A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 36% of voters now say relations between blacks and whites are getting better. That’s down from 62% in July of last year at the height of the controversy involving a black Harvard professor and a white policeman. That number had fallen only slightly to 55% in April of this year.
Twenty-seven percent (27%) now say black-white relations are getting worse, up 10 points from July 2009, while 33% think they’re staying about the same. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
African-Americans are much more pessimistic than whites. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of whites think black-white race relations are getting better, but just 13% of blacks agree.
This trend is very sad and troubling. It's hard not to wonder how much of this apparent racial upheaval can be traced back to the influence of the ever-present race card. Its ubiquitous presence in virtually every public policy debate we've faced over the last two years may have (a) reinforced the faulty premise among many blacks that most opposition to the president's policies is rooted in racial bigotry, and (b) demoralized many whites, whose offense at being labeled racist has led to increased pessimism about widespread racial reconciliation.