FPM: In December 1963, even after the assassination of Medgar Evers and the KKK bombing of a Baptist church that year, a poll found that 70% of black people believed that race relations between black and white people would eventually be worked out. Only 26% believed otherwise.
In 2021, after one black man in the White House, and another black woman there now, with 59 black members of Congress, and a third of America’s biggest cities being run by black mayors, 59% of black people believe race relations are doomed.
Why were black people in the segregation era more likely to believe that race relations would work out than their children and grandchildren are during the greatest era of black success?
The answer is not that racism is inescapable, but that racial pessimism can be inescapable
Even as black respondents became more racially pessimistic, a curious thing happened, Hispanics became racially optimistic. What surveys about race relations really reveal is that the perception of racism is not a matter of “lived experience”, but of cultural assumptions.
60% of white adults believe that race relations will eventually work out. So do 63% of Hispanic adults. Why are Hispanics even more optimistic about race relations than white people? more