Poll: Views on Black Progress Remain Racially Divided

Forty-nine percent of Americans believe "a lot" more needs to be done since the March on Washington 50 years ago.

Posted: 08/23/2013 10:42 AM EDT

Fifty years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the nation’s view on race remains divided. A new survey by the Pew Center Research reveals that 45 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. has made a lot of progress in the past five years, but more needs to be done to achieve Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.

In a survey that asked Americans their views on racial disparities today compared to five years ago, 50 percent of Black adults say the situation for Black people in this country is about the same as it was in 2008. Twenty-one percent of Blacks believe it has become worse.

Whites have a more positive view of Black progress than Blacks do themselves, with 35 percent saying things have become better, compared to 26 percent of Blacks. Also, 49 percent of whites believe things are about the same and 12 percent believe they have become worse. 

The data also found that 35 percent of African-Americans have experienced discrimination or had been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity in the past 12 months. When dealing with the police, 70 percent of Blacks say they are treated less fairly than whites, while 37 percent of whites believe this.

This divide remains consistent when comparing treatment on the job, in the courts, and when voting in elections.

Financially, 59 percent of Blacks say the average Black person is worse off than the average white person, compared to 39 percent of whites and 36 percent of Hispanics. Twenty-seven percent of Blacks believe they are as well off than the average white person, compared to 43 percent of whites and 44 percent of Hispanics.

When it comes to camaraderie, 57 percent of Blacks believe Blacks and whites get along with each other pretty well, while 69 percent of whites say the same. 

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(Photo: Keystone/Getty Images)