July 29th, 2010
01:07 PM ET
4 years ago

Poll suggests pessimism over race as NABJ opens

Shirley Sherrod spoke Thursday at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego.
Shirley Sherrod spoke Thursday at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego.

San Diego (CNN) - Provocative issues regarding race will be on display at the largest gathering of African-American journalists on Thursday. This comes as two-thirds of blacks say they have been victims of racial discrimination, in a fresh CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, and a growing number say that racial tensions between blacks and whites will always exist.

Thousands of producers, editors, reporters, media executives and others are attending The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) convention in San Diego, which ends on Sunday. The annual gathering is a venue for journalism education and career development and provides networking opportunities for assembled media professionals.

It will also serve as a forum on an issue that continually inflames passions or stokes tension: race relations between minorities and whites.

Ousted USDA staffer Shirley Sherrod spoke at the convention Thursday and indicated she would sue the conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart - the man responsible for posting an edited video clip of Sherrod appearing to say she discriminated against a white farmer looking for assistance. The NABJ said it had invited Breitbart to also attend the gathering and that the conservative blogger initially accepted, but later declined.

A recent video posted by Breitbart, that was selectively edited, alleged to show Sherrod as admitting to racial discrimination in helping a white farmer. But the full context of Sherrod's March speech at an NAACP event vindicated her. President Obama apologized to Sherrod and the USDA offered her the chance to return to the agency.

Also at the NABJ on Friday, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele - the first African-American to lead the GOP - will take questions.

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows that more blacks have grown pessimistic about racial discrimination and race relations.

In the poll, 64-percent of African-Americans say they have been the victim of racial bias. 57-percent of all Americans believe that is a serious problem. But that number is far higher among blacks, with 80-percent saying that racial discrimination is a serious issue.

Equally troubling, more blacks now say there will never be an end to racial problems with whites.

In the poll, 59-percent of blacks say relations with whites will always be a problem. But that number is 14-points higher than just over a year ago. In May of last year, during the Obama administration's early days, just 45-percent of African-Americans felt that racial problems with whites would never cease.

"There is a big gender gap among African-Africans on this question," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Black men are evenly divided over whether the country will find an answer to its racial problems. Two-thirds of black women say that race relations will always be a problem."

Many people who will watch Sherrod's appearance at the NABJ convention are anxious to know if she will accept the USDA's offer to return to the agency after she was forced out. Another question swirling over the event: how her being an African-American played into the controversial episode.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone, with 1,018 adult Americans questioned. A special sample of 308 African-Americans and 303 Hispanics were interviewed for this poll. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: NABJ • Shirley Sherrod
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Sure, racial discrimination still exists. But it's quickly taking a back seat to discrimination based on social class. It's become very fashionable and completely acceptable of late to hate on the poor. After all, they're lazy and mooch off of those who "work for a living", right? If they just got up off of the couch, there are plenty of great jobs out there waiting for them. right? Why do you think public housing is disappearing? Why do you suppose that the social safety net is under the axe but "defense" spending is untouchable? Wait until after the fall elections. You'll start hearing the phrase "austerity measures" being thrown around a lot. Wanna guess what types of programs will be cut first? Have a nice day!

    July 29, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    "and a growing number say that racial tensions between blacks and whites will always exist."

    This is so true. There will ALWAYS be tensions between both races. I whole heartedly disagree with Sen. Webb's suggestion that we should abolish Affirmative Action.

    July 29, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. USN

    There will be racizm as long as there are democrats , They divide people by skin , age , money , buisness , anything they can . As long as people are devided they can have their way and hide behind the divisions.

    July 29, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. w l jones

    If one look for something you will always find it. So a person should go about his or her daily business and never run into any of racial problem they claim to incounter.

    July 29, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Jerry

    I find it even more appalling that an ethnic group of 14% of our country commits 70% of all crime.

    July 29, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Orlando Patriot

    Let me see if I get this straight: A group calling themselves the National Association for Black Journalists says there is race descrimination. Ummmm, Hello!! Of course there is!! Its called the National Association for Black Journalists, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Miss Black America, the United Negro College Fund, the Black Panthers, and so on and so on and so on.

    If any group even CONSIDERED creating a National Association for White Journalists, or a Miss White America, or a United White College Fund, we would be called racist (and rightly so) but another race can do this? Then claim THEY are discriminated against? What kind of crack are you smoking!!Why isn't there a poll of white people asking how many believe THEY have been discriminated against because they are white and you would probably get something closer to 90%.

    Yes there is race discrimination and maybe one day the blacks will not discriminate against the whites and we can then claim race discrimination has been eliminated.

    July 29, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Gaylon Barrow WHO IS NOT ASHAMED OF THE TRUTH.

    When it comes to racial problems it's all about the African Americans or the Illegals, RIGHT? None of these organizations or people care about what they say or do to the other races. to including, MURDER, RAPE, THEFT, AND BEATINGS OF PEOPLE WITH BRICK BATS. OF COURSE I KNOW WHY BOTHER FOR CNN WILL NOT POST THIS RACIST COMMENT, right again?

    July 29, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Jonny-Boy

    Blacks are unwilling to articulate any sort of terms under which they are willing to forgive and move on. Of course there will always be problems, you can't heal a wound if someone is unwilling to let it close. Blacks are totally intractable on the issue. I give up. Same poll said the majority of Hispanics feel there will be a resolution to race issues with them, I say let's work with Hispanics instead.

    July 29, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Tim

    Well, hopefully nobody acts "stupidly" to incite the flames.

    July 29, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Donnatella

    Is anybody surprised, I have no problem with black people but it will come a day when the race card is no longer relavent.

    July 29, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Dan Holiday

    I have a feeling that race relations in this country will never get better until organizations like this are done away with. There seems to be too many, black only, organizations out there, which in my opinion is in itself racist.

    July 29, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    "Racial tensions between blacks and whites will always exist." As long as we choose to have tension as oppossed to acceptanceof one and another.
    This has been the strategy of both of the two major parties, keep dividing the people down into smaller minorities. Divide and conquer.

    July 29, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Jeff Spangler

    My advice is get rid of the usual irritating mouthpieces who perpetuate the stereotypes and myths, and build a new corps of credible literate change agents who can speak traditional business English without dropping their Gs or aksing questions.

    July 29, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Big George in Big D

    Yes, racial tension will always exist because the blacks want it to. They get their way crying "racism" at every little turn!

    July 29, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. racial tensions between blacks and whites will always exist

    I don't feel that way

    but I came to the realization that we seek out our kind or those that most resemble us some time ago

    others certainly will not agree with me, but the vast majority prefer it, marry along the lines of it, socialize that way etc

    we will always find something to pick at or divide us, but we don't have to if we don't want to

    who we socialize with etc is our own business

    July 29, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. Kevin in Ohio

    Racial discrimination will end ONLY when African Americans renounce their own racial discrimination and stop playing the victim and race cards.

    July 29, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Debby

    Yeah the man later declined when he found out he was being sued. I don't blame him for not attending. Its funny why doesn't CNN poll white people to see if they have the same feeling the blacks do. I think you will see who the real racists are and maybe this black/white thing can be put to bed.

    July 29, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. ja

    Breitart's actions was mean, unethical, but he is labeled as a consrvative watchdog of sorts, lower than whale manure

    July 29, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Mahealani

    Breibart, knew what he was doing when he single her out to attack this woman & called her a racist & everyone jump on board for a free ride into history including CNN, Fox, NAACP, & the Adminstration. When will he learn telling untruths will lead to the TRUTH. It had taken less than 48 hours he has been exposed with more LIES.

    July 29, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. dennis

    Well I am white and I have had mexicans and blacks be racial towards me what about the white people that this happens to. Of course nothing is ever done about or said about it because we are WHITE>>>>>>>>>>>>

    July 29, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. Dean

    I wonder if the Black community realizes how much they bring racism on themselves.
    They have NABJ, NAACP,BIG, Black Oraganization of Airline Pilots, Black Career Women, BET, Black Miss America, Black Pages, A Mighty River,National Urban League, Rainbow Push Coalition.........and the list goes on forever.
    You are the ones segragating yourselves from the rest of society, not us.

    July 29, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. Gecko

    The headlong momentum of the apology train seems to have gotten her blood up. No surprise there.

    It's hard to see the merit in her threatened lawsuit, since no one doctored the clip.

    And I'd take that "two-thirds of blacks say they have been victims of racial discrimination" with a Mt. McKinley of salt. I don't doubt that's what they said. It's just that many blacks, after decades of "blame Whitey" mind-washing, have become petulant, aggrieved, overgrown children. And, like spoiled children, they'll see and hear what they want to.

    July 29, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. hypocricnnation

    That's Because You Don't Have Serious People Who Want To End Racial Discrimination, And The Ones Who Do Get Drowned Out Or Never Taken Serious.

    July 29, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Ron in california

    Since I'm not black..I suspect my comments will be seen as racist. Here goes. If you look at life through biased eyes all you will see is bias. If you do then you will think that everyone who speaks out against President Obama agenda and policies is a racist. If you do you will fail to see a large black middle class, Black professionals, Doctors. Senators, governors, Congressmen, mayors, Generals
    CEO's, Music Moguls, Airline pilots. Need i go on? I think that if we looks at life through biaised eyes, then everything negative that happens to you is racism. It's not.

    July 29, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Bill

    Another racist group. Why is there no "NAWJ" or "NAAWP"? You know why. It would be racist.

    July 29, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |