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White people are winning the war on whites

Mo Brooks, champion of the oppressed (official Congressional portrait)
Mo Brooks, champion of the oppressed (official Congressional portrait)

Mo Brooks, mo' problems.

The Alabama representative opined recently that the Democratic party is waging a "war on whites," prompting ridicule from nearly every quarter of the political blogosphere.

Brooks later doubled down on his comments, telling USA Today “it is repugnant for Democrats time after time after time to resort to cries of racism to divide Americans and drive up voter turn out... if you look at current federal law, there is only one skin color that you can lawfully discriminate against. That’s Caucasians — whites.” He added, "I want Democrats held accountable...  if Americans want a political party that regularly stokes unfounded racial fears, well then vote Democrat."

Mo Brooks is not alone. A 2012 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that an astonishing two-thirds of Republicans agreed that "today discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities." Regardless of its merits, Brooks' message will likely play well back home in Alabama's fifth district, which is 77 percent white, according to the Census.

Among other things, these sentiments stem partly an unease with the country's steady demographic march toward being minority-majority. The U.S. Census estimates that by 2043, the percentage of non-Hispanic whites will fall below 50 percent. Fully one third of Republicans in a recent Public Religion Research Institute poll admitted that “the idea of an America where most people are not white bothers me.” 20 percent of all whites said the same.

But the reality is that being white still generally affords plenty of advantages, as you can see from the charts below showing social and economic data for whites, blacks and Hispanics in the U.S. Most of these numbers were compiled from government sources by the Pew Research Center in their August 2013 report on racial disparities.

Let's take a look!

White people earn more money.


The median white household earned $67,000 in 2012, compared to about $40,000 for blacks and Hispanics. From 2007 to 2012, the white-black income gap widened while the white-Hispanic income gap stayed the same, according to Pew.

White people own more wealth.


The median white household has a net worth greater than $90,000, more than 1o times the net worth of black and Hispanic households.

White people are more likely to be homeowners.


White homeownership rates are consistently higher than those for blacks and Hispanics. Among many contributing factors to this: the Department of Housing and Urban Development finds that "minority homeseekers are told about and shown fewer homes and apartments than whites" when looking for housing.

White people are less poor.


At 10 percent, the white poverty rate is just higher than a third of the rate for blacks. 25 percent of Hispanics are in poverty.

White people have lower unemployment.


Whites are about half as likely to be unemployed as blacks. That gap has remained roughly consistent since the 1950s. A 2010 paper in the journal Demography found "considerable evidence" that "blacks are the first fired as the business cycle weakens."

White people are more likely to go to college.


White people are more likely to go to college than blacks and Hispanics, and also more likely to graduate high school.

White people are less likely to go to jail.


Black men are about 7 times more likely to be incarcerated than white men.


White people experience less discrimination.


Finally, the best way to find out about discrimination against whites: just ask a white person. Pew found that only 10 percent of whites said they had ever felt discriminated against due to their race, compared to 35 percent of blacks and 20 percent of Hispanics.

If there is a war on whites, white people are winning it.

Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.



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