ANXIETY NOSTALGIA AND MISTRUST

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FINDINGS FROM THE 2015 AMERICAN VALUES SURVEY 45

FIGURE 19. Do you think recent killings of African American men by police are isolated

incidents, or are they part of a broader pattern of how police treat African Americans?

By race/ethnicity

Isolated incidents

Part of a broader pattern

All Americans

53

44

White, non-Hispanic

65

34

Hispanic

41

59

Black, non-Hispanic

15

81

80 60

40

20

0 20 40 60 80

Source: PRRI 2015 American Values Survey.

Americans say the same. More than eight in ten (81%) black Americans say recent police killings of

African American men are part of a broader pattern of how police treat African Americans.

Among religious groups, white Christians are more likely than other religious groups to say that

recent killings of African American men by police aren’t connected. More than seven in ten white

evangelical Protestants (72%), white mainline Protestants (73%), and white Catholics (71%) believe

that killings of African American men by police are isolated incidents. By contrast, about six in ten

Americans who are affiliated with non-Christian religions (62%) and religiously unaffiliated Americans

(59%) believe that these killings are part of a broader pattern of how police treat minorities.

Among black Protestants, more than eight in ten (82%) believe they are part of a broader pattern.

There are substantial partisan divisions in views of police killings of African American men. More

than eight in ten Republicans (82%) and Tea Party members (85%) view recent police killings of

African American men as isolated incidents, and a majority (55%) of independents say the same. In

contrast, about three in ten (32%) Democrats say these are isolated incidents, while roughly twothirds

(66%) say recent killings of African American men by police are part of a broader pattern.

Scores on the Racial Inequity Index (RII) are strongly correlated with views of recent police killings

of African American men. Eight in ten (81%) Americans who see few contemporary connections

with past racial discrimination (low scores on the RII) say that recent killings of African

American men by police are isolated incidents, compared to 16% of Americans who perceive

strong continued effects of a history of systemic discrimination and prejudice (high scores on the

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