January 14, 2008

Personal Factors Limit Black Progress

66%

Two in three Americans believe personal factors, rather than racial discrimination, explain why many African Americans have difficulty getting ahead in life.

Two-thirds of all Americans, including a narrow majority of blacks, now say that personal factors, rather than racial discrimination, explain why many African Americans have difficulty getting ahead in life; just 19% primarily blame discrimination. While clear differences exist between white and black views on this question, these racial disparities are significantly less pronounced than those observed in other areas covered by a Pew survey conducted in the fall of 2007, including questions that measured perceptions of the overall levels of discrimination faced by blacks. Overall, most whites (71%), Hispanics (59%) and a narrow majority of blacks (53%) believe that blacks who have not gotten ahead in life are mainly responsible for their own situation. At the same time, three-in-ten blacks (30%) blame racism for failures to advance, a view shared by 24% of all Hispanics and 15% of whites. Read More