During the summer of 2020, at the height of the social justice movement, support for Black Lives Matter hit a high, with 52% of people of all races surveyed saying they supported the issue. But as time wears on, that level of support appears to be dropping steadily.
Claretta Bellamy of NBC News reported that a new national poll conducted by the nonpartisan online survey firm Civiqs (which is part of the progressive media group Daily Kos) “found a decline in support among Americans for the Black Lives Matter movement, a year and a half after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other high-profile deaths of Black people in encounters with police sparked a global outcry.”
Bellamy reported on the survey’s results, which revealed that “44% of respondents, overall, said they support the Black Lives Matter movement. Another 43% opposed it, while 11% said they neither support nor oppose it.”
“While 82% of Black respondents said they support the Black Lives Matter movement, 53% of white respondents said they opposed the movement,” Bellamy added.
In an interview with NBC News, Vida Robertson, the director of the Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown, said the survey confirms a sad but consistent pattern when it comes to how the general public thinks about racial justice movements — one that has carried on “from the Harlem Renaissance to the Black Power movement.”
“These polls are quite representative of America’s approach. There’s no historical evidence whatsoever that America has ever been interested in Black liberation and building an equitable society,” Robertson told Bellamy. “We are simply coming to grips with our romantic ideals that are running up against our political realities. And the fact stands that America has constantly and will constantly struggle with the liberation of Black bodies because we are endemically a racist society.”
Robertson also explained that because of the unique circumstances during the summer of 2020, with COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines in place, people could focus on racial injustices and civil rights issues in ways they hadn’t previously been able to, leading to increased support for the BLM movement. But that phenomenon also explains why support for the movement is also currently declining.
“Our country is simply going back to default,” she said. “Our job [now] is to reconstruct the game so that we can actually move beyond winning them over to becoming the American Dream that we longed for.”