The state of black America

There’s been a big upswing in how black America sees their prospects. A Pew Research survey of blacks finds only 39 percent of those surveyed think the “situation” of black people is better than it was five years ago. But that’s almost twice what it was in 2007. It’s an interesting response given that the black unemployment rate in America is 16.2 percent.

More than half, however, think the future will be better.

A majority of blacks (54%) also report that Obama’s barrier-breaking election has improved race relations in America; just 7% say it has made race relations worse. Whites, too, see progress on this front, though by much smaller margins. A plurality of whites (45%) say Obama’s election has made no difference to race relations, while about a third (32%) say it has made things better and 15% say it has made race relations worse.

The rest of the survey shows the deep racial divide in the country when it comes to evaluating life in America. For example, 43% of blacks say there’s a lot of discrimination against blacks. That’s about the same as the response in 2001, the survey says. Among whites surveyed, however, only 13% believe there’s a lot of discrimination against blacks, a significant drop since 2001.

Eighty percent of blacks say the country needs to make changes to ensure equal rights. But only a third of whites agree.

One significant shift in responses from blacks is worth noting, however. More than half of those surveyed say blacks who cannot get ahead in this country are mainly responsible for their own situation. Fifteen years ago, most surveyed said if blacks can’t get ahead, it’s because of discrimination.

Here’s the full report.

  • Alison

    \\Eighty percent of blacks say the country needs to make changes to ensure equal rights.

    What sort of changes? Laws? Attitudes? Education systems? What sort of things do many African Americans have in mind?