Blacks and Whites See Race Through Different Lenses

Published July 25, 2008

Posted July 25, 2008 – When it comes to racial relations in America, hope is alive. Blacks and Whites may have completely different views about the seriousness of racism, but an astonishing 58 percent of both groups believe that America’s race relations “eventually will be worked out," according to a new Gallup poll.

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"I don't believe we've totally overcome everything that's necessary for equality, but I do believe things are getting better," says Ricardo Russell, a 30-year-old African-American retail sales manager from Oak Park, Mich., who participated in the poll.

Susann Matarese, a White 52-year-old medical receptionist from Port Charlotte, Fla., admits that she is a bit troubled by all the interracial dating these days but believes that race relations are "better than they used to be, that's for sure."

Still, according to the poll, which is the latest in a series of surveys on race by Gallup, 38 percent of both groups believe that race will “always be a problem” in America. Further amplifying the notion that Blacks and Whites tend to see the world completely different when it comes to race, two in three White folks say they are satisfied with the way Blacks are treated in America, while two in three Blacks say they are not satisfied.

In addition, the poll found, most Blacks say that racial discrimination is a major factor among the problems African Americans confront, such as dying earlier than Whites and being jailed at a much higher rate. However, most Whites see racism a minor factor or not a factor at all in those situations. But the Black perspective on such issues as employment and housing has improved in recent years, even though it far less rosy than the White perspective.

Today, for example, 52 percent of African Americans say Blacks have as good a chance as Whites to get any housing they can afford – that’s 8 percentage points higher than last year. Forty-three percent of African Americans say Blacks have as good a chance to get any kind of job they're qualified for, a 5-point spike from last year and 10-point increase from 2005. The poll queried 702 Whites, 608 Blacks and 502 Hispanics on issues of race between July 5 and July 6.

Is racism going away in America? Do you see race relations improving, getting worse or pretty much staying the same?  Click "Discuss Now," on the upper right or go HERE , to comment.

Written by BET-Staff

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