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Americans Can’t Escape Their Racist Past (or Present)

Americans Can’t Escape Their Racist Past (or Present)

From Maryland to South Carolina to Texas, stories of black citizens killed unjustly by police officers have become some of the most common events on the evening news. Not surprisingly, racial tensions across America are at their highest levels since the late 1960s—and many Americans believe race relations are worsening.

According to a recent survey from The New York Times and CBS, nearly 60 percent of Americans consider race relations “generally bad” in the country. Put in context, after President Barack Obama took office in 2009, two-thirds of Americans believed race relations were “generally good.”

Perhaps the most striking attitude shift comes within the black community. Shortly after the president took office, around 30 percent of black Americans considered race relations “generally bad,” but that percentage now sits at a staggering 68 percent—a level of discontent untouched since the 1992 race riots following the acquittal of police officers charged in the beating of Rodney King.

The survey also found “deep racial schisms” when it comes to the criminal justice system. While nearly 75 percent of black respondents think the system is biased against them—and “police [are] more likely to use deadly force against a black person”—only 44 percent of whites agreed.

This new study proves that the idea that America is a post-racial nation just doesn’t hold up.

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