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White People Think One Black Person’s Success Proves Racism Is Over

With the reelection of a black president, success of professional athletes and rising titans of the music industry, more and more white America have become  implicit in the argument that systemic racial discrimination is no longer keeping black men and women from success.

In the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, authors, Clayton R. Critcher, assistant professor at University of California Berkeley, and Jane L. Risen, associate professor at the University of Chicago, surveyed and  found that exposure to a single African-American in a high-performing position — any position outside stereotypical jobs in which blacks “traditionally” excel — is enough to make whites more likely to deny the existence of systemic racism.

Even though most participants indicated that their beliefs about race and discrimination wouldn’t change on the basis of a single black person’s success, the experiments showed otherwise, Critcher said.

Systemic biases against black Americans are still very real. A recent study found employers may assume black job applicants use illegal drugs more frequently than whites, and the unemployment rate for black college graduates was nearly twice that of whites in 2013.

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