A new poll carried out by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation has revealed racism trends and patterns in the United States in recent years.
The study was conducted between August 25 and October 3, across 1,951 adult Americans who had been randomly selected from the general population. The group included 501 Black participants, as well as 500 Hispanics.
It was determined that 49% of the respondents hold the opinion that racism is a major problem in the United States nowadays.
The percentage of people who express this belief is much higher at present day than back in 2011, when just 28% of the subjects had considered racial issues of significant concern.
Just 9% of the persons that have been surveyed think that racism is just a trivial matter, while 7% believe it actually has no implications whatsoever.
It appears that ethical questions about race have been brought into the spotlight even more than in 1995, following the highly controversial O.J. Simpson trial, when approximately 41% of the respondents had considered the issue of racism as highly relevant in their lives.
The number of Hispanics who believe that criminal acts motivated by race are especially noteworthy has doubled since 2011, currently 64% of these respondents sharing this belief.
Similarly, racial issues have become more prominent for Black individuals also, the percentage of those preoccupied with this matter growing from 50% to 66%. In contrast, the Caucasian population who expressed such concerns was estimated at around 43%.
When asked about racial tensions in the United States, most respondents stated that these have soared in the last decade, while just a quarter of the surveyed participants claimed that enmity between people of different races had remained pretty much the same.
Overall, it’s unclear why there is much more awareness now concerning hate crimes triggered by racial differences, but one possible explanation is related to “Black Lives Matter” activists, who have been extremely involved in highlighting discrimination against African Americans.
The movement was launched in 2012, following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Initially, authorities hadn’t even arrested or charged Zimmerman, trusting his claims of self-defense, and it took several rallies, protests and marches across the United States, for the accused to finally be brought to court, but even then he was eventually found not guilty.
After this incident and other similar highly publicized cases of racial profiling, it may be that the general public has become more familiar with the fact that hate crimes motivated by skin color are still rampant in America.
One such example was the mass shooting at the “Mother Emanuel” Church in Charleston, which occurred on June 17. During the prayer service, 9 African American churchgoers, including state senator Clementa C. Pinckney, were shot to death by white supremacist Dylann Roof.
Moreover, numerous instances of abuse of power from law enforcement, which resulted in the fatal shooting of unarmed African Americans have raised alarm that racial profiling is becoming a bigger and bigger issue.
One such incident was the death of Walter Scott, who was killed in April following a scuffle with police in North Charleston, South Carolina. Similarly, in August 2014, a Ferguson police officer fired 12 bullets into 18-year old Michael Brown, despite the fact that the Black teenager had been unarmed and hadn’t represented an actual threat.
More recently, the shooting of Jamar Clark, allegedly after he had been handcuffed by officers in Minneapolis has led to Black Lives Matter protests. During these rallies, 5 people have been injured, when unidentified white males opened fire, targeting the demonstrators.
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