Most adults in the United States believe that the nation’s legacy of slavery continues to take a toll on the position of African Americans in American society. Four in 10 agree that the country “hasn’t made enough progress toward social equality,” a recent Pew Research survey revealed.
In addition, those surveyed believe that President Donald Trump has poorly handled race relations. Fifty-eight percent believe that relations are bad and see no signs of improvement. Fifty-six percent think Trump has made relations worse; 15 percent said that he has improved race relations, while 13 percent noted that he has tried but failed to achieve this end. Two-thirds reported that people have been enabled to express racist comments since Trump took office two years ago.
“Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are more likely than whites to say being white helps people’s ability to get ahead at least a little,” the study found. “Among whites, those who are more educated, as well as those who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, are particularly likely to see advantages to being white.”
Opinions also vary along party lines. The survey found that Democrats are more likely than Republicans and GOP sympathizers to say “it has become more common and more acceptable for people to express racist and racially insensitive views since Trump was elected president.” Eighty-four percent of Democrats say this trend is more common and 64 percent believe racist views are more acceptable, whereas 42 percent of GOP supporters say it has become more common and only 22 percent think that it has become more acceptable to express such views.
When it comes to assessing race relations during the Barack Obama years, the survey encountered a political rift. Fifty-five percent of Democrats think the former president improved race relations, and 8 percent say he worsened them. Conversely, 51 percent of Republicans believe Obama made race relations worse, and 14 percent say he made strides in improving them. White and Black Democrats, the study noted, offer different views on how Obama handled this issue during his presidency.
When asked about treatment from the criminal justice system, Black and white adults offer different opinions, although both groups widely believe that Black people are treated “less fairly than whites.” With respect to the use of the n-word, seven in 10 US adults believe that it’s never acceptable for a white person to use that slur, 13 percent say it is rarely acceptable, and almost one in 10 say it is “always” or “sometimes” acceptable.
The Pew Institute polled 6,637 adults online between January 22 and February 5 in English and Spanish. According to the study, the center also looked at personal experiences with racial and ethnic discrimination, and the role race plays in their personal lives.
About the Author
Robert Valencia is the breaking news editor for The North Star. His work as editor and reporter appeared on Newsweek, World Politics Review, Mic.com, Public Radio International and The Miami Herald, among other outlets. He’s a frequent commentator on foreign affairs and US politics on Al Jazeera English, CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, Voice of America, C-SPAN, Sirius XM and other media outlets across Latin America and the Caribbean.