Two key polling points are the "tells."
First, about 60 percent of Americans, including majorities among both whites and blacks, think race relations are generally bad, and about 40 percent think they're getting worse.
However, more than 75 percent think they're getting better in their own communities.
Which is just as impossible as everybody in Lake Wobegon being above average, or the Red Queen's multiple impossibilities actually being true.
That's why I mentioned the Dunning-Kruger effect. This seems to be the emotional or moral version of that, where most people think they're smarter or more competent than they actually are, expect people are thinking they're more racially enlightened than they may actually be.
Here's the real "tell" on that:
Similarly, only a third thought that most people were comfortable discussing race with someone of another race, but nearly three-quarters said they were comfortable doing so themselves.
Which is just as impossible as everybody in Lake Woebegon being above average, or the Red Queen's multiple impossibilities actually being true.
And, as for why many people think race relations have gotten worse? The tea partiers have drunk the rebranded Jim Jones Kool-Aid, with the result of this:
Seventy-two percent of blacks said they approved of the way Mr. Obama is handling race relations, compared with 40 percent of whites. …
The divide, seen in the answers to virtually every question in the poll, was stark when respondents were asked whether they thought most Americans had judged Mr. Obama more harshly because of his race. Eighty percent of blacks said yes, while only 37 percent of whites agreed.
Don’t tell me you’re surprised.
I would suggest those 60 percent of whites (not counting any like me who ding Obama from the left at times) take a test about subconscious bias at Project Implicit.
But, I know they won't.