July 24th, 2008
07:32 AM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Have conditions improved for African-Americans?

A new poll shows a racial divide over Americans' views on whether conditions in this country have improved for black men.

A new poll shows a racial divide over Americans' views on whether conditions in this country have improved for black men.

(CNN) - Although blacks and whites agree that conditions have improved for African-American women over the past decade, there are very different views on the status of black men, according to a CNN/Essence Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Thursday morning.

According to the new poll, while 60 percent of whites think that conditions have improved for African-American men in the last 10 years, only 35 percent of blacks agree. Nine percent of whites and more than a third of blacks say conditions have worsened for African-American males in the same time period.

There is greater optimism about the past 40 years, but the gap remains the same - 85 percent of whites and only 58 percent pf blacks think that conditions have improved for black men since 1968.

Conversely, a majority of both races believe black women have made progress over the last decade, and especially since 1968. The survey shows 65 percent of blacks and 70 percent of whites say conditions have improved for black women since 1998 while 75 percent of blacks and 87 percent of whites say life has improved for black women over the last 40 years.

The poll results are part of a CNN special report hosted by Soledad O'Brien, Black in America: Stories of success, struggle, pain and pride. The special airs on CNN Wednesday and Thursday night, 9 p.m. ET.

When it comes to media's treatment of African-American men, just a quarter of blacks think the media treats them fairly. That compares to close to 60 percent of whites who say the media treats black men fairly.

Both races believe rap music has been a bad influence for African-American men: 68 percent of blacks and 72 percent of whites say rap has negatively affected that demographic.

Meanwhile, when it comes to interaction between the two races, close to 60 percent of blacks report they have daily contact with whites; by contrast, 39 percent of whites say they have daily contact with blacks.

"Do not take this as evidence that whites who live close to blacks avoid contact with them," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "These results may simply be a function of the fact that many whites live in areas where few or no blacks live, such as Appalachia, the Great Plains or the Rocky Mountain states."

Whites are also more likely than blacks to report the same phenomenon in their neighborhoods, their workplaces, and in local schools. But when it comes to churches, blacks and whites say in roughly equal numbers that their church is comprised mostly or entirely of people of the same race.

"The old adage that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week may still be true in the U.S.," Holland said.

The poll was conducted March 26-April 2 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2 or 3 percentage points depending on the question. 1,014 blacks and 1,001 whites were surveyed.

Filed under: Polls
soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. Jan

    I can't believe the number of people who jumped on Ming Ho for saying that hard work will get you somewhere. Just goes to show that a lot of (dems)? out there still want to be known as saviours of "victims". Maybe blacks would rather have stayed in Africa where there is real racism. We are not responsible today for 200 years of slavery!

    July 24, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Jan

    I meant slavery 200 years ago! Just upset with all the negatives.

    July 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Independent in Iowa

    I believe they have. Blacks aren't the only minority in this country to face discrimination. You have latinos, gays, etc.

    Overall, as the old haters die off things are getting better.

    July 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Sal in Phoenix

    Conditions have improved for those blacks who want conditions to improve...we need to stop blaming todays whites who had nothing to do with slavery...schools are free, you just have to go! It's not the white's fault that black parents don't show the same nurturing towards their children as whites do..we need to stop making excuses and start taking responsibility for our actions and in-actions.

    July 24, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. LT for Obama

    I for one cannot understand why some of you lump us all into the same box. I have never expected to be handed anything from whites, I have never demanded an apology.

    I think that for those of you who want to make comparisons, maybe you need to learn the history of how our ancestors came to America against thier will. You see, a bunch of folk got on a boat and went to Africa and hunted young Africans piled them into their boats and brought them to America and sold them. Many were killed on these boats, many were killed for trying to escape. This is just a very brief history that you really need to do the research on. It such a small part of how we became the United States of America.

    I would also urge you to seek out the accomplishments of AA's in this country and their inventions that now help you live a more comfortable life.

    A proud AA who works hard for what she has and never asks for a handout.

    July 24, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Matt-NE

    Please quit fueling the race-baiting CNN.

    You are continuing to show your democrat ways.

    July 24, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. William, from Cali!

    As long as "whites men" feel threaten......... by "black men"; and "black men" are "comfortable with not changing their lowly position in "Corporate America", at the "Seat of Economic Power"; we are to forever, lag behind. And to those "Black women", that do "make it"; I say, "reach back, and give your man or that other brother, a helping hand", instead of a "slap in the face".......... that might just help make, the situation get a little bit better.

    July 24, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Nomad

    Race discrimination did not end with slavery. The sixties civil rights movement and brown vs board of ed. could be considered the end of government enforced racism. That being said for all the irish, welsch, german etc. it took between 3 and 5 generations for mainstream acceptance and educational success for each group. Tolerance in the US is 1000 times better then before and continues to improve but it will take time. Each grouop has it's own experience with discrimination and it is sad when we can't listen and accept. I would not tell a holocaust survivor that it was a long time ago and he should get over it. Native Americans got the worst of it because they now make up less then 1% of the US population I wouldn't say yea but you got free land. If people could could just post their own experience and not put down other people then that will lead to the discussion, but people have a hard time just listening

    July 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Xavier, Saint Louis, MO

    Good old America. It's 2008 and we are still talking about black and white race relation. I would love to see the day when everyone is consided, in this country, American! NO White, NO Black, NO Asian, NO Latino, JUST AMERICAN!

    July 24, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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