STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
OK. Brakkton's story grows out of a survey that comes from NPR News, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The survey director was Robert Blendon, who says the aim here was to capture stories like the one we just heard from a diverse field of 3,500 participants.
ROBERT BLENDON: We covered not only racial and ethnic groups - African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans and, quite unusually, whites - but also gender - men, women and LGBTQ.
INSKEEP: Now, the point here wasn't to survey people's opinions - what do you think about racism? It was to understand how Americans say they themselves experienced discrimination.
BLENDON: We asked you about your life experience with work, police, the courts, housing, health care, college, voting, and then there are all types of personal interaction where people are really harassed, insulted, just treated totally inappropriately. So we had the sort of institutional issues, when I'm seeking housing or a job, but then we really asked you if you faced harassment, if people slurring, you if people inappropriately said that you were unable to do things because of your race or ethnic background.
INSKEEP: So those were the questions, and the answers revealed that Americans of all races have something in common.
BLENDON: What we found is the majority of almost all ethnic and racial groups, including white Americans, which is quite a surprise, feel that today they face discrimination based on their own background. Most believe that it's due to attitudes of individuals that they interact with, with a smaller share believing it's actually government or institutional policies.
INSKEEP: Fifty-five percent of white people surveyed said that whites in America face discrimination. Blendon says there are two main places where they report seeing unfair treatment.
BLENDON: Employment, and the sense that they had that they were often discriminated against in being hired because they were white. And college admissions, where there was a sense of those who had applied for college who were white, a significant share of them felt that they had faced some discrimination in admission based on their race.
INSKEEP: Now, to be clear, the number of white people who said discrimination has happened to them personally was lower, only about 1 in 5 say they experienced discrimination when applying for jobs, for example.