University of Maryland Study Finds Wide Political Divide on Views of Racial Discrmination

A new poll conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland found that less than half of all American believe that there is more discrimination direct against African Americans than was the case five years ago. Nearly two-thirds of respondents who affiliated with the Democratic Party said there was more discrimination against Blacks than five years ago. But only 24 percent of Republicans agreed. A quarter of all respondents said there was “a little” or “a lot” less discrimination against Black Americans.

Some 40 percent of all respondents stated that they believed there was more discrimination directed against Whites than was the case five years ago. More than 70 percent of Republican respondents that discrimination against Whites had increased compared to just 15 percent of respondents who said they were Democrats.

The survey also asked respondents whether they thought the presence of various racial or ethnic groups strengthened American society. Only 56 percent of all respondents thought African Americans strengthened American society and 11 percent thought African Americans weakened our society. While three quarters of Democrats thought African Americans strengthened society, only 36 percent of Republicans agreed.

The authors write: “In our view as scholars of public opinion and identity politics, these grievances have been at the heart of conservative GOP politics and at their extreme have played a role in mass shootings such as the one in Buffalo in which 10 Black people were killed.”

The study was conducted by Stella Rouse, professor of government and politics and director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement and Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development.

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