For many, Barack Obama’s election to the position of president is a sign that we are officially in a post-racial society. But most of us realize this just isn’t true. And a new Pew Research Center survey finds some very profound differences between how Black and white adults view racial discrimination, barriers to Black progress and the prospects for change.
Far more than whites, Blacks believe they are treated unfairly across different realms of life, from dealing with police to applying for financial loans and/or mortgages.
For many Blacks, racial equality remains a difficult goal. An overwhelming majority of Blacks, 88 percent, say the country needs to continue to make changes for African Americans in order for them to have equal rights. Forty-three percent of Blacks survey are skeptical that such changes will ever occur.
Fifty-three percent of whites say the country still has work to do in terms of race relations, particularly for Blacks to achieve equal rights with whites. Just 11 percent of whites express doubt that these changes will come.
“The survey finds that Black and white adults have widely different perceptions about what life is like for Blacks in the U.S.,” the report states. “For example, by large margins, Blacks are more likely than whites to say Black people are treated less fairly in the workplace (a difference of 42 percentage points), when applying for a loan or mortgage (41 points), in dealing with the police (34 points), in the courts (32 points), in stores or restaurants (28 points), and when voting in elections (23 points). By a margin of at least 20 percentage points, Blacks are also more likely than whites to say racial discrimination (70% vs. 36%), lower quality schools (75% vs. 53%) and lack of jobs (66% vs. 45%) are major reasons that Blacks may have a harder time getting ahead than whites.”
Blacks are also far more likely than whites to say they have experienced financial hardship in the past year. Roughly 41 percent of Blacks say they have had trouble paying their bills, and about 23 percent say they have gotten food from a food bank or food pantry during this period.
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