Race relations in America are getting worse rather than better.
A poll released Thursday by the New York Times and CBS found that both whites and blacks believe relations have gotten worse during the Obama presidency.
According to The New York Times, the poll found:
Nearly six in 10 Americans, including heavy majorities of both whites and blacks, think race relations are generally bad, and that nearly four in 10 think the situation is getting worse. By comparison, two-thirds of Americans surveyed shortly after President Obama took office said they believed that race relations were generally good.
The swings in attitude have been particularly striking among African-Americans. During Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign, nearly 60 percent of blacks said race relations were generally bad, but that number was cut in half shortly after he won. It has now soared to 68 percent, the highest level of discontent among blacks during the Obama years and close to the numbers recorded in the aftermath of the riots that followed the 1992 acquittal of Los Angeles police officers charged in the beating of Rodney King.
Only a fifth of those surveyed said they thought race relations were improving, while about 40 percent of both blacks and whites said they were staying essentially the same.
Respondents tended to have much sunnier views of race relations in their own communities.
For instance, while only 37 percent said they thought race relations were generally good in the United States, more than twice that share, 77 percent, thought they were good in their communities, a number that has changed little over the past 20 years. Similarly, only a third thought that most people were comfortable discussing race with someone of another race, but nearly three-quarters said they were comfortable doing so themselves.
Not surprising considering the Obama administration’s consistent harping on racial divisions.
The poll found a similar disparity on opinions regarding the Confederate battle flag.
When asked how they regarded the battle flag, 57 percent of whites said they considered it mostly an emblem of Southern pride, while 68 percent of blacks said they saw it more as a symbol of racism. The view that the flag represents heritage more than bigotry was shared by 65 percent of white Southerners, including three-fourths of white Southern men.
About four in 10 whites, and one in 10 blacks, said they disapproved of the decision to lower the flag in Columbia, while 52 percent of whites and 81 percent of blacks favored it. Nearly half of white Southerners disagreed with the decision. Four in 10 blacks said they would be less likely to shop with a retailer who sold Confederate flags and merchandise, but only 17 percent of whites said so.
“The Confederate flag is a part of history that should not just be thrown out the door,” said Mary Nordtome, 66, a white retired rancher from Fort Sumner, N.M., in a follow-up interview. “It really hurts me that we have to be so politically correct in everything.” She added, “Hate groups have distorted what the Confederate flag means and the history we should not forget.”
Mindy Zhu, a 19-year-old college student from Queens who is Asian, said the crusade against the Confederate flag, regardless of its meaning, posed a threat to free speech. “As soon as you start taking away a symbol for something, then you start taking away other people’s freedom,” she said.
Fitting that the poll was conducted by two media giants, as no one has fueled racial tensions more in the past six years than the Obama-loving mainstream media.
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