When President Obama was elected in 2008 many people believed that race relations would improve in the United States.
Well, that isn’t exactly what happened.
According to a new poll from the Associated Pres race relations in America have actually gotten worse since Obama took office. In 2008, the survey found that nearly 48% of people had a negative attitude toward African Americans. Today, that number sits at 51%.
Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor, said:
“As much as we’d hope the impact of race would decline over time … it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago.”
The survey measured “explicit racism” by asking respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with various statements about black and Hispanic people. The survey also measured “implicit racism” by quickly showing the respondent a photo of a black or Hispanic person before asking them questions about a “neutral” person. The study found that 56% of Americans expressed implicit racism, compared to 49% in 2008.
The survey comes out a day after a Colin Powell’s ex-chief of staff said that the GOP was full of racists.
“Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”
The Associated Press survey, however, racism was prevalent in both the Republican and Democratic parties. The survey found that 79% of Republicans expressed explicit racism and 65% expressed implicit racism. For Democrats, the 32% of the party expressed explicit racism and 55% expressed implicit racism.
Jelani Cobb, professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut, said that President Obama’s election was both a step forward and a step backward for race relations.
“We have this false idea that there is uniformity in progress and that things change in one big step. That is not the way history has worked. When we’ve seen progress, we’ve also seen backlash.”
Are you surprised that more than half of Americans have a negative attitude toward African Americans?