'White grievance and straight-up racism' survey speaks volumes about MAGA attitudes: conservative

'White grievance and straight-up racism' survey speaks volumes about MAGA attitudes: conservative
Image via Gage Skidmore.

On Wednesday, September 28, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) published the results of a study of White Americans and racial attitudes. The report is titled “Creating More Inclusive Public Spaces: Structural Racism, Confederate Memorials, and Building for the Future.”

Washington Post opinion columnist Jennifer Rubin analyzes the report’s findings in a September 28 column, arguing that they show how deep racism runs in the MAGA movement.

“It has long been understood that the MAGA movement is heavily dependent on White grievance and straight-up racism,” Rubin explains. “Hence Donald Trump’s refusal to disavow racist groups and his statement that there were ‘very fine people on both sides’ in the violent clashes at the White supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Now, we have numbers to prove it.”

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Rubin continues, “The connection between racism and the right-wing movement is apparent in a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey asked respondents about 11 statements designed to probe views on racism…. The pollsters then used their answers to quantify a ‘structural racism index,’ which provides a general score from zero to 1 measuring a person’s attitudes on ‘White supremacy and racial inequality, the impact of discrimination on African-American economic mobility, the treatment of African- Americans in the criminal justice system, general perceptions of race, and whether racism is still significant problem today.’ Higher scores indicate a more receptive attitude to racist beliefs.”

According to PRRI’s study, the “the median value on the structural racism index is 0.45, near the center of the scale.” And PRRI found that “the median score on the structural racism index for Republicans is 0.67, compared with 0.45 for independents and 0.27 for Democrats.”

One of the things the surveyed “captures,” Rubin observes, is efforts “to rewrite the history of the Civil War and downplay or ignore the evil of slavery is on the right.”

According to PRRI, “Republicans overwhelmingly back efforts to preserve the legacy of the Confederacy, 85 percent, compared with less than half of independents, 46 percent, and only one in four Democrats, 26 percent. The contrast between White Republicans and White Democrats is stark. Nearly nine in 10 White Republicans, 87 percent, compared with 23 percent of White Democrats, support efforts to preserve the legacy of the Confederacy.”

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The survey also delved into religious affiliations among Whites and found that racism was the highest among White evangelicals.

PRRI says, “White evangelical Protestants have the highest median score, at 0.64, while Latter-day Saints, White Catholics, and White Mainline Protestants each have a median of 0.55. By contrast, religiously unaffiliated White Americans score 0.33.”

By “Mainline Protestants,” PRRI is referring to non-evangelical denominations such as Episcopalians and Lutherans. In the African-American community, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is considered an example of a non-evangelical Protestant denomination.

For her column, Rubin interviewed PRRI leader Robert P. Jones.

Jones told the Never Trump columnist, “While this result may seem surprising or even shocking to many White Christians, it is because we do not know our own history. If we take a clear-eyed look at our history, we see a widespread, centuries-long Christian defense of White supremacy…. It’s hardly a surprise that a denial of systemic racism is a defining feature of White evangelicalism today.”

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