July 23rd, 2008
09:00 AM ET
13 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. Matt


    The democrats have been race-baiting the black community for the past 40 years.

    Hopefully, someday, African-Americans wake up and realize the Republican Party cares more for their interests than the democrats.

    July 23, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    The national poll suggests that black and white Americans don’t see eye-to eye-on race relations and racial discrimination. ( this is so true.) You have to teach racism to a young child. If you know anything about history of America this deeply rooted in the people. Thing are better now but we as a nation have a long ways to go. Look at the election now, There some American want vote for Sen Obama or Sen McCian because of the color of thier skin. this nothing new. GO Obama

    July 23, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. Turning the page

    Men and women don't see eye to eye on many issues. Adolescents and adults don't see eye to eye on many issues. This is redundant and playing on people's differences! I don't know why this subject is getting so much airtime lately!!

    July 23, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. theresa in Prattville

    Blacks know how America really is. We know how this country was founded and who ran it and how they ran it. We're very intelligent on the history of this country. We don't need the polls to show us how racism is still a major deal here. We trust GOD not America. If we trust America, we would be fools. GOD is #1 in our lives. We know HE brought us to where we are-NOT WHITES, NOT BLACKS BUT GOD DID IT....

    July 23, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. christina

    Racism is alive

    July 23, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |

    May I say Duh.............. this is why the conversation of race is so important. You have one race that REALLY AND TRULY BELIVE THAT RACE RELATIONS ARE GREAT WHICH IS INACCURATE IF THE OTHER SIDE THINKS THE OPPOSITE.

    July 23, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. lady in michigan

    "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."

    Note the breath-taking silliness of 32 percent of whites claiming to have been discriminated because of their race. How so? didn't get stopped by police cars while driving through gated communities? didn't get followed by house detectives in department store? Weren't tasered 9 times while getting arrested?

    Cue the comments of whites who claim they didn't get into college because of some black dude...

    July 23, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    It bothers me when whites say there is not a racial problem in America, They have never been black so who are you to say that. Maybe YOU are not like that but you can't speak for all of your people. I am a Black American Woman, Fortunately for me I am a light skined Black Woman so I don't feel as much as my dark skined brothers and sisters and thats another racial problem In America. It amazes me while we are in other countries trying to fix there problems when it comes to race, religion etc and we can't fix our own problems. Like my parents always said clean your yard before you try to clean someone elses.

    July 23, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. RAY IN NJ

    One more thing: note the attach on Obama by PUMA:
    "Some of the PUMAs accuse Democratic leaders of rigging the primaries to favor Sen. Barack Obama, while others feel that he is not qualified to be the party nominee, let alone competent enough to lead the country."
    Blacks get this attitude in corporate America every day (i.e. rigged = affirmative action, unqualified for the position, certainly not competent to lead a team). It this attitude that we always must question the motives of. What convinces us of the racial nature is the vociferous vehemence and zeal of those who posses this attitude. Where were these people eight (or four) years ago when Bush was running?

    July 23, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Phil G.

    "But only 32 percent of white respondents..."
    The comparison is this 50% blacks and 32% whites have experienced racial discrimination. But to use the word ONLY may sound like picking nits but you are talking 1 in 3. That is significant.

    I have no doubt that both races see the racial relations differently. But the choice of words in this article sure seems to have its BIAS.

    July 23, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. sue calgary

    Wht else is new?

    July 23, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Lisa

    Not true!!

    It may depend on the demographics where you live. A lot of racial tension remain in the south. Being from California I didn't experience racism until I went to the south. It must be a miserable life to hate someone because the color of their skin.

    Most of the racist are still stuck back in the 1800s. Hopefully one day they would see the light and welcome everyone not just those with the same skin color as them.

    July 23, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. wait one second here

    in its simplicity as an African American male, i am seen as a Black man, where a white person is seen as a man. the media has done a great dis service in its portrayal of Black men specifically, but ewe too have to take responsibility for the deterioration of that community. we had a greater foundation as human beings prior to the Civil Rights movement, a greater sense of community where we saw each other as just people. it was the false idea of integration, false in the sense that to integrate into the White mainframe constituted our value, not realizing that our culture was rich all ready. the influence of drugs into our community also made significant contributions, along with the racism....regarding the job market, education and housing (think white flight)...but we do see things from different perspectives. the fact that Obama does not have a greatrer lead in this race may be a result of how America sees Black men, ideas of fear and some guilt.

    July 23, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |

    I think that people have their opinions from opposite sides of the spectrum. You are asking Blacks and Whites the same question but they both have totally opposite experiences. We see why we are making anything about us not seeing eye to eye. There are some white people who are pretty well in tuned with what Black people go through and even they don't really know how it feels emotionally. They may see it, understand what we are going through but not feel the same pain, hurt or mental slavery aspect of what has been going on for 100+ Years now. Then there are some who have no clue of anything and can't see why Black people feel they are discriminated against. I just hope with all this talk about Black and white that something good comes about it. I know there are people out there who may like the way things are because it benefits them, but I think it would be a beautiful thing when all people are treated and feel like they are created equally.

    July 23, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Biffington, Biff

    43 percent of African-Americans questioned say that racial discrimination against blacks is a very serious problem, WITH ONLY 11 PERCENT OF WHITES AGREEING.


    (how can you agree with something you know nothing about, while the other side has to deal with the reality of it DAILY)

    July 23, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. Stacy Clarks



    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Doug, New Jersey

    Liberal white guilt has done far more harm to race relations and the struggle for African Americans to become equal in America than anything else.

    Most whites don't understand that most of the things they take issue with that so called "black America" is saying is really just words spoken from white liberal democrats who are following their divide and conquer plan that has been in place since the 1960's.

    It is time for whites in America to wake up and realize that Liberal Democrat whites have far more harid for white people than any Rev. Wright, Al Sharpton ETC could ever have.

    The hate against whites spoken by liberal white professors at our universities is far worse than the hateful crap that even the kkk is spewing.

    Liberals and their ideology of hatrid can only flourish in a divided America that is made up of people who define their being by silly things like race, nationality, sexuality or religion. Do your part by at least treating people and judging them by conservative values, that is by their interests, what they do for a living and what they believe in rather than the liberal way of only focusing on their skin color, what sex they are attracted to and what nation their great great great great grandparents came from.

    July 23, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. mediabias

    As a black American, I have been discriminated against in the past, but that is where I choose to leave it n the past. I worked my way through college while in the Army. I believe America is the only place on earth where you can change your situation through hard work and determination. I don't want wear racism as an anchor or and excuse for not being successful. I kept my eye on the prize until I change my situation. I believe the heart is where each individual needs to start when it comes to race relations. No amount of talking about the past will change anything. An individual has to decide to do better. An individual has to decide not to be racist or not to be prejudice.

    July 23, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Rob in DC

    It is still a problem in America. I will say that most White Americans do not discriminate, but the problem with this poll is that those same White americans are not in touch with the Black community. So they just dont know. They feel like since they are not that way and they dont personally experience it, that it does not exist. I would encourage EVERYBODY – whites, blacks, yellows, browns – to watch Soledad O'Brien's CNN special tonight and tomorrow to get a better sense of these issues. I'm sure it will be an eye opener for many, including myself.

    July 23, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. Phil

    White people have no idea what's going on when it comes to racism...

    July 23, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Loretta from California

    well, you see the reason for this is simple.

    Blacks are on the receiving end of discrimination, and in todays society if you cannot feel it, or if it does not affect you personally, it's not a problem.


    July 23, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. Kathy in Michigan

    What a waste of time and money. Of course race is a problem in this country. Whites are not willing to publically acknowledge that this country would not exist without the free labor of blacks, including the building of the White House.

    That is the facts, slavery was an economic solution to whites and blacks have not yet been compensated or even acknowledged for the work that built the country, yet many whites have so many "answers" to the african american problem.

    July 23, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. gary


    July 23, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Tim from Ohio

    I am an educated white man living in America and I can say for sure that I am the new minority.

    July 23, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. anonymous

    Racial discrimmination and race relations are two separate questions. Ask the question, "Do you feel comfortable working and living in a socially mixed environment? "

    July 23, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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