The results of a scholarly study were released last month that found that racial prejudice has declined since the election of President Donald Trump.
This should come as a shock to Democrats, who accuse the president of being racially divisive, as well as to liberal publications like Vox, which recently reported that “Most Americans agree Trump has made race relations worse.”
University of Pennsylvania sociologists Daniel J. Hopkins and Samantha Washington set out with the premise that anti-black and anti-Hispanic sentiments rose after November 8, 2018. They simply wanted to measure how far those sentiments had skyrocketed.
Accordingly, the pair wrote that “the normalization of prejudice or opinion leadership both lead us to expect that expressed prejudice may have increased in this period, especially among Republicans or Trump supporters.”
Just the opposite occurred. To the researchers’ surprise, anti-black prejudice declined sharply after the 2016 election, and anti-Hispanic sentiment also fell significantly.
Perhaps a reflection of the researchers’ own prejudices, the paper referred to the president’s “racist rhetoric” at least three times, yet Trump’s language choice is little different than that of Democratic politicians. That includes former President Barack Obama, who also called for tighter border security and immigration restrictions.
“We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants in this country,” then-Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) said in 2005.
And Trump’s rhetoric is not nearly as racially-charged as that of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who described African-American youths in 1996 as “super-predators,” and concluded that “we have to bring them to heel.”
Hopkins and Washington didn’t attempt to attach a cause for the downward spiral in racial prejudice, but a few possibilities come to mind.
Obama’s race-conscious administration
The drop in prejudice could be a natural reaction to his predecessor’s practice of assigning a racial element into many events and issues of the day, which in turn spiked race consciousness.
It began six months into his administration, with the arrest of black Harvard Professor Henry Gates. He refused to show police his identification to prove residency when a neighbor reported someone breaking his way into his home and suspected a burglary in progress.
When asked about the incident afterwards, Obama admitted he didn’t have “all the facts” but nonetheless concluded, “The Cambridge police acted stupidly.”
Obama injected both race and himself into other events after that, including the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida, after which he lamented “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” After the Michael Brown killing in Missouri, Obama sent a team of investigators to second-guess a St. Louis county grand jury after it had cleared the police of wrongdoing.
As a possible result, an estimated 6.7 million to 9.2 million former Obama voters switched teams in 2016 to cast their lot with Trump.
The Trump economy
The reduction in prejudice could also be attributed to the booming economy. When Trump promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States from overseas, Obama quipped, “How exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have?”
Trump figuratively said to the person next to him, “Hold my Diet Coke,” and set to work. As a result, the jobs returned as promised, and the economy benefited minorities more than most other groups, with black and Hispanic unemployment at all-time lows.
And that hasn’t gone unnoticed. Two political movements, BLEXIT (Blacks exiting the Democratic Party) and LEXIT (Latinos exiting the Democratic Party) have since sprung up and are flourishing.
Where’s the beef?
If any one group is stirring up racial discord, it’s arguably far-left liberals and members of the Democratic party, beginning with freshmen congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Asserting that America “was founded on the history of Native American genocide, on the backs of black slaves,” at an event called “Black Women in Defense of Progressive Women in Congress,” Omar added “This is not going to be the country of white people.”
Tlaib stirred up discord when she angrily accused Rep. Mark Meadow (R-N.C.) of using a black administrative assistant as a racial prop during a House Oversight hearing in February.
Contrary to those beliefs, studies by international groups have consistently found that the United States ranks among the most racially tolerant countries in the world.
And, according to Hopkins and Washington, it became even more racially tolerant after Trump took office.