A recent Gallup survey has revealed that despite well documented incidences of racial prejudices and the rise of social movements such as Black Lives Matter, blacks and Latinos are significantly more satisfied with the direction the country is headed than whites.
According to Gallup, 47 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of blacks who participated in the survey indicated they were satisfied with how things were going in the U.S. By contrast, only 28 percent of whites reported the same level of satisfaction on the survey.
The Minority Rights and Relations survey, which was conducted between June 7 and July 1, fell just shy of overlapping into a recent string of July police shootings resulting in the death of several African Americans and reigniting nationwide protests. Thus the impact of these events are not clear in the data.
The Gallup survey has been conducted annually since 2001. According to the Washington Examiner, whites reported a higher satisfaction score on the survey during the years of the Bush administration, and the figure decreased after President Obama took office. Blacks and Hispanics, on the other hand, reported lower survey scores during Bush’s administration, but their scores rose following Obama’s election.
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This data appears to reflect a white tendency toward the Republican Party as minorities generally self-identify as democrats or independents. In fact, a 2012 Gallup poll indicated that 89 percent of surveyed people identifying as republicans were white, compared to 60 percent for democrats and 70 percent for independents.
Though likely a factor in the shift over the past 16 years, the results of Gallup‘s survey are probably not exclusively tied to political parties and current U.S. presidents. A CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation survey taken late last year by CNNMoney indicated that 55 percent of blacks and 52 percent of Latinos believed they had a better shot at achieving the American dream than their parents did. Only 35 percent of whites surveyed reported the same. Therefore, as with the Gallup survey, the data suggest minorities are also more hopeful about the future.
Though minorities have come a long way since the civil rights movements of the 1960s, they still trail far behind their white brethren in wealth, income, and employment. In fact, the income gap between blacks and whites has nearly tripled over the past 25 years, suggesting in many ways that the races are becoming even less equal.
71.9 percent of whites own homes, whereas only 46.1 percent of Hispanics and 42.4 percent of blacks are homeowners. Likewise, unemployment rates for blacks are more than double that of whites, with Hispanics falling roughly in the middle, according to CNNMoney‘s survey.
Despite the relatively positive outlook minorities are taking according to the Gallup survey, it is impossible to deny the wedge that separates us. Based on current political trends, many experts doubt a solution to the complex inequality will soon come to pass.
“We have a lot of rhetoric about taking America back,” said chief economist Nicole Smith from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce to the Atlantic. “A lot of rhetoric about not focusing on equity and not paying any attention to differences, and perhaps being afraid or tired of the political correctness that a multicultural society requires for success.”
Regardless of the differences in satisfaction with the country’s direction, all three of Gallup‘s surveyed groups reported strong satisfaction with their own personal lives, whether or not they were satisfied with the direction the United States is heading. Greater than 85 percent of each racial group Gallup surveyed reported being somewhat or very satisfied with one’s personal life.
Holding a more favorable view of one’s private life than of the nation as a whole has been a generally consistent trend since Gallup began conducting the survey.
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