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. Judy

    The GOP is always saying how patriotic they are about America, and yet they don't seem to like Americans very much. This country is made up of a lot of different people and it's time we realize we more more brainpower seated at the table. That brainpower can come from women, blacks, latinos, Native Americans, anyone. It's not about color, it's about intelligence. We also want decent honorable people who won't sell the country down the river for a piece of gold, or should I say oil.

    July 23, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. John

    Raw poll numbers describing differences between white Americans and black Americans are essentially meaningless. Unless you take into account at least income, party affiliation, and geography (urban/rural) all we can conclude from the poll results is that people who are slightly poorer but more liberal and more urban have one set of opinions, while people who are slightly richer, more conservative and more rural have a different view. A real comparison would be to ask whether rich rural conservative African Americans think race relations are a bigger problem than rich rural conservative white Americans.

    July 23, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Linda K.

    This may be news to some white people, but as a history teacher I learned this lesson quickly. My students made sure I saw things from their point of view. At first I resisted, but now I'm grateful for those students who taught me another way of looking at things.

    White Americans are rarely discriminated against. But I'm a Muslim convert, so 9/11 brought its own lessons in prejudice. I would like to tell people that I can't "go back home." I was born here, and so were my parents.

    July 23, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. JJ

    And this is a shocker????????

    July 23, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. NY State of mind

    Find common ground before it's to late!
    Oil down $16 barrel since last week-now Dem. Congress looking hard at speculators- why would that happen if all legitimate.
    Gas down from 4.11 to 4.04 average, % gas down APPOX. 2%-WHILE OIL DOWN-APPROX.-9%
    Answer me this Rep. getting fat off oil supporting McCain- HOW COME GAS PRICE DOESN’T FALL AT RATE OIL DOES WHEN IT INCREASES AT THAT RATE!

    SOMEONE ANSWER THIS –IF YOU CAN!

    Obama 08, only way out of the corruption and greed of our so –called leaders

    July 23, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I think its an excuse for failure....I'm not saying it never happens...but I would estimate that its far less than reported. How convenient it must be to have that in your back pocket...."they didn't hire me because I'm black" – when in reality....it was because you weren't qualified..or a bad fit for the position..."they gave me a bad seat at the restaurant because I'm black" – then why do I get a bad seat sometimes....(I'm white) – things just happen – drop the excuses....

    July 23, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. Noelle

    As a black American, I didn't watch her series. I know Soledad is doing her best and yes, she has discovered that race discussions sell more television ads, but I'm tired of it.

    Blacks know the problems-so what is the point of going on national television and airing the problems. We need solutions, not pandering.

    My efforts are on Barack Obama and making sure that he becomes our next president, not to solve the problems of black people, but to help the country move forward in a positive direction. As a black person I realize we have to solve our own problems.

    July 23, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Matt in NC

    Wow CNN, what an enlighening poll. Are there any polls that show that Christians and Hindus have differing opinion on monotheism? Or one showing that ranchers and vegans have differing opinions about Animal rights?

    Come on, this poll reflects common sense, and it certainly isn't news.

    July 23, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. demwit

    These findings are surprising?? Evidently CNN needs to interview Obama's preacher again, the Rev Wright, it's all about the message he's been preaching...

    July 23, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Alex

    I am disturbed...why is CNN bringing this back? Do they want a rerun of 1960's?

    July 23, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Claudia

    Blacks and whites don't know why they supposedly don't like one another, I've never heard a logically argument. It makes me no difference because the God I know loves us all and doesn't care about race.

    July 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Rich

    There are parents today who tell their kids not to talk to black people–any black person. So we have a long ways to go.

    God has a sense of humor, and the very people you think are beneath you, may have to save your life someday.

    July 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. mike

    Is there any new information here???? That's why we have the saying 'It's day and night!' OR 'It's black and white!'

    Is it really such a big thing that we have multiple view points coming from different races??? I seem to think it is health to see things from different angles!

    July 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. OBAMA OR DIE!!!

    White people don't want to agree because they think racisim doesn't exists. Blacks have to realize the truth because it's our reality

    July 23, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Here we go again with the race thing. Whites don't have to worry about racial profiling period, end of story.

    July 23, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. Don

    God bless America, this country will always have divisions on race relations.

    July 23, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. A.K.

    Duh.

    July 23, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. Jasmyne

    As a black woman I really wish you guys would get off the race issue. All you are doing is fanning the flames.

    July 23, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. zeia

    They never did and never will. That's the way life is...so get over it!!

    July 23, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Julia

    None of these results are surprising. Blacks and Whites will never agree on the existence of racism because it affects each differently. As Whoopi Goldberg correctly explained on the View, we do NOT, even today, live in the same world. This is based less on our present situation and more on our past. Both Blacks and Whites are still influenced by the circumstances of the past but those pasts are very different. Instead of trying to convince Blacks that racism is over simply because it has a different name now, Whites should respect the fact that our histories are different and therefore our points of view on this subject.

    July 23, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Texas Trail Dog!

    IT'S QUITE OBVIOUS THEY DON'T SEE EYE TO EYE JUST BY READING THESE COMMENTS ON THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE. EVERYONE , BLACKS, WHITES, BROWN, RED, AND YELLOW IN AMERICA SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED, ME INCLUDED. WE HAVE SET AT OUR COMPUTERS AND CALLED EACH CANDIDATE EVERYTHING IN THE BOOK WE CAN CALL THEM OTHER THAN JUST SITTING DOWN AND LOOKING AT THE ISSUES AND WHAT THE MAN STANDS FOR. COLOR SHOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE, BUT IT IS OBVIOUS IT IS. I AM NOT BLAMING OTHERS HERE I HAVE BEEN JUST AS GUILTY. WE ALL NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK, A DEEP BREATH AND START ASKING OUR CANDIDATE OF CHOICE THE HARD QUESTIONS AND LOOK AT THEM THOROUGHLY THEN IF WE BELIEVE HE IS THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB, THEN OF COURSE VOTE FOR HIM. BUT THIS HATRED ON ALL PEOPLE CONCERNED SHOULD NE STOPPED NOW. THIS PERTAINS TO ALL RACES. THERE IS NOT ONE RACE IN AMERICA WHO ARE NOT RACISTS. I HATE THAT NAME AND I HATE BEING CALLED THAT NAME. BUT IF YOU DO THINGS THAT ARE RACIST THEN THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE. I HAVE BEEN GUILTY OF IT AS MANY OF THE BLACKS, BROWNS, REDS, AND YELLOWS HAVE. WHAT SAY LET'S STOP NOW AND LET THIS RACE FOR PRESIDENT PLAY OUT TO THE END WITH NO MORE NAME CALLING. AFTER ALL WE ARE NOT CHANGING ANYONES MIND NOW AT THIS LATE STAGE. MAY THE BEST MAN WIN.

    July 23, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. therealist

    African-Americans are still in grave need of a real leader. Obama has already failed them..

    July 23, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. Grog in Ohio

    An interesting analysis would be the age breakdown by race of these questions. I have a theory, that race is VERY much on the minds of baby boomers but on the other end of the spectrum for their children. An unforeseen benefit, perhaps, of integrating schools... in that the race is simply not on the radar for the "millennial" generation.

    181 days till the end of the Bush administration.

    July 23, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. Typical White Person

    So is there any objective measure of discrimination? All the polls ask people if they feel they have been discriminated against because of their race but feelings are not a reflection of reality.

    Example: A black guy wearing shorts that show a considerable amount of his underwear applies for a job as a cashier at Denny's. A white guy wearing jeans and a polo tucked in also applies. The white guy has a High School diploma and is currently attending a local community college. The black guy graduated High School but isn't currently employed or in college.

    If the white guy gets the job will the black guy say he was discriminated against? Or is the truth that the white guy dressed more approporiately and is showing that he can set goals and work towards them by going to college?

    If there was as much descrimination as they claim in this article the courts would be absolutely clogged with lawsuits...

    July 23, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I have to say that I think that there are still some places where Blacks and other minorities are not welcome. It is a sad fact in this day and age, but it is what we are currently stuck with. I don't think that the election of Obama will solve that. There are many problems that are within the system. If poverty and other kinds of needs are eleminated (yeah, it is that Star Trek utopian idea), then people will have no way to say that it is because this person (or group) has an advantage over me because of wealth (or something else). All people will be required to work hard and study to get where they need to go. If there is equal access to all that people need to get jobs and stay healthy (among other things), then we can begin to address other reasons why people are still hating other people.

    July 23, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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