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Race In DFW: Why Whites Are Reluctant

White people feel attacked when trying to discuss race

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For white people, the topic of race is sensitive, complex and changing. (Published Sunday, Jun 3, 2012)

    Many of us will never forget April 1992.  The acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King sparked deadly riots in Los Angeles, California.

    In April of 2012, we asked fans of the NBCDFW Facebook Fan Page their thoughts about Race Relations 20 years after the riots. Some white respondents said the following:

    "As long as the media stirs the pot there will always be racism! Society has come a long ways its the media who needs to move past it!" (sic)

    "I think, as a society, we have moved past the color of skin."

    "Racism would be a thing of the past, if those who are still holding a grudge would stop passing it generation to generation."

    The NBCDFW Facebook Fan Page responses were familiar to Dr. Michael Emerson. He is a Sociology Professor at Rice University in Houston. He is also part of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

    "Whites are, if you do it in Dallas, do it in Houston, do it nationwide, they're going to be more positive about race relations than are African Americans," said Dr. Emerson.

    In addition to seeing the topic of race differently, whites do not like to talk about.

    "They [whites] feel like they have to walk on eggshells," said Dr. Emerson. "We're in a politically correct culture. I'm going to make a mistake and I don't mean it but there's no way I can win. If I say anything I'll get in trouble. So I'm not going to say anything."

    "If you bring up race, most Anglos immediately feel defensive. Like I'm being attacked. I didn't own slaves. I wasn't here. I didn't even have family here. Why am I being attacked?"

    A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute reported 46 percent of Americans believe discrimination against white people has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. 51 percent disagreed.

    Texas college student Colby Bohannon launched a scholarship program last year for White Men only. His organization is called the Former Majority Association for Equality. It's based in San Marcos, south of Austin.

    "It's really for Caucasian families out there who are trying to send their kids to school, their sons to school," Bohannon said. "We just want to be able to help those people out."

    Bohannon said white males are a demographic with fewer scholarship options than other groups. An African-American male and two women are on his board.  He recently posted pictures of some of the 11 scholarship recipients.

    "I was a little bit surprised that we didn't receive more negative feedback," Bohannon said. "We did have some threats. We did have people call in and wish us ill will. I expected more of that and I was very surprised of how many people of different races came in and really supported us."