July 23rd, 2008
09:00 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Blacks, whites don't see eye-to-eye on race relations

(CNN) - A new national poll suggests that black and white Americans don’t see eye-to eye-on race relations and racial discrimination.

In a CNN/Essence Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday morning, 43 percent of African-Americans questioned say that racial discrimination against blacks is a very serious problem, with only 11 percent of whites agreeing. On the flip side, 42 percent of whites surveyed say that racial discrimination against blacks is not a serious problem, with only 12 percent of blacks agreeing.

More than half of blacks questioned say they’ve been the victim of racial discrimination. But only 32 percent of white respondents said they’ve been a victim of discrimination because of their race, a difference of 24 points.

There’s also a difference of opinion when it comes to the future. Fifty-one percent of blacks polled say that race relations will always be a problem in the U.S. Only 41 percent of white respondents agreed.
When it comes to their children, a slight majority, 55 percent, of black respondents with kids under the age of 18 say they feel financially secure to provide for their children. That number rises to 72 percent for whites questioned in the survey.

The survey was conducted from March 26 to April 2, with 2,184 adult Americans, equally split between black and white respondents, questioned by telephone.

The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Black in America - Stories of success, struggle, pain and pride. Don't miss this CNN special documentary series, reported by Soledad O'Brien. Tonight, 9 ET


Filed under: Polls
soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. Shelby

    Blacks and whites dont see eye to eye on race issues, really? Now THIS is breaking news,lol. I dont think you really needed a poll to figure that one out!

    July 23, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. P, CA

    I don't think that people are willing to step outside of extremes for a moment. Frankly, I think it looks like this: in northern Cali, where I live, a lot of areas have racial issues licked. There are isolated pockets, of course, and I've observed racism in action plenty of times. Just like any other crime, it'll pervade as long as people hate each other and we've done the best we can. The rest of the racism is just a part of the wider battle against ignorance, fear, and stupidity..

    The common perception out here, though, is that there are other areas of the country that have full communities where the vast majority are racist. I can't speak to that fact, but I hope it isn't true...

    July 23, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. Janet

    There is an old saying that might make a difference. It says " Walk a Mile in My Moccasins " and then no words would be needed. When the only perspective that you view situations in is only your own, your viewpoint is limited.

    July 23, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Tel It Like It Is

    Isn't Soleda OBrien the person who said "there will be riots in the streets if Obama doesn't get the Democratic nomination"?
    Is that a fair prediction of behavior?

    July 23, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. DJ in TX

    Unfortunately, there will always be some discrimination. The best thing I can say about our youth is that at least race relations will be better (as long as we adults stay out of it and let our kids be together). Are things better than before, yes. But do we still have a long way to go, yes.

    I understand why whites think it is better. They don't see the overt racial discrimination they may have seen from earlier times. But today's discrimination is more subtle, so unless it is reported, it is not seen, thus giving the illusion it is not present. People have to remember, its only been 40+ years since the '60's. Slavery was outlawed in 1865. It was 1965 (or so) before there was universal suffrage (the right to vote for anyone over 18). Things don't change overnight. It takes a couple of generations unfortunely.

    July 23, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    It is ironic how the poll trolls measure racisim......America has had and always will have a pathological anxiety of racisim. It is a serious problem and we don't need the poll trolls to confirm with statistics. Racisim is racism.......to what ever degree.

    July 23, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. Cynthia

    I'm not sure that we do because we don't share some of the same experiences. I would like to encourage everyone, black and white, to watch this special. It might give someone who is not black some insight on what it is to be "Black in America".

    July 23, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. Kristi, MD

    Duh. The truth hurts. A white American will never let his/her conscience believe that he she is prejudiced – well gosh darn that would mean that he/she is prejudiced.

    July 23, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. Swampy

    Count me in the 11% of whites who feel that racial discrimination is a serious problem. Those who speak of progress are always talking about some future "horizon" when we will achieve true equality in this country. If you're black, there's no reason the future shouldn't be now.

    July 23, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. Greg

    Perception lags reality. Older generations often keep older views. White racists are surrounded by whites with broader minds. The lack of criticism of Rev. Wright by the black community and the votiing concensus about Obama shows a different story. Stop the hate whitey stuff.

    July 23, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. Jeffrey G. Brown

    I am not surprised by these numbers. I am a white man and it wasn't until I married a bi-racial woman and adopted black children that I realized racism is still a serious problem in this country.

    July 23, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Doug

    Now there is some news.
    That's like saying "Hey. Did you know that the military is very focused on Iraq?"
    When you have one group of people who have been priviledged all through their history and another group who has not been so fortunate, they're not too likely to see things the same way.
    Unfortunately, for some, the next president is most likely to be a major threat to the unenlightened simply because he is black.
    They don't see eye to eye. That is about as subtle as a heart attack.

    July 23, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. Jake145

    White Americans have not had to endure what many ethnic Americans have – especially African, Native, and Asian Americans. From slavery, Jim Crow, Segregation, Bigotry & discrimination etc.. all of these things have all helped many white Americans live fairly successful lives in this country. They've been given almost everything because of the color of their skin – schools, books, buses, the right to vote, neighborhoods, right to due process, educational & business opprotunities, salaries etc.. Many say "I didn't do it, my ancestors came from Ireland, scottland, etc.." BUT they all benefited from the enslavement of all of the above named ethnic groups. They benefited from segregation, Jim Crow Laws, discrimination etc. Any one who says there isn't a problem is a LIAR! and needs to check themselves!

    July 23, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. Kingslough NY.

    Whatever! Being racial is just plain stupid! Americans, get a life!!! Besides its emotionally and psychologically consuming. Who needs that??

    July 23, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. Open Your 3rd Eye

    You didn't tell us anything we don't already know? YES, America is and always has been unfair to blacks and minorities. Of course most of the white folks polled are not as aware of this problem because they have not walked in our shoes. I believe if they took more of an initiative to recognize and analyze this problem, we may be on our way to a more harmonized America.

    AND THAT HARMONY MY FRIENDS, WOULD MAKE US AS A WHOLE, A GREAT EXAMPLE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD TO DO THE SAME.

    July 23, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Eileen from Maine

    This doesn't mean that we white folks are dumb. We know, but don't believe that we are directly affected by it., so there is little reason for us to give it much thought. When we do put some thought into various situations around the country and the way we have heard some people speak, there is no denying that there is plenty of race discrimination.

    July 23, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Love My USA

    This is county has moved forward in the removal of racism, which is wonderful. It is time for t;he Media to stop using this to sell newspapers, etc. I grew up in the city pf Phila. and we all experienced issues with race in the 50 and 60's, Italian, Irish Jews Spanish and the blacks, but get over it , it was yesterday and that day is gone. let talk positive to have positive relationships with each other.

    July 23, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. twister49 - oklahoma

    Why not do a story on "What's it is like to be a Native American' in America, now there is real racism there......

    July 23, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. SHERRY WV

    We probably will never see eye to completely...but I think we all agree that Obama will be the next POTUS.

    July 23, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Peter of Oregon

    And... you expected blacks and whites to see eye to eye on race relations?

    July 23, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. Blacks against Wright

    yaw yaw yaw this is cryme time..!!
    No really???Well let me tell ya, that even mongst blacks there's divisions.Whether ya're a lil lighter or darker, brown or half-Indian(coolie), makes a huge difference in those villages deep inside Equatorial Afrika( Cameroon to Ivory Coast ) up to the shores of the West indies, let alone the States..Remember the Jamaican song:
    "If ya white ,it ahright,
    if ya brown, stick around,
    if ya black get back..!!!!..
    I dunno in white communities, but even good looking latinos or chineses dont stand a chance facing the "ultimate blonde"...So i guess Racism is stuck ' ere on Earth, (tho it's getting kicked about quite a lot since Gandhi & MLK)...i'm out

    July 23, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. Judgement over experience

    White people cannot understand nor grasp the complexity of what Black people experience unless they wear black skin so for them to say no problem exists is just plain stupid and ignorant. I can't know how anyone feels unless I walk a mile in their shoes. BTW I am white.

    July 23, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  23. Carl from MI

    Obama is White AND Black mixed... who better to bring the race relations together. Maybe all you McCain supporters think that McSame is better qualified at race relations too? The only thing he's better at is continuing Bush's failed policies!!

    July 23, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. Tony

    DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And this is news, HOW?????????????????????????

    July 23, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Terri

    My husband is white and most of my adulthood friends are white, but all my childhood friends are black and all my adulthood black girlfriends date white men but unfortunately I do believe that blacks and whites as a whole will ever be on the same page equally.

    July 23, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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