As the country prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic March on Washington speech, a new Pew Research study on attitudes toward racial equality finds that most of us believe that when it comes to equality, we’ve come a long way since the march but still have a long way to go before King’s dream is fully realized.
The study’s findings, which ran in the New York Times, show that the majority of black and white Americans don’t believe that “a lot” of progress has been made toward achieving racial equality.
Blacks and whites generally agree that the two races get along well, but about 7 in 10 blacks and more than 1 in 4 whites also concur that blacks are treated unequally by the criminal justice system. A majority of blacks also say they are treated less fairly than whites in public schools and in the workplace. Fully 1 in 3 blacks, 1 in 5 Hispanic Americans and 1 in 10 whites said they were treated unfairly within the last year because of perceptions of their race.
One of the report’s authors, Rich Morin, told the Times he was surprised by the findings.
“Whites and blacks view their communities very differently in terms of how blacks are treated,” Mr. Morin said. Over all, he said, “we’re clearly headed in the right direction.”
“People saw progress,” he said, “but they want more.”
More than 2,200 adults were polled in the study, which was conducted after the Supreme Court adjusted the parameters of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in June, thereby allowing nine states to change election laws without federal approval.
Read more at the New York Times.