A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll highlights the concerns of Black Americans over daily discrimination and fears of worsening racism, with majorities describing an economic system that is stacked against them and worries about the safety of Black teenagers and children.
Fifty-one percent of Black Americans believe racism will get worse in their lifetime, although 48 percent still believe it is a “good time” to be Black in America. The latter figure is a steep improvement from similar polls conducted in 2020 and 2021—only 30 percent answered that it was a “good time” to be Black in America during Donald Trump’s presidency, while 34 percent answered affirmatively shortly after a white supremacist massacred 10 Black people in Buffalo, a year later.
Although more Black Americans say their financial situation has gotten better in the past year, 81 percent also say that the country’s economic system is “stacked against Black people.” Worries also filter to education and the way Black children are treated, with more than 70 percent of Black Americans concerned that schools will stop teaching about Black history or the history of racism. By comparison, roughly half of white Americans share these concerns.
In light of the April shooting of a 16-year-old Black boy by an 84-year-old white man, 85 percent of Black Americans say both instances were emblematic of broader problems in how white people treat Black people, compared to 54 percent of white Americans who feel the same. Just 17 percent of Black Americans believe white people trust Black people, compared to 44 percent of white Americans.
The poll comes as several Republican politicians, including many contenders for the 2024 presidential nomination, have railed against “critical race theory.” Senator Tim Scott, who is Black, has argued that structural racism is not a major issue in the U.S. Former President Barack Obama criticized Scott’s approach to racial issues in a podcast interview Thursday, saying that optimism on race relations must be “undergirded with an honest accounting of our past and our present.”
“There’s a long history of African American or other minority candidates within the Republican Party who will validate America and say, ‘Everything’s great, and we can make it,’” Obama said, specifically calling out Scott and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who is the daughter of Indian immigrants.
“Let us not forget we are a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression,” Scott replied in a statement. “Democrats deny our progress to protect their power. The Left wants you to believe faith in America is a fraud and progress in our nation is a myth.” However, the Post-Ipsos poll indicates that most Black Americans align more with Obama’s interpretation of structural racism than Scott’s argument.