Whites think race equality is nearer than blacks do, study finds

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-08-24 18:50Z by Steven

Whites think race equality is nearer than blacks do, study finds

The Los Angeles Times

Emily Alpert

Nearly half a century after Martin Luther King Jr. described his dream that someday people would be judged not by their race but by their character, whites think a colorblind society is much closer to reality than blacks, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

The findings underscore the enduring chasm between the way white and black Americans perceive racism and its continued effects, as glaring gaps in wealth and education persist between the races…

…Whites are more likely to believe that racial equality is within reach because “the hideous things that have happened in our history — lynchings, cross burnings, the Ku Klux Klan marching people out of town — those things have tended to disappear,” said Jerome Rabow, professor emeritus of sociology at UCLA. Whites also point to laws against discrimination, he said.

But “when blacks talk about how they’re doing, it’s more about their daily lives,” Rabow said. Whites often miss the daily frustrations that blacks encounter, such as frequently being pulled over by police, or professors assuming they’re meeting with them because they did poorly on an exam, Rabow added…

…Large majorities of black and white respondents said they believed that their two groups got along well, Pew found. Yet Pew discovered that for both whites and blacks, the feeling of racial progress that followed the election of Barack Obama seems to have faded.

After Obama became president, higher shares of both groups of respondents said blacks were doing better than they were five years earlier. Since then, the numbers have dropped closer to previous levels, back down to 35% of whites and 26% of blacks, the Pew survey showed.

“That Obama effect is quickly dissipating,” said Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, professor of sociology at Duke University. “Having a black president doesn’t mean much for us in daily life.”

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