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New PBS/Marist Poll Finds Blacks, Whites Have Widely Differing Views on Race and Equality

A new PBS/Marist poll reveals Americans still have widely differing views on race and equality. The poll quizzed Americans on issues such as race relations, the Confederate flag, hiring practices and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I think what we were looking at was to get a sense of Americans today and their view on race relations, and see areas of similarity, areas of disagreement,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “And to get a handle on what is obviously something that brings forth a lot of emotion, particularly in the context of recent shootings and issues of police community behavior.”

The poll revealed both Blacks and whites thought race relations had deteriorated in the last year. According to NPR, 56 percent of Blacks and 60 percent of whites agreed with the statement. There was a stark difference when it came to views on employment opportunities. According to the poll, 72 percent of Black responders said job opportunities were not equal, while a little over half of the white responders (52 percent) agreed.

According to NPR, another area where there was a huge split in opinion was equal justice under the law. Only 46 percent of white people polled thought that Black people were not treated equally by the law. However, 87 percent of Black responders said the law did not treat Blacks and whites equally.

NPR also reported opinion was split on the Black Lives Matter movement. The majority of Black responders (82 percent) said the movement was non violent. But 41 percent of white responders felt Black Lives Matter advocated some level of violence.

The PBS/Marist poll also quizzed people on the Confederate flag and found opinion was again divided by race. Most whites polled saw it as a symbol of Southern pride, while most Black people saw it as a symbol of racism. One area where both whites and Blacks agreed upon was fair media portrayal. The majority of both groups agreed the media does not portray the races fairly.

The findings of the poll, and other racial issues, will be discussed on PBS’ America After Charleston. The show will be hosted by Gwen Ifill at Circular Congregational Church, which is a few blocks from where the Charleston church shooting took place.

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