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How Black Americans See Discrimination

26 Oct

What percentage of black Americans believe racism and discrimination against black folks exists in America?

Pice a number between 1 and 100 and read on.

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How Black Americans See Discrimination

We asked black Americans whether they believe discrimination against black Americans exists in the U.S. today.

How many do you think responded “it exists”?

92%.

Of the 802 black Americans we asked, almost all said they believe discrimination against black Americans exists today.

One of the paradoxes of racial discrimination is the way it can remain obscured even to the people to whom it’s happening. Here’s an example: In an ambitious, novel studyconducted by the Urban Institute a few years ago, researchers sent actors with similar financial credentials to the same real estate or rental offices to ask about buying or renting a home or apartment. In the end, no matter where they were sent, the actors of color were shown fewer homes and offered fewer discounts on rent or mortgages than those who were white.Image result for black american poll experience with racism

The results even surprised some of the actors of color; they felt they had been treated politely — even warmly — by the very real estate agents who told them they had no properties available to show them but who then told the white actors something different. The full scope of the disparate treatment often becomes clear only in the aggregate, once the camera zooms out.

And yet obscured as the picture may be, black Americans take the existence of discrimination as a fact of life. That’s according to a new study conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which asked black respondents how they felt about discrimination in their lives and in American society more broadly.

Almost all of the black people who responded — 92 percent — said they felt that discrimination against African-Americans exists in America today. At least half said they had personally experienced racial discrimination in being paid equally or promoted at work, when they applied for jobs or in their encounters with police.

Overall, African Americans report extensive experiences of discrimination, across a range of
situations. In the context of institutional forms of discrimination, half or more of African
Americans say they have personally been discriminated against because they are Black when
interacting with police (50%), when applying to jobs (56%), and when it comes to being paid
equally or considered for promotion (57%).

Additionally, 60% of African Americans say they or a family member have been unfairly
stopped or treated by the police because they are Black, and 45% say the court system has treated
them unfairly because they are Black. Blacks living in suburban areas are more likely than those
in urban areas to report being unfairly stopped or treated by police and being threatened or
harassed because they are Black.

In the context of individual discrimination, a majority of African Americans have personally
experienced racial slurs (51%) and people making negative assumptions or insensitive or
offensive comments about their race (52%). Four in ten African Americans say people have
acted afraid of them because of their race, and 42% have experienced racial violence. Higher
income Black Americans are more likely to report these experiences.

African Americans also report efforts to avoid potential discrimination or to minimize their
potential interactions with police. Nearly a third (31%) say they have avoided calling the police,
and 22% say they have avoided medical care, even when in need, both for fear of discrimination.
Similarly, 27% of Black Americans say they have avoided doing things they might normally,
such as using a car or participating in social events, to avoid potentially interacting with police

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But within that near-consensus, the respondents reported having different kinds of experiences with discrimination, which varied considerably depending on things like gender, age and where they lived.

Take, for example, the question of whether discrimination that was the result of individual bias was a bigger problem than discrimination embedded into laws and government. Among the folks who said that discrimination existed, exactly half of all respondents felt the discrimination that black people face from individual people was a bigger cause for concern. But younger people were more likely to say they felt that institutional discrimination was a bigger concern.

There was also a city-rural divide here, with people who lived in urban areas more likely to see this discrimination as driven by institutional factors as opposed to individual bias than those who lived in rural areas…Related image

There were some stark differences in the way people in different income brackets said they experienced discrimination. Just about 2 in 3 people who earned more than $75,000 a year said that someone has referred to them or black people with racial slurs; less than half of all people who made less than $25,000 said the same. The same trend was true when respondents were asked whether someone acted afraid of them because of their race: Fifty-five percent of people who made more than $75,000 a year or more said this was true, compared with 33 percent of those who made less than $25,000 a year….More

 

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