Obama Says ‘Race Relations Have Improved Dramatically’ — New Poll Finds America Begs to Differ

During his comments at the memorial service honoring five slain police officers in Dallas last week, President Obama said that “race relations have improved dramatically” during his lifetime.

The president added:

“Those who deny it are dishonoring the struggles that helped us achieve that progress.”

Obama might be right, but according to a new New York Times/CBS News poll, nearly 7 out of 10 Americans believe race relations are bad:

Sixty-nine percent of Americans say race relations are generally bad, one of the highest levels of discord since the 1992 riots in Los Angeles during the Rodney King case.

The poll, conducted from Friday — the day after the killing of five Dallas police officers — until Tuesday, found that six in 10 Americans say race relations were growing worse, up from 38 percent a year ago.

Image Credit: The New York Times
Image Credit: The New York Times

When asked whether the police in most communities are more likely to use deadly force against a black person than a white person:

  • 75% of black Americans answered yes, while only half as many white people agreed
  • 56% percent of whites said that the race of the suspect made no difference in the use of force; only 18% percent of blacks Americans agreed

The poll also found that opinions on the Black Lives Matter movement varies widely — based on age and race:

  • 70% of black Americans are sympathetic to the movement, compared with only 37% of whites
  • 50% percent of adults under 30 agree with the movement, compared with 20% who disagree with it
  • Among those 45 and older, 36% agree and 29% disagree

Although relations between black Americans and the nation’s police forces have reached a flashpoint, a recent Harvard study found that while blacks are more likely to be subjected to nonlethal force, when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — there is no racial bias.

What do you think?

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