Americans Agree Trump Has Been Bad for Race Relations

Alt-right activists and neo-Nazis march on Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, 2017. Their event left 40 injured and one dead. (Image via Anthony Crider/Wikimedia)

(CN) – More than half of Americans think President Donald Trump has had a negative impact on race relations in the United States – and most don’t see improvement in the future, according to an extensive Pew survey released Tuesday.

Nearly two-thirds of those polled say it’s become “more common” to express racist or racially insensitive views since Trump’s election, and nearly half say it’s been “more acceptable” to express them.

The Pew “Race in America 2019” poll asked more than 6,500 adults a variety of questions about race relations and racial progress, and the majority of respondents reported negative views.

For instance, 37% of white Americans think the country hasn’t “gone far enough” in giving black people equal rights, while 78% of black people polled expressed that view.

Half of the black respondents said it was either “not too likely” or “not at all” likely that they will ever have equal rights. Just 7% of white respondents answered that way. 

There is also a fairly large gap in Americans’ beliefs about the legacy of slavery. While 58% of white people polled said slavery has affected black people’s position in society either a “great deal” or “fair amount,” 84% of black respondents took that position. 

The reasons given by respondents for the obstacles to racial progress differ among races as well. White respondents were more likely to give answers like “lack of good role models” and “family instability,” while black respondents gave answers like “racial discrimination” and “less access to high paying jobs/good schools” in higher numbers.

A small but equal number of white and black respondents – 22% – identified “lack of motivation to work hard” as an obstacle.

While around two-thirds of all those polled said black people face unequal treatment from police and the justice system, there is less consensus about inequality in other areas like voting and health care.

In terms of personal discrimination, a majority of black people reported they have been treated with suspicion or as if they are not smart because of their race. Meanwhile, 61% of Asian respondents said they have experienced racial slurs or jokes, the highest of any race polled.

Forty-five percent of white people said they’ve dealt with others assuming they are racist or prejudiced.

The poll asked a number of questions about the acceptability of using “the n-word,” which varied not just by race, but by age and gender.

Half of black people older than 50 said it is “never acceptable” to use the word, while 43% of black women answered that way. Seven in 10 agree it’s never acceptable for white people to use the word, including similar shares of white and black respondents.

The Pew survey of 6,637 adults was conducted online between the end of January and the first week of February 2019.

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