6 Eye-Opening Facts About How Differently Black And White People View Race

A new Pew Research study released Monday shows that black and white America have profoundly different views on race and inequality. 

The study, which involved 3,769 adults (1,799 whites, 1,004 blacks and 654 Hispanics) and was conducted between Feb. 29 through May 8, says that the results show how black and white America are worlds apart, and when it comes to achieving equality, black respondents see it as an elusive goal.

Here are six takeaways that highlight some of the important points from the study: 

1. Most black people believe the country should do more to achieve racial equality, while less than half of white people say enough has already been done.

The study shows that 88 percent of black people think that the goal for racial equality requires more work, while about half (43 percent) are skeptical that changes will actually come about. When compared to whites, 40 percent are hopeful that the country will continue to work towards giving black people equal rights as whites, while 38 percent believe that the country has already made the necessary changes.

2. Black and white America’s assessment of President Barack Obama’s impact on race relations widely differ.

Around 51 percent of black people believe President Obama has made progress when it comes to race relations, while 28 percent of white people believe the same. Meanwhile, 34 percent of black people say he has tried but failed to make progress, compared to 24 percent of whites. But the most glaring difference is revealed in results that show 32 percent of white people, mostly Republican, who say Obama has made race relations worse, which stands in stark contrast to the nine percent of black people who feel the same.

3. Most black and white Americans are aware of Black Lives Matter but have mixed views on their support and assessment of the movement.

Black Lives Matter is a massive movement that formed in 2012 and is led by young black activists who demand justice and are fighting against police killings of black men and women. However, many white and black people harbor mixed feelings about the movement’s impact and success.

According to the study, around 65 percent of black people show support for Black Lives Matter while some, around 31 percent and mostly those with bachelor’s degree or more, remain skeptical over how effective the movement will be in helping to bring about racial equality. On the contrary, about 40 percent of white people, mostly Democrats and those under 30, express some level of support for the movement. When split along party lines, 64 percent of white Democrats and 42 percent of independents support Black Lives Matter, while only 20 percent of white Republicans, who are among the least likely to believe in the movement’s potential impact, feel the same. 

4. Black people believe institutional racism is a critical problem while more white people say individual instances of discrimination are a bigger concern.

An overwhelming number of white people, 66 percent, say that individual instances of discrimination in America are a bigger problem than institutional racism while only 19 percent of white people feel the latter is a larger concern. However, the black opinion is more evenly distributed (48 percent and 40 percent, respectively). Despite the large number of white people who don’t see institutional racism as a problem, it has a real effect on black men and women who believe they are treated less fairly than whites in dealing with the police (84 percent), when applying for a loan mortgage (66 percent), in the workplace (64 percent), in stores and restaurants (49 percent) and when voting (43 percent).

“Across all of these realms, whites are much less likely than blacks to perceive unequal treatment,” the study says.

5. Black people experience discrimination at a much higher rate than whites.

Around 71 percent of black people say that have been treated unfairly because of their race: 47 percent say people have acted suspicious of them, 45 percent say people have treated them as if they are not smart and 18 percent say they have been unfairly stopped by police. These numbers tower over those of whites where only 30 percent say they have been discriminated against on account of their race.

6. Racial gaps persist when it comes to household income and poverty.

The median income for black households is around $30,000 less than those of white households and black families are nearly are more than twice as likely as whites to live in poverty. An overwhelming number of black people attribute the reasons for why black people lag behind to critical societal factors like racial discrimination (70 percent), poor schools (75 percent) and lack of jobs (66 percent). However, attitudes towards racial discrimination show the most glaring and widest gap with only 36 percent of white people (almost half the number of black people) believe it plays a role in black people having a harder time getting ahead.

To read the full Pew study, click here. 

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