January 18, 2013

Blacks Say U.S. Still Has Progress to Make in Ensuring Equal Rights

81%

About eight-in-ten blacks said in a 2009 poll that more changes were needed in the country to give them equal rights with whites.

One year after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, blacks’ assessments about the state of black progress in America had improved more dramatically in a two year period than at any time in the previous quarter century.

Still, the poll found that blacks and whites continued to have very different views about the pervasiveness of discrimination against African Americans. In the survey conducted Oct. 28-Nov. 30, 2009, some 43% of blacks said there was a lot of anti-black discrimination, about the same as in 2001. Among whites, just 13% saw a lot of anti-black bias now, down from 20% in 2001.

The survey found other sizable black-white racial gaps in perceptions of bias. Blacks were much more likely than whites to say that the police do not treat blacks the same as whites.

They were also much more likely to say the country needs to continue to make changes to ensure blacks have equal rights with whites. Fully eight-in-ten blacks (81%) said so, compared with just over a third (36%) of whites.

But in what may have been some of the most intriguing findings of the survey, most blacks joined with most whites in saying that the two racial groups had grown more alike in the past decade, both in their standard of living and their core values.

Seven-in-ten whites (70%) and six-in-ten blacks (60%) said that the values held by blacks and whites had become more similar in the past 10 years. Similarly, a majority of blacks (56%) and nearly two-thirds of whites (65%) said the standard of living gap between whites and blacks had narrowed in the past decade. Read more