Report: More Than Half of Blacks Believe Race Relations Have Improved Under Obama, 34% Believe He ‘Tried but Failed’ to Make Progress

President of the United States, Barack Obama. Image courtesy of

President of the United States, Barack Obama. Image courtesy of

Since his election to the U.S. presidency in 2008, President Barack Obama has made conscious efforts to improve race relations in America. A majority of Americans agree that the president has been successful in his efforts, but a dissenting quarter of Americans believe race relations have actually gotten worse under his leadership.

A study released by the Pew Research Center Monday showed a deep divide between Black and white Americans regarding President Obama’s efforts to improve race relations. According to the report, 51 percent of African-Americans said Obama made progress compared to just 28 percent of whites. It also revealed that 34 percent of Blacks believe the president tried, but failed, to make progress, and 5 percent think he made race relations worse, Politico reports.

In contrast, 32 percent of white respondents believe race relations have gotten worse under Obama, whereas 24 percent said he tried, but failed, to make things better. A whopping 62 percent of white Republicans also said the president has worsened race relations, the study reports.

White conservatives have long accused Obama of being divisive rather than bringing the country together. In a November 2015 segment on the Fox News show “Hannity,” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke commented that Obama must be “hallucinating” if he thinks he has improved America’s race relations in any way.

“Race relations have always been tenuous in America,” Clarke told host Sean Hannity. “Slavery and discrimination have left an ugly scar on the soul of America. But that scar has been healing over the years. President Obama came along with sandpaper, rubbed it raw, and then poured salt in it to inflame it for political gain. He doesn’t believe that and neither does anybody else.”

A New York Post opinion piece described the president as “disturbingly passive” when it came to matters concerning race. Others have faulted him for taking a “middle of the road”approach to race issues.

“What he’s failed to do consistently is express the anger and frustration of a very important constituency of his own, to not just cultural misunderstandings, but to structural oppression,” Jason Johnson, a professor of political science at Hiram College, told The Hill in 2014.

Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly even compared the president to Richard Nixon, asserting that “Obama has polarized the country as much as Nixon did.”

Despite his haters, the president still has a number of supporters who approve of his efforts to close the rift between white Americans and minorities. Being a target of racial jokes and insults himself, it’s hard for some to see how the president’s attempts at improving race relations could be deemed as “divisive.”

The Pew analysis also highlighted the issue of racial equality, revealing major differences in the opinions of Black and white respondents. For example, an overwhelming percentage of Black Americans — 88 percent to be exact — feel the country has more work to do for Blacks to achieve equal rights with whites; however, 43 percent are skeptical those changes will ever happen, the report states.

Meanwhile, just 53 percent of white respondents believe America still has work to do for Blacks to achieve equality. An even smaller 11 percent expressed doubt that such changes will occur, according to the report. Six-in-ten (59 percent) of white Republicans feel that too much attention is paid to race and racial issues in the first place.

Opinions on the Black Lives Matter Movement, income inequality, and the treatment of Blacks in the courtroom, workplace and restaurants were also analyzed in the extensive study.

Similar studies have examined how Americans feel about race issues in this country. According to Atlanta Black Star, a 2016 survey by Gallup Poll found that 35 percent of Americans are uneasy about race issues in America. That number jumped from 28 percent back in 2001.

Another poll by the National Bar Association revealed that both Blacks and whites (58 percent and 76 percent, respectively) believe race relations are much better today than they were 50 years ago. However, respondents’ opinions differed based on race when asked who they felt was most responsible for the inequities between Black and white communities, Atlanta Black Star reported.

Per the survey, 57 percent of white respondents said whites and Blacks were equally responsible, while one-third of Blacks held both races responsible. Another third pointed the finger at “white people of the past.”

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