ONTD Political

Newsweek/Daily Beast Poll Finds Majorities of Americans Think Country Divided by Race

11:14 am - 04/07/2012
A new Newsweek/Daily Beast poll finds that whites and blacks have very different views on Trayvon Martin and the progress being made by African-Americans under Barack Obama.



A new Newsweek/Daily Beast Poll finds that America is facing a deepening level of racial division and polarization.

Majorities of both whites (72%) and blacks (89%) believe the country is divided by race, the poll finds. But twice as many blacks (40%) as whites (20%) say it is very divided. And just 19 percent of whites say that racism is a big problem in America, vs. 60 percent of blacks.

Meanwhile, the killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin has further polarized America along racial lines, the Newsweek/Daily Beast Poll finds. In the survey, whites are divided over whether they think Martin’s death was racially motivated. Thirty-five percent of whites say Martin’s death was racially motivated, while 30 percent say Zimmerman acted in self-defense and 35 percent are not sure. African-Americans, however, are convinced it was racially motivated (80% vs. 2%).

Whites also are divided on the question of whether Martin was targeted because he was a young black man–41 percent say yes, while 34 percent say no and 21 percent are not sure. Blacks are convinced he was targeted because he was a young black man (85% vs. 4%).

There also is a significant split over President Obama’s handling of the Trayvon Martin controversy—with a majority (52%) of whites saying they disapprove of the way he has handled the shooting while only 38 percent approve.

Blacks say the opposite—with near unanimous (87% vs. 5%) approval for the president’s handling of the shooting.

Nearly four years after the election of the nation’s first African-American president, majorities of both whites and African Americans surveyed say that race relations in the country have either stayed the same or gotten worse. Sixty-three percent of whites and 58 percent of African-Americans say race relations have either stayed the same or worsened—while only 28 percent of whites and 38 percent of African-Americans say they have gotten better.

Similarly, on the question of how Obama has handled race relations since he became president, whites disapprove (47% vs. 41%) while blacks are overwhelmingly positive (84% vs. 8%).

And when asked whether or not Obama has been helpful or not in bridging the racial divide in the country, whites say not helpful (51%) while blacks say helpful (69%).

The Newsweek/Daily Beast Poll found that both whites and blacks agree that racial stereotyping still occurs in American society today and majorities of both whites (72%) and blacks (89%) say America is divided on the basis of race.

But blacks and whites have fundamentally different perspectives when it comes to frequency, severity, and longevity of racial discrimination blacks face.

Whites and blacks disagree–and disagree fundamentally when it comes to when—blacks will achieve racial equality with whites. While a clear majority of whites (65%) say that blacks have achieved or will soon achieve racial equality, blacks are much less optimistic about the state of black progress. Only 16 percent of blacks say they have already achieved racial equality and nearly half of blacks (47%) say that they will not achieve racial equality in their lifetime or will never achieve racial equality.

African Americans were particularly sensitive to the economic downturn and were much more likely than whites to say that the prolonged recession contributed significantly to more discrimination in employment and housing. Sixty-five percent of African-Americans surveyed said that the current economic situation today has played a role in promotion racial discrimination, compared to just 42% of whites.

And while 70 percent of whites think that blacks in America have the same chance as whites to get housing they can afford, only 35 percent of blacks agree.

Similarly, 70 percent of whites think blacks in America today have as good a chance as whites to get a job for which they’re qualified—a view shared by only a quarter of blacks.

And while virtually all whites (92%) and blacks (95%) agree that racial profiling occurs at least some of the time, the two groups diverge over whether profiling happens all of the time—a solid 63 percent of blacks say yes while less than one-quarter of whites agree.

Both whites and blacks agree that it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that the courts and the police treat minorities and whites equally. But the two groups disagree fundamentally over whether it is ever justified for police to take factors such as race ethnicity and overall appearance into consideration when making an arrest. A majority (56%) of whites say that it is at least sometimes justified for police to use factors such as race, ethnicity, and overall appearance–a view shared by only 28% of blacks.

Nearly six times as many African-Americans as whites (29% vs. 5%) say they have been unfairly stopped by the police because of their race or ethnicity all or some of the time.

When asked whether the police and courts treat blacks the same as they treat whites in America today, 82 percent of whites say that police treat blacks the same as whites all or some of the time, and 86 percent say the same of the courts. A majority of blacks however, say that blacks are rarely or never treated equally by the police (53%) or the courts (52%).

The Newsweek/Daily Beast Poll was conducted by telephone between March 30 and April 1 from a random sample of 600 registered voters and a separate oversample of 400 registered African-American voters. The margin of error for the first group is plus or minus 4 percent while the margin of error for the second group is plus or minus 4.9 percent.

SOURCE
monaes 7th-Apr-2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
man that white privilege is really fragrant in this post
doverz 7th-Apr-2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
"When asked whether the police and courts treat blacks the same as they treat whites in America today, 82 percent of whites say that police treat blacks the same as whites all or some of the time, and 86 percent say the same of the courts."

Holy shit, those are some incredibly privileged and naive people to think so.
erunamiryene 7th-Apr-2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
And just 19 percent of whites say that racism is a big problem in America, vs. 60 percent of blacks.



GOSH WHY IS THAT I WONDER. I'M SURE IT CAN'T BE THAT "WHITE PRIVILEGE" THING.

82 percent of whites say that police treat blacks the same as whites all or some of the time, and 86 percent say the same of the courts

JFC, I'm a pasty white girl from one of the whitest states in the entire country, and I've never thought that, because THERE IS EVIDENCE EVERYWHERE THAT THAT IS JUST NOT REALITY. What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Edited at 2012-04-07 07:54 pm (UTC)
executivehpfan 7th-Apr-2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
People like you give me hope, bb.
maladaptive 8th-Apr-2012 12:43 am (UTC)
Because the evidence is biased or blown out of proportion, is what I hear from people when I lay down the facts.

GOSH RIGHT, JUST IGNORE THE PERSON IN LAW SCHOOL, I OBVIOUSLY DON'T KNOW AS MUCH AS YOUR GUT FEELINGS.
phoenixblaze 8th-Apr-2012 02:45 am (UTC)
Seriously this. I'm paler than a former friend of mine who was an Irish kid who never left his house. I make it a point to try to get outside every day. Alas, I will never tan.

I'm kind of proud that I have more real world understanding and am not disillusioned that everything is perfect for black americans. Maybe it helps that I've studied race/class relations in the last century in the US specifically or maybe it's from helping one of my closest friends deal with racial discrimination when we were younger, but I know just because I'm white I get special treatment and it fucking infuriates me.

Frankly, I'm ashamed of color of my skin because of this nonsense. Oh, but I was told that saying that makes me a bleeding heart liberal and that there's nothing wrong anymore. (That was a fun argument on facebook. I LOST it on that guy because he also tried to tell me racism is never a factor in anything anymore.)
lozbabie 8th-Apr-2012 03:57 am (UTC)
My grandparents are the same. My cousin married a Jamaican so their kids are bi-racial. The stuff they say about them is horrfying. They're not only talking about their own great-grandchildren but CHILDREN. (the oldest is seven) They call them monkeys in front of my cousin (and try to pass it off as a term of endearment) but they full on use the n word when that part of the family isn't there. No matter what my family say to them they think it's 'not that bad'

This is despite the fact these kids are already dealing with racism and the fact that their father just accepts its going to happen and he has to teach them to deal with it. It breaks my heart yet I have no idea of what he has to go through every day and I have no right to judge him for teaching his boys to live in their world.
bunnika 7th-Apr-2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
A couple days ago, my white mother informed me that Trayvon's story is indeed an indication of how big of a problem racism is--against white people. Because it proves how everyone likes to villainize white people when they commit crimes against black people, but not the other way around, and not for black-on-black violence. She seriously went on a huge tirade about this, even after I pointed out that murderers deserve to be villainized, and that villainization without incarceration isn't prejudice against Zimmerman, because he still fucking gets away with murder. No amount of bad press for Zimmerman is going to bring Trayvon back.

Ugh. TL;DR, I know. It's just that my mother now has a biracial grandchild, and she's still so fucking racist, it scares me on a personal level, and is a terrible demonstration of how racist most white Americans are, while thinking they aren't.
leaf_collector 7th-Apr-2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
It's just that my mother now has a biracial grandchild, and she's still so fucking racist, it scares me on a personal level, and is a terrible demonstration of how racist most white Americans are, while thinking they aren't.

:/ That really is scary for the child, I hope that he or she will be loved regardless, and that your mother can work past her prejudices.
The older I get the more I think the American way is hypocrisy and that few Americans truly come to understand the realities of this country - 19% at least, right? ha
bunnika 8th-Apr-2012 12:16 am (UTC)
I honestly think it's up in the air, and depends a lot on how "ethnic" my mother thinks my niece is. My niece has three step-siblings, and my mother constantly compares the two brothers (14 and 16 now I think), commenting on how handsome the one is, and what a "horrible shame" it is that the other looks so "ethnic." It's really fucking gross, and my sister's too enmeshed with my mom (abusive childhoods, long story) to make her STFU.

I don't know if I believe we've actually made strides toward equality as a culture. In some ways, I want to think we have, but I also think the birth of the internet spawned so much more fuel for hatred than was previously allowed amongst most people. I remember when isolation sometimes forced bigoted assholes to stay silent about their bigotry, and now all they have to do is google to find like-minded people to share in their hatred. :-/
pepsquad 8th-Apr-2012 03:26 am (UTC)
my folks did a total 180 from dumb ignorant white folks to WTF happened to my grandchild?!?!! i hope for a simular situation for my parents.
bunnika 8th-Apr-2012 12:18 am (UTC)
Of course they do; that's what Fox is for. -.-
lil_insanity 7th-Apr-2012 11:10 pm (UTC)
UGH, a customer at work went on a very similar tirade and I just had to stare at him blankly with a "wtf" look on my face since anything I could have said would have gotten me fired. That was last week and I'm still furious.
bunnika 8th-Apr-2012 12:20 am (UTC)
Ugh, I hate when you're stuck at work and can't tell customers to go fuck themselves and all their prejudiced BS. >.<
nikoel 8th-Apr-2012 12:03 am (UTC)
is a terrible demonstration of how racist most white Americans are, while thinking they aren't.

In my experience, this is because most white people think of racism (and other -isms) as "hatred" against other races so they think "Hey, I don't HAAAATE black/hispanic/asian people, I just distrust/fear/look down on them." It drives me bonkers.
bunnika 8th-Apr-2012 12:25 am (UTC)
This is a really good point, because I know for a fact my mother has never thought that she was at all racist. (Which dumbfounds me, because I remember things from my childhood like watching Disney's animated Hercules and her complaining that they ruined the movie by having those damn *racial slurs* for the muses.) She thinks liking some black people (who, by her words, "don't act black") means she's magically not racist.
nikoel 8th-Apr-2012 12:48 am (UTC)
My mom is similar. She's said a myriad of questionable things in my lifetime that made me o_O even before I really understood prejudice and racial issues yet if you ask her, she would honestly deny any racist tendencies precisely because she believes to be racist is to be hateful against another race. SMH forever.
bunnika 8th-Apr-2012 01:29 am (UTC)
Man, our moms should be buddies.

My mother still says blatantly queer-/homophobic things right to my face (and I came out to her eleven years ago) and will defend to the death that she's not being at all homophobic. Because her queer daughter waving her hands going, "HEY! Hi there! You're fucking offending the shit out of me!" means absolutely nothing.

Well that's not true. It means I'm "oversensitive." How else could I be offended by the completely non-homophobic things she's saying, right? -.-
nikoel 8th-Apr-2012 01:35 am (UTC)
That is just mind-blowing. I guess it's just easier (and preferable?) to stick to you own world-view rather than to hear some one else's and consider that maybe you were wrong.
roseofjuly 8th-Apr-2012 02:34 pm (UTC)
OT but I had mixed feelings about the Muses. I was happy that they were black women (and portrayed as beautiful black women) but on the other hand, stereotypical singing group of Magical Negresses providing backdrop to the story and Mammy-like encouragement to the confused pretty white love interest? Ugh.

But on a more related note, a close friend of mine is changing her name from an English name that means "fair-skinned" to a Swahili name and changing her middle name to a Taino name. She's Dominican and is thus a mix of African-descended people, European-descended people and Tainos native to the island of Hispaniola, and she wants her full name to reflect that - she'll have a name from each culture (her last name is Spanish in origin). Her parents were originally indulgent but now that she's asking for her birth certificate to do it legally, they are completely balking at it, accusing her of hating white people and wondering why she wants to associate herself with "them," meaning her black friends (including me, although I'm sure they didn't personally mean me). And according to my friend, they refuse to acknowledge their African descent.

I was standing near her while she was arguing with them on the phone and she reminded her mother that she's said some pretty nasty racist things against black people while they were at home by themselves, naming those racist things explicitly, which made me feel weird because I've met both her parents and they are the sweetest people and were very friendly to me. I'm sure they would not describe themselves as racist, although the context of this conversation indicated that they held such racist views, and I was like - wtf?

It just made me think - one, about how people have narrowed the definition of racist specifically so it does not include them, and two - more frighteningly - how insidious racism is within people, and how many people who seem okay on the outside hold deep-seated racial prejudices.
angelofdeath275 7th-Apr-2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
America is facing a deepening level of racial division and polarization.


Deepening? lol, its been there since forever
mskye 7th-Apr-2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
Although the results of this poll are saddening, they are not surprising. White people generally tend to live in their own world with no real understanding of what other racial groups go through. They remain willfully ignorant so that they don't have to feel guilty or change the way they perceive the world. This willful ignorance is such a cancer in our society.
poetic_pixie_13 7th-Apr-2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
Whites and blacks disagree–and disagree fundamentally when it comes to when—blacks will achieve racial equality with whites. While a clear majority of whites (65%) say that blacks have achieved or will soon achieve racial equality



Fuck this victim blaming bullshit. Honestly. I don't care if people are ignorant, that doesn't magically make this bullshit they believe and help reinforce any less racist.
pepsquad 8th-Apr-2012 03:27 am (UTC)
that gif is amazing and so fucking true
executivehpfan 7th-Apr-2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
It must be nice to live in a world where you don't think racism is rampant or a big deal in this country.
bleed_peroxide 8th-Apr-2012 02:45 am (UTC)
Well, ignorance IS bliss. You don't have to acknowledge that shit is fucked up because it doesn't affect you. Must be nice, indeed.
roseofjuly 8th-Apr-2012 02:35 pm (UTC)
Not only that, but you ALSO don't have to acknowledge that you are part of the problem and that you may be getting some unearned, undeserved privileges. You can continue to maintain the illusion that everything you have is due to your own hard work.
romp 7th-Apr-2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
African-Americans, however, are convinced it was racially motivated (80% vs. 2%).
Only 2% know that the killing of an unarmed black man is a regular happening? They believe a teen frightened a grown man 100lb heavier into shooting him and the fact that he was black wasn't a factor? How could that even be?

82 percent of whites say that police treat blacks the same as whites all or some of the time, and 86 percent say the same of the courts
This is frightening and makes me realize how much work has to be done to educate (white) people on prison reform, the death penalty, the War on Drugs, etc.

Clearly, white people who aren't ignorant need to speak up more often and louder. We're an irritant but at least those around us can't claim they didn't know better, only that they didn't care.
bleed_peroxide 8th-Apr-2012 02:43 am (UTC)
You shouldn't have to be a POC to realize that racism is a HUGE fucking problem in this country. Of course, these are probably the same ones that whine about "reverse racism" and have no idea how deeply they're swimming in their own white privilege.
tabaqui 8th-Apr-2012 04:24 am (UTC)
Who the fuck did they talk to? What the fuck is wrong with 'my people'? Why do people have to be such incredibly ignorant asshats?
*spits*
vexed_artist 8th-Apr-2012 05:02 am (UTC)
I want to punch every single person who insists that racism isn't a problem anymore. It just makes my blood boil...
hinoema 8th-Apr-2012 05:38 am (UTC)
Isn't this the same poll we posted about earlier with ~2700 'non-black' respondents and ~240 black respondents? So, yeah.
ennifer_jay 8th-Apr-2012 06:46 am (UTC)
"A new Newsweek/Daily Beast Poll finds that America is facing a deepening level of racial division and polarization."

roseofjuly 8th-Apr-2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
You know, I want to know from where all these polls are popping up and whether the people carrying them out made any attempt to make the samples representative of the national population. Not that I would be surprised that less than a fifth of white people think racism is a big problem (they don't have to worry about it), but just that I am wary of newspaper/magazine polls in general.

I also take general objection being called a "black" or "blacks" (black people, journalists), and I also take general objection to anything less than 100% being summarized as "blacks say." Most black people are convinced that this is racially motivated.

On a more cynical note, I'm not sure why I should care about whether white people think black folks have achieved racial equality? What the fuck do they know? I'm in that 47% who believes that racial equality will never be achieved in my lifetime, and I'm only 25.
lickety_split 8th-Apr-2012 11:12 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure why I should care about whether white people think black folks have achieved racial equality?

Because a lot of white people genuinely think that "racial equality" means "the approval of white people".
anyone625 8th-Apr-2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
How has Obama "handled" the shooting other than to sympathize with the grieving parents? Anyway, white people live on another planet, film at 11.

eta: This number in particular seems downright crazy.

82 percent of whites say that police treat blacks the same as whites all or some of the time, and 86 percent say the same of the courts


Edited at 2012-04-08 08:29 pm (UTC)
caerfrli 9th-Apr-2012 02:25 am (UTC)
I suppose by a certain definition of "some of the time"
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