No one can dispute that America is currently undergoing a racial reckoning. Ever since the killing of George Floyd in the spring of 2020, a nation-wide soul-searching over racism has seized hold of the collective imagination, with everyone from massive corporations to national media outlets leading the charge against America's enduring—even rising—white supremacism.
But what if everyone is wrong? What if the media and the national conversation isn't exposing racism so much as creating it, or at least, creating the impression that it is far more prevalent than we thought?
This is what I found in my recent report for the Manhattan Institute, The Social Construction of Racism in the United States. The report is an analysis of a wide variety of data sources, including several new surveys that I conducted. And what I found is that media exposure, partisanship and a person's anxiety or depression levels explain much of what passes for racism today—as well as essentially all of its reported rise.
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