Thanks Obama: Study Shows White Republicans Blame Black President For Their Own Bigotry
Study Shows What Americans Think About Our Racial Divide…And Who Republicans Blame
A study released on last June by the Pew Research Center offers keen — and often disheartening — insight into how Americans perceive race across the country in 2016, where racism is believed to exist and the impact that President Barack Obama has had on American race relations. The in-depth examination exposes the differing views between Republicans and Democrats, as well as black and white Americans and leads to the somewhat obvious conclusion that our collective discussion about racism in the US is far from over:
A new Pew Research Center survey finds profound differences between black and white adults in their views on racial discrimination, barriers to black progress and the prospects for change. Blacks, far more than whites, say black people are treated unfairly across different realms of life, from dealing with the police to applying for a loan or mortgage. And, for many blacks, racial equality remains an elusive goal.
The study finds that very few African-Americans believe that racial equality has been achieved, and they remain split on whether or not it ever will:
An overwhelming majority of blacks (88%) say the country needs to continue making changes for blacks to have equal rights with whites, but 43% are skeptical that such changes will ever occur. An additional 42% of blacks believe that the country will eventually make the changes needed for blacks to have equal rights with whites, and just 8% say the country has already made the necessary changes.
White Americans remain more optimistic in general, according to the report:
A much lower share of whites (53%) say the country still has work to do for blacks to achieve equal rights with whites, and only 11% express doubt that these changes will come. Four-in-ten whites believe the country will eventually make the changes needed for blacks to have equal rights, and about the same share (38%) say enough changes have already been made.
Republicans Predictably Blame You-Know-Who
Forgive the obvious pun, but the study’s results are literally more than “black and white”. When polled on the role that President Obama has played in American race relations, the outcome isn’t moved as much on our ancestry as it is on our voting habits:
When asked specifically about the impact President Barack Obama has had on race relations in the U.S., a majority of Americans give the president credit for at least trying to make things better, but a quarter say he has made race relations worse. Blacks and whites differ significantly in their assessments. Some 51% of blacks say Obama has made progress toward improving race relations, and an additional 34% say he has tried but failed to make progress. Relatively few blacks (5%) say Obama has made race relations worse, while 9% say he hasn’t addressed the issue at all.
Yet notice who fuels the differences between us:
Among whites, 28% say Obama has made progress toward improving race relations and 24% say he has tried but failed to make progress. But a substantial share of whites (32%) say Obama has made race relations worse. This is driven largely by the views of white Republicans, 63% of whom say Obama has made race relations worse (compared with just 5% of white Democrats).
Sixty-three percent. I’d sincerely like to know the thought processes that led a near super-majority of white Republicans to the conclusion that the President has made race relations worse. Was it simply the audacity to run for office in the first place? What were their expectations? A white conservative blaming a black President for damaging race relations harkens back to our deepest and ugliest periods of racial strife. It projects an idea that simply by his name, heritage and appearance, he’s “unworthy” to hold the highest office in the land. Make no mistake, this has nothing to do with healthcare, taxes, ISIS, marriage equality or the deficit. Neither Jimmy Carter nor Bill Clinton was expected to make white America feel better about itself and its history.
Updated 9/1/2017 Featured Photo by Getty Images News
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Ed Hanratty is a Reverb Press contributor and freelance political journalist. A lifelong New Jerseyan, he prides himself on having just enough Garden State sarcasm and skepticism to keep his bleeding heart in check. Keep up with Ed’s work and random ramblings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the links below…but not Snapchat — that’s where he’s decided to draw the social media line. (For Now)