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Measuring Racial Discrimination
Regardless of how it is conceptualized, the discrepancy between the acceptance of nondiscrimination in principle and the discomfort about its implications in practice can be traced, at least in part, back to the persistence of anti-black stereotypes. In the mid-1980s, 61 percent of whites nationwide said that blacks on welfare could get a job “if they really tried,” 42 percent said that black neighborhoods are more rundown because blacks “don’t take care of their property,” and 43 percent endorsed the view that blacks would be as well off as whites “if they would just try harder” (Sniderman and Piazza, 1993; Loury, 2002). As of 1991, moreover, 34 percent of whites described blacks as “lazy” and 21 percent labeled them as “irresponsible” (Sniderman and Piazza, 1993). Likewise, according to the 1993 Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality, whites perceived blacks to be significantly less intelligent, less rich, less self-supporting, and less easy to get along with than Asians, Hispanics, or whites (Bobo and Massagli, 2001), and whites perceived African Americans as the least desirable potential neighbors (Charles, 2001).