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.

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

    Here comes the ignoramus.....

    July 23, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    I love all my white brothers and sisters, even if they do not love me. It's ok ,someday we will get there together.

    July 23, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. jean

    How can we not expect Blacks and Whites to have different opinions on race? Whites did not experience the sting of Willie Lynch, Jim Crow, slavery and oppression. Also, Blacks patronize all businesses and don't really care if the business owners are Asian, White, or Hispanic. However, for the most part, Blacks are judged by the color of their skin. For example, some poll asked if America is ready for a black president. I don't recall a poll that asked if America is ready for a white senile president or a drunken president. Black is the most oppressed race of all time. Therefore, race will forever be a problem in America because America is populated with Whites who think they are superior just because of their pink skin.

    July 23, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. MoveOn

    The polls show that 90% of African Americans plan to vote for Obama and 2% for McCain. To ignore the racial bias in these numbers is simply acquiescing to political correctness.

    It is apparent that the African-American community is significantly biased to their own race and clearly "play the race card" when it is to their advantage.

    "Race" will become far less of an issue when the African-American community realizes that the "race card" is played-out and releases their dependence on this crutch. One need only look at the successes of other "Races" to realize that it is the African-American community that continues to encourage this separation. A good first step would be to stop promulgating this separation through a contrived, hyphenated racial description.

    July 23, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Adam from NY

    I think you make an enormous mistake when you state that the gaps in these numbers are "differences of opinion."

    This seems like exactly the sort of thing which may be differences of experience.

    July 23, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    BIG DUH on this! When was the last time a white guy was racially profiled?

    July 23, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Meneka

    It doesn't matter the color of the skin,,,,OBAMA is the right and perfect to be the President or the King of the USA lol.....Send McCain to Iraq that is where he belongs. He is warmonger!

    July 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Jozee

    What?
    You must be mistaken!
    You mean that blacks and whites don't see eye to eye on race? You know, with the level playing field and all?

    Come on, CNN, don't waste any more money on this research.

    July 23, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. louisiana guy

    I have grown up in the south in a city that is essentially 50-50 black-white. I don't know what racism 42% of these blacks are talking about. Black people today are given so many head starts over whites, especially in the school system. For instance, african-americans have lower test score requirements to get into high-performing public schools, much lower scores on standardized tests to be eligible for national scolarships, and hundreds of college scholarships open only to blacks. Imagine a scholarship open only to white kids. Ha! Even with all of this, I rarely- if ever- see or hear white people degrading blacks because of their race, but I constantly hear black people making fun of and degrading whites simply for their race. And then they turn around and say white people are holding them down!

    July 23, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Melissa

    I think it may be difficult for white Americans to understand discrimination that still exists, in part because it may be more "subtle" in some cases, and also because they do not experience this on a daily basis themselves. It is often very difficult to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, and can be very tempting to belive that, if I don't experience it (and don't see it), then it doesn't exist. It would be much easier that way. Has progress been made? Absolutely. Could Senator Obama have been this close even a decade ago? Maybe not. But, one person's success does not wipe out or nullify real discrimination that people still face. Maybe it takes us, as White Americans, choosing to be grown-up and face a reality we would rather not see.

    July 23, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. THE TRUTH IS!!!!!!

    A new national poll suggests that black and white Americans don’t see eye-to eye-on race relations and racial discrimination.
    It depends on the age of the group surveyed and their racial experience
    Now personally I worked for a large telecommunication company
    for over 25 yrs overall the race relation was minimum and discrimination did not exist about 90 Percent of the employee were
    Union Members .........of course about 10 percent were die hard racist on both side and they were older and no change no way but they were low keyed and respectful of others and other words they did not wear a sign but you just knew ...it is what it is case closed

    July 23, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Rachel

    hmm I beleive racisim is a big problem, of course I am an african american, but I beleive it exists in all races blacks too. African americans get away with things white people get raked over the coals for. How else does Obama get away with calling his granny a typical white person, while Hillary gets raked over the coals for suggesting that LBJ had something to do with the civil rights movement too?. Have no fear thought if Obama is elected he will make all racisim disapper right?? At least thats what the media says people are saying. See vote for Obama he is black that will make things better. I would rather vote for Powell.

    July 23, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. mel

    I am black and it's not a problem,the problem is ours
    on black community. We are not educated enough
    because of the parent today are not bring their kids up
    right.Parents in the street and kid on their own without a
    book in their hands.

    July 23, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. East Coast Bum

    Hey CNN, tell us something we don't know!!!!!

    July 23, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. J

    What else is new?

    July 23, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. sky

    I grew up in a bubble. Race was not an issue anymore than red haired people was an issue. We did not notice it and our first years went without even the faintest idea that people were judged on their appearance. The first instance of racism I ever encountered was after we moved to western NY and a girl who I had become friends with told me that she couldnt play with me anymore because as we got older I would begin to treat her badly. She said that all white folk treated black folk badly after they got to be a grown up and so her father had her cut all ties in the 6th grade with any white friends. I was outraged. The thing that we all seem to miss no matter what our gender or race, is that we are a nation of individuals. There is no stereotype. It is a myth. No two white people are the same; no two black people are the same; we are all distinctly different individuals. There is not white speak. There is no black speak. There is only the speaking of the individual based upon the dictates of their own heart and their own personal experience. For ANY determination about anything, ever, to be based on race or gender is just plain stupid....all your little polls just reinforce this thinking

    July 23, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. allonfla

    Who paid for this poll? We didn't need a pole to tell us this!

    July 23, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. Independent in Iowa

    Try being gay. Discrimination isn't the only issue – I've had friends who have had their life threatened.

    The biggest difference is that I blend in. I can hide it – where someone who is black cannot. But I don't think the color of the skin is as important as someone's attitude. A good friend of mine is black and she agrees that if you act like a thug you are going to be treated like one.

    There are plenty of african american folks where I work that are respected professionals.

    July 23, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. non-white & non-black person

    As an outside observer who is not black or white, I have to say that what would happen if history was reversed and whites were the slaves 120yrs ago. How would society be today? I mean that is what is comes down to.

    July 23, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Steve

    This really isnt news...if you dont experience the discrimination you're not going to believe it's there...maybe there are whites out there who feel that race relations are better just because Barack Obama is running for president...that doesnt really change anything for the people who live day to day dealing with the fact that some people just dont like you because of the color of your skin...some people have become disillusioned because they live in the suburbs and their neighbors are white or black and they get along just dandy...but that's one part of america that people who live in over-crowed inner cities wont see...Believe me I live with the fact knowing that the job i'm in (even though it's a good job) probably wont promote me to an executive level over a white person with the same experience or maybe even less...thats just the fact of life living in America for some people...

    July 23, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. Neal

    Speaking as a white guy, I could say I don't understand, but as someone whose lived in one of the most segregated cities in America, Detroit, I'd be lying.

    July 23, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. RAY IN NJ

    It's like this: in order to know the pain of childbirth you actually need to experience it! No man can fathom the miraculous event of child-bearing. So, too, is racism! Blacks recognize it from a distance and know all too well it's debilitating effects. Unless one has experienced it and is experienced enough to recognize it, one cannot fully comprehend it. It is a humiliating and infuriating thing to experience. I have and it angers me to no end! When most blacks state something is racist, this is often after sorting through many scenarios in our minds. We are often shocked by it's rearing it's ugly head. We first try to decipher if it's just our imagination or some other reason. However, after you go through those scenarios, and/or see a completely different attitude or behavior and action with another non-black (given the same circumstances) one must deduce it's racial in nature. Most whites don't have to think in a 'dual-cultural' way. The fact is that blacks live and deal with America in this fashion – we are bi-cultural when we'd rather just be Americans.

    July 23, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. test

    I agree

    July 23, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. D-Man

    Why does the media continue to try to divide the country with such topics Black-White. I disagree with my mother on certain issues but the media has not taken a poll to see how many people diagree with their mother.

    Just stop it!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. its not about race relations; nothing is free in this country!

    Obama is proof that if you work hard you can succed in this country.

    If you think you cannot do better in this country, you probably cant. But that is not because the opportunity does not exist. It always amazes me how many immigrants in this country can buy houses 10-12 years after they came here with nothing. Is it because they have the desire to become successful? The idea that blacks cannot succeed is unacceptable. It is a state of mind in some that has to change. Just a thought.

    July 23, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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