Blacks and Whites are deeply divided on their views of racial equality and the state of race relations, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

About six in 10 Blacks say race relations are generally bad, rather than good. White Americans, however, are evenly divided, with 46 percent saying the relationship between the races are good versus 45 percent who think it is bad.

It makes sense, therefore, that while an overwhelming majority of African Americans (88 percent) believe the United States needs to make significant strides for Blacks to have parity with Whites, only 53 percent of White Americans think the same. Blacks are also a lot less optimistic that such changes will be made.

Similarly, Blacks were far more likely than Whites to believe African Americans were treated unfairly because of their race in the workplace—a 42 percent gap—as well as in dealings with the police, in the courts, when applying for a loan or mortgage, in stores and restaurants and when voting in elections.

The findings are significant, coming nearly eight years after the historic election of America’s first Black president, a phenomenon that many saw as a portent of sunny race relations ahead. But recent headlines such as the repeated killings of unarmed African Americans and the shooting of nine African-American churchgoers by a White supremacist in Charlotte, N.C., have scuttled that hope.

In the waning months of his presidency, 34 percent of Americans say President Obama has made progress on improving race relations, while 28 percent said he has tried but failed to make headway. A quarter said he has made things worse, while 8 percent said he has not addressed it at all.

Unsurprisingly, opinions on Obama’s legacy on race relations are divided by race, with Blacks  being far more likely than Whites and Hispanics (51 percent compared to 28 percent and 38 percent, respectively) to say Obama has made progress on race relations.

The findings are based on a national survey by Pew Research Center conducted from Feb. 29 to May 8, 2016, among 3,769 adults (including 1,799 Whites, 1,004 Blacks and 654 Hispanics.) To see the full survey results, click here.


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO