Study Shows What Americans Think About Our Racial Divide…And Who Republicans Blame
A study released on last June by thePew 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:
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:
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.
Considering that the racist buffoon who adopted the horribly loaded “birther movement” is now the president, these results should be about as surprising as humidity in the Everglades.