ANXIETY NOSTALGIA AND MISTRUST

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40 ANXIETY, NOSTALGIA, AND MISTRUST

progress. More than six in ten (63%) Americans agree that Irish, Italians, Jewish, and many other

minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up, and blacks should do the same without

any special favors; 35% of Americans disagree. Similarly, nearly six in ten (58%) Americans do

not believe that generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it

difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class, while 41% say the opposite.

Many Americans believe that current racial disparities are due, in large part, to the lack of effort

made by black Americans to improve their circumstances. Roughly half of the public (48%) say

that racial inequality is the result of black Americans not trying hard enough, while about as many

(49%) disagree. Nearly six in ten (58%) Americans do not believe that blacks have gotten less

than they deserve in recent years.

Americans’ attitudes about whether blacks would be as well off as whites if they tried harder

differ only modestly by race and ethnicity. White Americans are evenly divided over whether black

Americans would be as well off as whites if they put forth enough effort (50% agree, 49% disagree).

Hispanic Americans are similarly divided (48% agree, 52% disagree). Notably, more than

four in ten (43%) black Americans agree that racial disparities between whites and blacks are a

matter of effort, while a majority (55%) disagree.

Partisan disagreement on this issue is dramatic. Roughly two-thirds of Republicans (66%) and Tea

Party members (68%) agree that blacks could be as well off as whites if they tried harder, while

fewer than half of political independents (48%) and Democrats (38%) agree.

The Confederate Flag: Symbol of Southern Pride or Racism?

Following recent controversies surrounding the Confederate flag, a slim majority (51%) of Americans

say they see the Confederate flag more as a symbol of Southern pride, while four in ten

(40%) Americans say they see it more as a symbol of racism.

Not surprisingly, there are significant racial and ethnic divisions in views of what the Confederate

flag symbolizes. Approximately six in ten (61%) white Americans see the Confederate flag

more as a symbol of Southern pride, a view shared by just 36% of Hispanic Americans and

22% of black Americans. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of black Americans say they view the

Confederate flag more as a symbol of racism. But white Americans are sharply divided by social

class. More than seven in ten (72%) white working-class Americans say the Confederate flag

is more a symbol of Southern pride than racism, a view shared by less than half (45%) of white

college-educated Americans.

Americans are also strongly divided along party lines in views of the Confederate flag. About

three-quarters of Republicans (76%) and Tea Party members (73%) and a majority (54%) of in-

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