Poll indicates black, white Americans divided on role of race

ANADOLU AGENCY
WASHINGTON
Published 28.06.2016 22:30
Updated 28.06.2016 22:32
The 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, set the stage for the issue to gain national traction, eventually spawning the Black Lives Matter movement, which has become a force of popular mobilization.
The 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, set the stage for the issue to gain national traction, eventually spawning the Black Lives Matter movement, which has become a force of popular mobilization.

White and black Americans have widely divergent views on racial issues, including whether blacks are treated equally, a poll released on Monday suggested.

Roughly 40 percent of blacks doubt the U.S. will ever reach a point where they will be considered equal to whites, the Pew Research Center said.

While about the same number believe the country will make the changes needed for equality to be achieved, only 8 percent say the U.S. has already made those changes.

Among whites, only 53 percent agree that more work needs to be done to achieve equality while just 11 percent doubt the goal will be achieved.

Approximately 40 percent believe the changes will eventually be made and about the same amount say enough work has already been done to achieve the goal.

The issue of racial equality again became a flashpoint in America after the killings of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers who have generally been white.

The 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, set the stage for the issue to gain national traction, eventually spawning the Black Lives Matter movement, which has become a force of popular mobilization.

Sixty-five percent of blacks support the movement, including 41 percent who say they strongly support it.

Roughly four in 10 whites voiced support, particularly Democrats and those under the age of 30.

"Across the survey's findings, there are significant fault lines within the white population - perhaps none more consistent than the partisan divide," Pew said, referring to the split between Republicans and Democrats.

"While about eight-in-10 (78 percent) white Democrats say the country needs to continue making changes to achieve racial equality between whites and blacks, just 36 percent of white Republicans agree; 54 percent of white Republicans believe the country has already made the changes necessary for blacks to have equal rights with whites," the research center added.

Blacks and whites are sharply divided on their views of President Barack Obama's effect on race relations. A little more than 50 percent of blacks say Obama has made progress in improving race relations, and 34 percent said he tried but failed to make improvements.

Just below 30 percent of whites said Obama has improved race relations and 24 percent said he tried but failed.

The highest number of white respondents, 32 percent, said Obama hindered race relations.

"This is driven largely by the views of white Republicans, 63 percent of whom say Obama has made race relations worse (compared with just 5 percent of white Democrats)," Pew said.

Pew polled approximately 3,800 respondents to compile its findings.

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