Whites and Blacks Alike See Racism on the Rise; A Report Found Racial Disparities in Health, Politics, Education and Other Areas

Article excerpt

Byline: CHARLIE PATTON

During 2006, a year marked by turmoil over racial divisions in the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, black and white residents of Jacksonville increasingly believe racism is a problem, according to a Race Relations Progress Report.

The report, released Thursday by the Jacksonville Community Council Inc., said 78 percent of black respondents and 55 percent of white respondents cited racism as a problem. That represented an increase 5 percent among blacks and 12 percent among whites over last year's findings. Those results were based on a survey conducted for JCCI by American Public Dialogue in September.

Using information from a variety of public sources through 2005, the report identified racial disparities in five areas - education; employment and income; neighborhoods and housing; health, justice and the legal system; and politics and civic engagement.

The report cited substantial progress from 2004 to 2005 in some quality-of-life measures, such as death from strokes, down significantly among both whites and blacks, with the gap between the races closed.

Other areas showed progress for both races but at uneven rates. An example was the unemployment rate, which declined among both races but more dramatically among whites than blacks.

Others areas, the report noted, showed "Jacksonville is slipping backwards." One discouraging example was the infant death rate, up to 7. …