Article | Perspectives on Psychological Science

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

by Michael I. Norton and Samuel R. Sommers


Although some have heralded recent political and cultural developments as signaling the arrival of a post-racial 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: Prejudice and Bias; Race; Social Issues; Culture; Government and Politics; Growth and Development; United States;


Norton, Michael I., and Samuel R. Sommers. "Whites See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game That They Are Now Losing." Perspectives on Psychological Science 6, no. 3 (May 2011): 215–218.