites.  Egalitarian. public policies have been implemented on a wide scale. On the subjects of voting rights, schools, public accommodations, housing, and employment, segregationist sentiment has all but disappeared. At the same time, numerous measures show a significant improvement in the social and economic conditions of African Americans. Despite lingering traces of racial prejudice, America has become, in principle at least, racially egalitarian. This is a momentous change.

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