Survey Finds Worsening of U.S. Race Relations ; Few Americans Harbor Hope for Improvements from Black Lives Matter

By Thee-Brenan, Megan | International New York Times, June 28, 2016 | Go to article overview

Survey Finds Worsening of U.S. Race Relations ; Few Americans Harbor Hope for Improvements from Black Lives Matter


Thee-Brenan, Megan, International New York Times


A survey by the Pew Research Center found that black and white Americans experience life in profoundly and persistently different ways.

Black and white Americans experience life in profoundly and persistently different ways, according to a new Pew Research Center survey examining racial attitudes in the United States.

The telephone survey, conducted over a three-month period starting in February, is the latest in a series of polls by various organizations trying to make sense of the sharp deterioration in the country's optimistic racial attitudes since the election of the nation's first black president in 2008. While most African- Americans think individual racism is a bigger factor than institutional racism, they also say they have experienced unfair treatment by a number of institutions.

Using data from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey, Pew outlines significant racial disparities across a range of economic and educational opportunities. Despite gains in the past 50 years, African-Americans are still at least twice as likely as whites to be unemployed or living in poverty. Blacks also lag behind whites in attaining college degrees, although the disparity in high school completion rates has narrowed.

The inequalities in the life experiences of blacks and whites are also evident in each group's opinions about racial attitudes in the United States. Here are several striking findings from the Pew poll:

Roots of Discrimination Two-thirds of Americans questioned by Pew think individual discrimination is a bigger problem than discrimination that is built into American laws and institutions. While most whites agree, blacks are divided. Still, majorities of African-Americans think that blacks are treated less fairly than whites in a number of institutions including the workplace, financial institutions and the criminal justice system. …

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