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More White Americans Believe the Government Hasn’t Done Enough for Blacks: Poll

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According to the General Social Survey, a trends poll that has measured attitudes about race in America since the ’70s, 52 percent of Americans say the country spends too little to improve conditions for Black Americans, up from 30 percent in 2014. To be fair, 7 percent disagree.

More and more Americans are attributing Black-white inequality to discrimination (up from 33 percent in 2014 to 45 percent in 2018) and a lack of educational access (up from 42 percent in 2014 to 50 percent in 2018).

Previously, the mentality towed the line of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” and the government did “special favors” (57 percent agreed this was the case down from 68 percent in 2014) for Black Americans. That number has dropped substantially since the inception of the survey.

Even with the shift moving in a more positive direction, many people still oppose affirmative action for Blacks to make up for past discrimination. Only 23 percent support preferential hiring and promotion, although there is still a significant lack of diversity in the workplace, this represents an increase compared to 2014 (18 percent).

Attitudes against racist speech appear to be gaining momentum as well. More Americans now say they would not approve of allowing a racist professor to teach at a college or university (up from 51 percent  in 2014 to 56 percent in 2018) or would support the removal of a racist book from the bookshelves of their local public library (up from 35 percent in 2016 to 39 percent in 2018).

Additionally, the share of Americans saying it is never okay for a police officer to strike a male citizen has reached an all-time low of 61 percent.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the General Social Survey staff assessed the poll and found that 3 in 10 Americans think the government is obligated to make up for past racial discrimination.

Specifically, white Democrats have shifted their thoughts on racial and political lines. Whites who believe the United States government should spend more to alleviate racial inequity increased by 30% for Democrats and 20% for Republicans, respectively, since 2014.

The poll also indicated that Black Americans felt this nation spent way too little on improving conditions for them to tune of 79%, meanwhile, 45 percent of whites shared the sentiment.

Todd Shaw, a political science and African-American studies professor at the University of South Carolina, said white liberals and moderates are reevaluating their opinions about race relations. This is a great thing especially given today’s racial climate and Donald Trump’s presidency, which appears to have brought back xenophobia and racial intolerance.

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1 Comment

  1. O March 31, 2019

    Really good news. Change in attitudes is possible (for some). Let’s continue to get the truth out about racism, discrimination, and our racial history. Now let’s change policy. I bet a lot of the shift in opinion happened because of social media and the internet which enables activists and allies (Black Lives Matter, DiversityInc) to get the truth out.

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