Poll: Black Americans Don’t See Recent Focus On Race As Leading To Change

Many hoped that the racial reckoning after George Floyd’s murder would mark the end of racial disparities.

A majority of Black Americans believe that the racial reckoning after the murder of George Floyd in 2020 has not reduced racial inequality, dashing earlier hopes that change was on the way, according to a survey released on Tuesday (Aug. 30) by the Pew Research Center.

Two years ago, elected officials and business leaders promised changes after the infamous video which showed convicted ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, igniting widespread protests.

But now, 65 percent of Blacks don’t expect racial disparities in the criminal justice system, economics and other areas to change.

Indeed, this poll reveals a reversal of expectations. In Sept. 2020, half of Black adults believed the so-called national reckoning would lead to major policy changes, and 56 percent expected their lives to improve from those changes, the researchers noted.

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The survey suggested a division exists among Blacks on the question of whether structural racism or individual racism is a bigger problem. A little more than half (52 percent) said racism in our laws is the main problem, compared to 43 percent who believe individual racist acts are the largest threat.

But there was widespread agreement that the criminal justice system needs an overhaul, whether major or minor, to ensure Black people are treated fairly. About 95% said the police and judicials process need reforming, and 94% believe the prison system needs an overhaul.

At the same time, most Blacks want police funding in their communities to either stay the same (39 percent) or increase (35 percent). Just 23 percent wanted to see a decrease in police funding.

Few Blacks are optimistic that social justice reforms will ever be implemented. Only 13 percent said that changes are extremely or very likely. Overall, 44 percent of Black adults said equality for Black people in the United States is a little or not at all likely. And 38 percent said it is somewhat likely.

These findings were based on an extensive Pew Research Center survey of 3,912 Black Americans conducted online Oct. 4-17, 2021.

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