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Most Americans say Civil Rights goal unmet

JESSE J. HOLLAND and EMILY SWANSON | 4/9/2018, 11:09 a.m.
Fifty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as little as 1 in 10 African Americans think ...
The Dallas Examiner graphic Associated Press

On the lowest end of the spectrum, 23 percent said there has been a great deal of progress in fair treatment of Blacks by police or the criminal justice system, and nearly half said there has been little to no progress in both areas.

Whites were more likely than Blacks to think there has been progress in every area asked about in the poll.

Blacks are “claiming racism but I don’t see it myself,” said Tommy Romero, 47, of New Iberia, Louisiana, who is White. “They’re claiming it but it’s all about what they feel about the past, slavery and everything else. That’s how I feel.”

Romero said that things overall have gotten much better considering the racism of the past, especially in the South.

“Things were terrible back then,” he said. “The way minorities were treated, drinking at separate fountains, eating at separate restaurants, and sitting on certain parts of the bus, stuff like that, police beating on them that just made no sense.”

In general, 54 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats think most or all Civil Rights Movement goals have been achieved: 76 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of Democrats said there has been a lot of progress on voting rights, while 43 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats said there has been a lot of progress on fair treatment by police.

Just over half of all Americans – 79 percent of Blacks and 44 percent of Whites – said African Americans continue to face disadvantages to getting ahead in the U.S. That’s compared to 22 percent who said Blacks actually have advantages and 26 percent who said their race makes no difference in getting ahead.

About the poll

The AP-NORC poll of 1,337 adults was conducted Feb. 15-19 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

The poll includes a total of 388 Black respondents, who were sampled at a higher rate than their proportion of the population for purposes of analysis. The margin of sampling error among Blacks is plus or minus 7.3 percentage points. For results reported among all adults, responses among Blacks are weighted to reflect their proportion among all U.S. adults.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.