Race Relations Still a Problem; Most Blacks Have Negative View

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Hoskins Lioi

Black Americans have a pessimistic view of race relations in the United States, according to a survey released yesterday by the Gallup Poll Social Audit.

Sixty-six percent of blacks say that racial relations will always be a problem in the United States.

Blacks' negative perceptions may be due to economic pressure, media-highlighted racial profiling incidents and the recent federal switch to a Republican administration, said Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.

"[The survey] says clearly and distinctly that race relations will continue to be a problem today, and that we see no evidence things are getting better. In fact, we have statistical evidence they may be getting worse," Mr. Newport said.

From the end of March until mid-May this year, Gallup conducted telephone interviews of 2,400 randomly selected adults in the United States. Of the participants, 1,000 were black and at least 800 were white, with the remaining number claiming other racial distinctions.

At least 69 percent of whites say blacks are treated the same as whites in their own community while 41 percent of blacks say the same. The survey also shows 37 percent of blacks believe racial relations are "somewhat" or "very" bad compared with 27 percent who felt the same in 1998.

Mr. Newport said a difference in black and white perceptions on race relations in the United States has been consistently reported in all previous poll surveys, with the gap increasing in recent years regardless of government and organizational attempts to improve racial equality.

"Basically, the bottom line is if you stop a white American on the street, you will get generally positive answers [about race relations]. …