â€œHow much should you be paid to continue to live the rest of your life as a black person?â€ This is the provocative question asked by a new study published in the Du Bois Review. According the the press release, the researchers found:
When white Americans were asked to imagine how much they would have to be paid to live the rest of their lives as a black person, most requested relatively low amounts, generally less than $10,000.
In contrast, study participants said they would have to be paid about $1 million to give up television for the rest of their lives.
The answer was different when the contemporary black/white context was stripped away. Some participants…
…were asked to imagine they were born into the fictional country of Atria, and were born either into the â€œmajorityâ€ or â€œminorityâ€ population. They were given a list of the disadvantages that the minority population faced in Atria (which were identical to the real disadvantages faced by blacks in America). In this case, white participants in the study said they should be paid an average of $1 million to be born as a minority member in Atria.
The study results jibe with my own informal surveys over the years. The researchers also probed attitudes toward reparations for wrongs committed against ancestors. Whole press release here.