ANXIETY NOSTALGIA AND MISTRUST

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FINDINGS FROM THE 2015 AMERICAN VALUES SURVEY 39

Views about reverse discrimination are also highly politically polarized. Roughly two-thirds of

Republicans (64%) and Tea Party members (68%) agree that, today, discrimination against whites

has become as big a problem as discrimination against other groups. In contrast, fewer than half

(45%) of independents and only about three in ten (28%) Democrats agree that discrimination

against whites is as big a problem today as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.

Seventy-one percent of Democrats disagree.

Racial Inequality

Has America Done Enough to Give Black Americans Equal Rights?

Americans are divided over whether more changes must be made to give blacks equal rights with

whites. Nearly half (49%) of Americans say our country has made the needed changes to give

blacks equal rights with whites, while 47% believe our country needs to continue making changes.

This finding marks a significant shift from August 2015, when fewer than four in ten (37%)

Americans said the U.S. has made the changes needed to make blacks and whites equal, and six

in ten (60%) said America needs to continue making changes. 8

Large racial and ethnic differences persist in views about racial equality. About six in ten (59%)

white Americans say our country has made the changes needed to give blacks equal rights with

whites, compared to approximately four in ten (41%) Hispanic Americans and only about one in

ten (12%) black Americans. More than eight in ten (85%) black Americans say America has to

continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites.

Among white Americans, views on whether enough changes have been made to achieve racial

equality differ somewhat by social class. White working-class Americans are more likely than

white college-educated Americans to say our country has made enough changes to give blacks

equal rights with whites (63% vs. 50%, respectively).

There are also stark partisan divisions about whether the U.S. has done enough to ensure racial

equality. More than seven in ten Republicans (78%) and Tea Party members (72%) say that

America has made the necessary changes to give blacks equal rights with whites, a view shared

by only about one-quarter (27%) of Democrats. Approximately seven in ten (71%) Democrats say

our country must continue making changes to provide blacks with rights equal to those of whites.

Discrimination, Prejudice, and Progress

American attitudes about race are complicated. Most Americans acknowledge that black Americans

still face a considerable degree of discrimination in the U.S. today. However, most Americans

believe that prejudice and current conditions many blacks face are not impediments to

8

Washington Post Poll, August 2015.

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