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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Attitudes and beliefs about racial inequality are changing quickly as protests and media attention have helped highlight the gaps in opportunity between white- and minority-owned businesses in the United States.

Driving the news: A new survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife provided early to Axios shows a 17-point increase in the number of small business owners who say minority-owned small businesses face more challenges than non-minority-owned ones.

By the numbers: In July, 69% of respondents said minority-owned companies faced a tougher road, compared to 52% in January.

  • The change was most notable among white-owned small businesses, with 67% now saying they agree, and 24% saying they disagree.
  • In the first quarter, 47% of white-owned businesses said they agreed and 40% disagreed. 

To wit, two-thirds (66%) of all small businesses acknowledge that minority-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

What they're saying: "The pandemic could exacerbate and elongate the economic struggles already facing minority-owned businesses and families," Suzanne P. Clark, president of the U.S. Chamber, said in a statement.

Yes, but: Tiffiany Howard, a UNLV political science professor and recent international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells Axios that while "there has been a recognition and acknowledgement of racism because they fundamentally know it has existed, and that they have benefited from racist power structures," attitude changes must lead to tangible actions.

  • "Until substantive action is taken to address the disenfranchisement, and efforts are made to invest in Black businesses, then while we may witness public acknowledgement, nothing will actually change."

Where it stands: The Chamber's survey also asked small business owners about current conditions.

  • They found minority-owned business owners are more likely than their white counterparts to report difficulty obtaining loans, express fears about permanently closing, and predict declining revenues in the coming year.
  • The poll finds that 66% of minority-owned small businesses are concerned about having to permanently close their doors compared to 57% for white-owned small businesses.
  • However, the gap has narrowed from May, when 78% for minority-owned companies reported concern compared to 52% of white-owned firms.

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Voters of color worry about militias, arrests

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.6% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Fears that armed militias, police or COVID-19 await them at the polls are disproportionately shaping how Americans of color think about in-person voting, according to an Ipsos poll for Axios.

Why it matters: Participation by voters of color could decide whether President Trump or Joe Biden wins, and whether Democrats take control of both chambers of Congress.

Young people's next big COVID test

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Young, healthy people will be at the back of the line for coronavirus vaccines, and they'll have to maintain their sense of urgency as they wait their turn — otherwise, vaccinations won't be as effective in bringing the pandemic to a close.

The big picture: "It’s great young people are anticipating the vaccine," said Jewel Mullen, associate dean for health equity at the University of Texas. But the prospect of that enthusiasm waning is "a cause for concern," she said.

6 hours ago - World

New Zealand authorities charge 13 parties over deadly volcano eruption

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at New Zealand's parliament in Wellington. Photo: Mark Tantrum Photography via Getty Images

New Zealand authorities laid safety violation charges Monday against 10 organizations and three individuals over the fatal Whakaari/White Island volcanic disaster last December, per a statement from the agency WorksSafe.

Details: WorksSafe declined to name those charged as they may seek name suppression in court. But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said government agencies GNS Science, which monitors volcanic activity, and the National Emergency Management Agency were among those charged over the "horrific tragedy" that killed 22 people.

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