News & Politics

Almost Half of White Southerners Believe White People Are Under Attack: Poll

White fragility is alive and well.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

They're not targeted by police, nor discriminated against when applying for jobs or housing, but according to a new poll from Winthrop University, nearly half of white Southerners believe they are in danger. Forty-six percent of those surveyed either agreed or strongly agreed that white people are under attack in America. 

By contrast, over 75 percent of black Southerners surveyed believe minorities are under attack. 

In 830 phone interviews with residents of 11 states, respondents of all races across the South overwhelmingly said "all races should be treated equally, and that America should protect and preserve its multicultural heritage," according to Winthrop's own summary. Still, "both whites and blacks felt uneasy regarding their relative safety and position in the country." 

Thirty percent of all respondents believe that America should preserve its white European heritage, while more than half disagreed. Winthrop researchers also found that 40 percent of those surveyed believe Confederate monuments should remain in place, although almost a quarter want a plaque added for context. Twenty-seven percent want the statues moved to a museum. Nearly half of black respondents said the monuments belong in museums, and a quarter said they should be removed altogether. 

The poll tackled Southerners' views of religion as well. Black respondents tended to be more religious than whites, but less likely to believe that America was founded as a Christian nation. Poll director Scott Huffman offered his interpretation in a statement announcing the poll's release: “African Americans, who tend to be more devout in their Christianity, may not connect their religious beliefs to their historical beliefs, or they may see the United States as founded on slavery, which is inherently unChristian. Irrespective, this finding warrants more research." 

He might also want to compare results before and after Trump's presidency.

Read Winthrop's findings

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Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.