According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBCNews poll, 56 percent of voters surveyed believe American society is racist. Given the events of the last few months, this is hardly surprising. If you have people screaming 24 hours a day that you’re a racist and America is a racist country, it’s difficult to think anything else.
Naturally, whites and blacks see the issue in vastly different lights.
Of women, 66 percent believed this, compared with 46 percent of men. Democrats polled agreed with this at a rate of 82 percent compared with 30 percent of Republicans.
A majority of White, Black, and Hispanic participants all agreed that U.S. society is racist, with 51 percent of White people supporting that idea, compared with 60 percent of Hispanics and 78 percent of Black participants.
Only a bare majority support removing Confederate statues.
Much closer, however, was the response to a question about what should be done with Confederate statues. Only 51 percent said that they should be removed, with just 10 percent calling for their destruction – the others said they should be moved to museums – and 47 percent said they should be left in place. Most of the people who wanted them to remain supported the idea of adding plaques to provide historical context.
The media makeover of the revolutionary militant group Black Lives Matter appears to have been successful.
Attitudes toward the Black Lives Matter movement overall have improved since 2018, when 38 percent viewed it positively and 34 percent viewed it negatively. Now, 49 percent of voters report positive views of the Black Lives Matter movement, while 33 percent view it negatively.
On the question of “systemic racism,” there is, as you might expect, a racial and partisan divide.
Those who describe racism as systemic in American society include majorities of Democrats (70 percent), Black voters (65 percent) and young voters (59 percent). Those who attribute racism solely to individuals’ behavior include 66 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of white voters.
“Where voters in general and Black voters disagree is on the root cause of racism,” said Brenda Lee of Vision Strategy and Insights, who worked on the survey along with Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research. “Blacks are more likely to see systemic issues as the root of racism in the U.S., whereas whites see this issue as the result of the behavior of a “few bad apples.” This framing difference creates a schism in identifying the most appropriate and impactful solutions to address racism.”
Finally, some surprising views on “white privilege.”
And, for the first time, the poll also asked the same battery of questions about the treatment of white Americans. About 3 in 10 voters overall say that white people receive too many special privileges, while 53 percent say white Americans are treated fairly and 15 percent say they experience discrimination.
The 29 percent of voters who say that white people receive too many special advantages includes 23 percent of white voters, 55 percent of Black voters and 35 percent of Hispanic voters. It also includes 44 percent of white Democrats but just 7 percent of white Republicans.
Given the anti-white hysteria of the last few months, you might have expected that number to be much higher. Also, it should be obvious from this poll that Hispanics do not all see themselves as victims of racism or white privilege. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of Hispanic responses between immigrant and non-immigrant individuals.
The current hysteria over race will eventually die down. At that point, it would be interesting to see the responses to discover how answers to the questions have been skewed by current events.