Protesters rally for criminal justice reform outside the U.S. Capitol on April 21, 2015.  (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, black and white Americans have very different views on the state of racism in America, and the differences also play out among Democrats and Republicans. How different groups view race in America may influence how politicians address this issue, one that their constituents clearly care about.

African Americans were worse off financially in 2016 than they were in 2000, The Washington Post's Heather Long reported.

“African Americans are the only racial group the Census Bureau identifies that has been left behind. White, Asian and Hispanic households have all seen at least modest income gains since 2000,” she wrote.

One of the clearest examples of that gap is in homeownership, The Post's Tracy Jan reported.

“Homeownership has traditionally been the primary way Americans build wealth. But the black homeownership rate is lower today than it was 40 years ago, with 42 percent of black families owning homes in 2016 compared to 44 percent in 1976,” she wrote.

Although only 8 percent of black voters ended up backing Donald Trump in the 2016 election, he spoke to these issues while campaigning for president.

“Our government has totally failed our African American friends, our Hispanic friends and the people of our country. Period,” Trump said in August 2016. “The Democrats have failed completely in the inner cities. For those hurting the most who have been failed and failed by their politician — year after year, failure after failure, worse numbers after worse numbers. Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing, no homes, no ownership. Crime at levels that nobody has seen. You can go to war zones in countries that we are fighting and it's safer than living in some of our inner cities that are run by the Democrats. And I ask you this, I ask you this — crime, all of the problems — to the African Americans, who I employ so many, so many people, to the Hispanics, tremendous people: What the hell do you have to lose? Give me a chance. I'll straighten it out. I'll straighten it out. What do you have to lose?”

More than half a century after the peak of the civil rights movement, growing shares of the public believe that more needs to be done to address racial inequality — starting with addressing discrimination against black Americans.

According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center that was released Thursday, the majority of Americans — 61 percent — say the country needs to keep making changes to give black Americans the same rights as white Americans. Fewer than 4 in 10 — 35 percent — say the country has made the changes needed.

Nearly 6 in 10 conservatives — 59 percent — say the country has made the changes needed to grant black people equality, but more than a third — 36 percent — say more needs to be done. The overwhelming majority of liberals — 81 percent — say America needs to keep making changes to give black people equal rights.

More than half of white Americans — 54 percent — think the country needs to continue making changes to give black people equal rights with whites. About 4 in 10 whites — 41 percent — say the country has made the changes needed in ensuring equality between black and white people.

At 88 percent, the racial group most likely to think that the country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites is African Americans.


The percentage of people who say racial discrimination is a major factor preventing black Americans from advancing in society has increased nine points over the previous year, to 41 percent. The latest number is the highest in a Pew Research Center survey since 1994.

Most conservatives don't think that racial discrimination is the main reason black people can't get ahead. Three in four — 75 percent — say that black people in this country who are unable to advance are mostly responsible for their own situation. The number among Republicans and those leaning Republican who think that racial discrimination is an impediment to blacks getting ahead has decreased since 1994. Only 14 percent in this group say racial discrimination is the main reason that many black people do not get ahead.

Most liberals — 64 percent — say racial discrimination is the main reason many black people can’t get ahead. Less than 3 in 10 — 28 percent — say black people are responsible for their inability to get ahead.

Nearly 6 in 10 blacks — 59 percent — say racial discrimination is the main reason many of them can't get ahead in America. More than half — 54 percent — of white Americans say racial discrimination prevents black people from getting ahead.

 


 

Black and white Americans also have very different views on the idea of making “America great again.” Most Americans say the country has continued to improve because of its “ability to change,” as opposed to its “reliance on long-standing principles” — and black Americans are more likely to hold that view. Nearly 6 in 10 of black Americans, 57 percent, think America has continued to improve because of its willingness to change. Only half of white Americans believe the country has improved because of its “ability to change.”