Apr 9, 2019 - Politics & Policy

How Americans are experiencing racism

The majority of Americans (58%) say race relations are bad in the U.S. and that expressing racist views has become more common under President Trump (56%), according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Adapted from a Pew Research report; Chart: Axios Visuals
Adapted from a Pew Research report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Details: Three-quarters of black and Asian Americans, as well as 58% of Hispanics, said they have experienced bias or discrimination — unjust or prejudicial treatment because of their race or ethnicity. Just a third of white people said the same. Black people were consistently most likely to report experiencing various kinds of discrimination and bias.

  • In only two instances were black people not the most likely to have experienced discrimination: Asians were the most likely to say they were the brunt of racial slurs or jokes at 61%, while white people reported the highest levels of people assuming they were "racist or prejudiced."
  • Most adults agree the legacy of slavery continues to have an impact on black Americans. But while 78% of black respondents said the U.S. has not gone far enough in giving equal rights to black Americans, only 37% of white respondents agreed with them.
  • Americans are also least likely to say black and white Americans get along, compared to other racial and ethnic groups.
"There are a lot of conversations about race happening in the country. People are coming into these conversations from very different places and bringing very different perspectives to these conversations based on their experiences."
— Juliana Horowitz, one of the study's authors, told Axios

1 big trend: White Americans are not only the least likely to experience discrimination, but they also most often miss the impact of racial discrimination and bias on others.

  • White Americans were the only racial or ethnic group with a majority (50%) that said "too much attention is being paid to race,” according to the survey.
  • They were far less likely than black Americans to say discrimination is a major obstacle to black people's success or that black people are treated unfairly in stores, restaurants or in pay and promotions.
  • White Americans were also the least likely to recognize their own privilege. 56% said that being white helps you get ahead in the U.S, compared to 69% of black Americans and 72% of Asians who said that being white helps.

White people's views on race varied greatly by political party. For example, 77% of white Republicans said the bigger issue in the U.S. is seeing “discrimination where it does not exist” — rather than not recognizing real discrimination. 78% of white Democrats found the opposite to be true.

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