Is racism on the rise? More in US say it’s a ‘big problem,’ CNN/KFF poll finds

25 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

More in U.S. say racism is a ‘big problem’ in new poll.

In a new nationwide poll conducted by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation, roughly half of Americans — 49% — say racism is “a big problem” in society today. The officers should be held accountable, she says. “What’s not helping is the police are getting off with a slap on the wrist. … If it was me, and I was black, and this was happening in my community, I would be furious,” she says. The 56-year-old engineer in Balch Springs, Texas, who’s African-American, points to the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin and this year’s Charleston church massacre as examples.

Justice is corrupt,” he says. “That’s why she has the blindfold over her eyes and the scale slightly tilted, so you know that it can go either way.” The white, 83-year-old retired advertising executive in St. Louis, who participated in the CNN/KFF poll, says media coverage alleging racism — particularly when it comes to law enforcement officers — has been overblown. “I am troubled by the bias I see in the media, that seems to spend all its time talking about the bad policemen and the bad white people and ignoring the crime and the disastrous conditions that are occurring in large segments of the black youth,” he says. “The belief is so universally held among the people I know, that the whole Ferguson thing was a farce,” he says, “that ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ was baloney, that the police officer behaved in a very proper manner and saved his own life, possibly.” Gauging changes in racial attitudes is complicated, says Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a professor of sociology at Duke University. Bonilla-Silva has a phrase he uses to describe the situation he sees today: “new racism.” Accusations that police use excessive force, particularly against African-Americans, for example, now can get far more attention — far more quickly — than ever. Communities of color across the country can more easily connect, according to Bonilla-Silva, and people are picking up on patterns that scholars have long discussed. “People are doing Sociology 101.

They can connect Walter Scott, the assassinations of black folks in a church, the slamming of a girl in a school,” he says. “And then it’s across the nation. Well, it depends who you’re rooting for,” he says. “Sometimes it’s clear in either direction, but we tend to see it how we want to see it.” Knowledge of history, having friends who’ve experienced racism and personal background are all factors that can contribute to a greater awareness of racism, he says. And now, he says, there’s likely another factor at play. “People are more aware of it because of the videos of police violence and the media attention.

Now white folks are starting to know about it more. … Now, with this kind of evidence, people have to re-evaluate their sense of what is true and what is not true, so it becomes a little bit harder for people to deny.” The same goes for repeated incidents of racism on college campuses, Bonilla-Silva says, like the chant that shuttered a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma and the noose found hanging at Duke this year. It’s impossible to dismiss cases as isolated events, he says, when similar situations at schools and other institutions keep happening again and again. “The fact that it keeps happening tells you that the problem is not a problem of bad apples,” he says, “but perhaps the problem is the apple tree.” Because of his complexion, sometimes people think Rick Gonzales is Italian. That, he says, is why race — and racism — remain big problems. “The ones that are usually getting the short end of the stick are the so-called minority … but we’re the majority, because we’re always the ones who are struggling,” he says. Sproul says he first learned about the case when he was scanning his Facebook feed and saw posts from friends. “You kind of see more of these situations, or extremes,” he says. “I don’t know if maybe it was going on before and there was no coverage, or if it’s happening with greater frequency.” Too often, he says, leaders play the race card rather than addressing what he sees as the real issue behind many of the problems popping up in society today: broken families, particularly in the black community. “The massive problem that I see is that our leaders at the highest level … do not even want to recognize or even acknowledge that this problem exists, and therefore they spend huge amounts of time demonizing the police force, throwing gasoline and making the problems much worse,” he says. But now, he fears that because of bad leadership, tensions are on the rise among some groups in the United States. “I think the racism and the hatred of the white race has grown to the point where it’s worse than in the other direction. … I think the anger and the racism is much worse from black to white than white to black,” he says.

If people from different backgrounds can open up about their concerns and find common ground, it could be a good thing, Naison says, like a therapy session on a national scale.

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