Race Relations More Negative Today Than Any Other Time This Century

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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According to a Pew Research Poll released Tuesday, Americans’ perception of race relations is more negative than it has been for much of this century.

Some 48 percent of adults said in the poll that “race relations are generally bad.” And 36 percent of adults say that “too much attention” is given to race and racial issues in America today.

And few Americans think race relations are improving in the nation. Just 19 percent of Americans say race relations are improving and about four-in-ten think that they are getting worse.

The conversation on race relations flamed to life this week following the death of two black men at the hands of police and a shooting in Dallas that left five police officers dead. (RELATED: Gingrich: If You Are A White American, You Don’t Understand Being Black)

Blacks and whites also have differing views on their assessments of interactions with people of a different race. While 70 percent of whites who “have a least a little bit of contact with blacks characterize their interactions as very friendly,” black Americans “are 20 percentage points less likely to describe interactions with whites that way.”

Interestingly, more Americans share the view that it’s more important to “focus on what different racial and ethnic groups have in common” — 55 percent — than say it’s more important to “focus on the unique experiences of different racial and ethnic groups” — 31 percent. Whites are twice as likely to think it’s more important to focus on what different racial and ethnic groups have in common, a view also held by the majority of Hispanic Americans (54 percent). Blacks are evenly divided on the issue.

There is also no consensus agreement on how to improve race relations in the U.S. Roughly “55 percent think it’s more important to focus on what different racial and ethnic groups have in common, while fewer (31 percent) say the focus should be on what makes each group unique,” reports Pew.

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