White Americans Feel They Are Victims of Discrimination, a New Poll Shows

A majority of white Americans feel whites are discriminated against in American society—with a quarter of them believing the government is treating them unfairly compared with other racial groups, a new survey shows.

In the NPR survey released Tuesday, 55 percent of white Americans said they feel that white people face discrimination. By comparison, 92 percent of African-Americans said they feel discriminated against, and 90 percent of LGBTQ Americans said there is discrimination toward their group.

The high numbers of aggrieved whites in the nationwide survey, which was conducted from January 26 to April 9, mirror some of the themes of last year's election.

Among white Americans surveyed who said they have faced discrimination, 61 percent believe it's coming from other individuals, while 26 percent said they are discriminated against by government laws and policies.

The survey also found that 78 percent of Latinos and 75 percent of Native Americans feel they are discriminated against in America. 

NPR said it would release more data in the next several weeks, but the network did offer details about black Americans' experience with racism. Most shockingly, 32 percent said they have personally experienced racial discrimination when going to the doctor or a health clinic. As a result, 22 percent avoid seeking medical care out of fear of discrimination.

The ramifications are significant.

"If someone is avoiding seeking medical care out of fear of discrimination, they're at risk of going undiagnosed for serious conditions," said Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which conducted the survey with NPR.

Also in the study, 61 percent of African-Americans said police are more likely to use force on a person who is black than on a white person in the same situation. Six out of 10 blacks said they or a family member has been unfairly stopped or mistreated by police because of the color of their skin.

Overall, 49 percent of African-Americans said discrimination is a result of individuals' prejudices. Only 25 percent said they feel discrimination based on government laws and policies, and 11 percent said both.

Among Latinos, 47 percent said they feel discrimination through individual people, 37 percent said there is a bigger problem with government laws and policies, and 14 percent said both were equally at fault. Native Americans had a similar response, but 39 percent said they face more discrimination from government laws and policies than the 41 percent of voters who said they face more discrimination from individuals.

It's not the first time that whites have seen the nation differently than racial minorities. A new study from the Carlos Berdejó of Loyola Law School found that black people face more severe punishments on misdemeanor charges than white people, according to Slate. The study found that white people were 74 percent more likely than black people to have their charges on prison time dropped, dismissed or reduced. White people who had no criminal history were much more likely to have charges against them dropped than black people who had no criminal history.