A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week reveals that nearly six in 10 Americans, including heavy majorities of both whites and blacks, think race relations are generally bad, and that nearly four in 10 think the situation is getting worse. By comparison, two-thirds of Americans surveyed shortly after President Obama took office said they believed that race relations were generally good.
America found out the hard way that the backlash against a black President brought out the racism long ignored by most of us. It was a rude (and in some cases, deadly) awakening.
The swings in attitude have been particularly striking among African-Americans. During Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign, nearly 60 percent of blacks said race relations were generally bad, but that number was cut in half shortly after he won. It has now soared to 68 percent, the highest level of discontent among blacks during the Obama years and close to the numbers recorded in the aftermath of the riots that followed the 1992 acquittal of Los Angeles police officers charged in the beating of Rodney King.
A big part of this is the rise of social media. Where shootings involving black victims don't make the news, they do make Twitter and Facebook. We're more aware of these killings, and they're happening more often.
The divide, seen in the answers to virtually every question in the poll, was stark when respondents were asked whether they thought most Americans had judged Mr. Obama more harshly because of his race. Eighty percent of blacks said yes, while only 37 percent of whites agreed.
“I’m not surprised it’s gotten worse under President Obama,” said Elizabeth Gamble, 33, an African-American cook from Albany, Ga., “because he’s black, and so he already had that strike against him once he got into office.”
Deep racial schisms were also evident in responses about law enforcement and the criminal justice system. About three-fourths of blacks said they thought that the system was biased against African-Americans, and that the police were more likely to use deadly force against a black person than a white person. Only 44 percent of whites felt that the system was biased against blacks.
Clearly, views of the police are informed by personal experience. Four in 10 blacks, and nearly two-thirds of black men, said they felt they had been stopped by the police just because of their race or ethnicity, compared with only one in 20 whites. Fully 72 percent of blacks said they had suffered what they perceived as racial discrimination, compared with 31 percent of whites.
At a time when the unemployment rate for blacks is double that for whites and black households earn 40 percent less, blacks continue to assert they do not enjoy an equal shot at attaining financial success. The share of blacks who said whites have a better chance to get ahead rose by 14 percentage points in about a year’s time, to 60 percent. More than half of whites said blacks have equal opportunities, compared with about a third of blacks who said so.
The problem isn't race relations. The problem is the reality of black America in the era of social media is coming into the homes, the TVs, the PCs, and the tablets of white America, and frankly white America doesn't know what the hell to do about it other than to lash out.
We're seeing the results of that now.
I'm sorry that existing as a black man in America in 2015 upsets you so.
Naah, I'm not sorry. You needed your bubble popped a long damn time ago.