Pew Research Center Reports Show a Great Divide on the Status of Racial Progress

A new study by the Pew Research Center finds that the American public is deeply divided over how far the nation has progressed in addressing racial inequality – and how much further it needs to go.

The study found that among U.S. adults overall, 53 percent say increased attention to the racial history of the nation is a good thing for society, while 26 percent say it is a bad thing and another 21 percent say it is neither good nor bad.

Among Black adults, 75 percent say heightened public attention to this topic is a good thing. Among White adults, however, fewer than half say greater attention to the history of slavery and racism in the U.S. is good for society. About one third of all White adults say it is a bad thing for society.

The study also found that half of all adults say “a lot” more needs to be done to ensure equal rights for all Americans regardless of their race or ethnicity. Nearly eight-in-ten Black adults say a lot more needs to be done to ensure equal rights for Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. This includes 58 percent who say that in order to achieve this goal, most of the nation’s laws and major institutions need to be completely rebuilt because they are fundamentally biased. Only 18 percent of Whites agreed that a major overhaul was needed.

Black adults are broadly skeptical about the progress the U.S. has made on the issue of racial equality over the past 50 years. Only 19 percent say the country has made a lot of progress. A majority of White adults (56 percent) say the U.S. has made a lot of progress on racial equality.

The full report, Deep Divisions in Americans’ Views of Nation’s Racial History – and How to Address It, may be downloaded here.

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