Blacks And Whites Agree Race Relations Are Bad, Cops Should Be Charged

In new polls released by Pew and the New York Times/CBS, Americans are agreed on race

Baltimore police officers tackle and arrest looters after they emerged from a "Deals" store with merchandise during clashes between rioters and police in Baltimore, Maryland April 27, 2015. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to address the violence in Baltimore, his office said on Monday. Several Baltimore police officers were injured on Monday in violent clashes with young people after the funeral of a black man, Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, and local law enforcement warned of a threat by gangs. REUTERS/Jim Bourg - RTX1AJX5 — REUTERS
May 05, 2015 at 12:48 PM ET

Taken together, two polls recently conducted by the New York Times/CBS and Pew tell an interesting story about the current state of race relations in America.

The former draws a fairly obvious conclusion: more than 60 percent of Americans, both black and white, believe relations are deeply strained, up from 44 percent last August, when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson. That whites and blacks are in rough agreement is rather unusual. Just a few months ago, when 58 percent of blacks said relations were poor, only 35 percent of whites agreed.

Similarly, in December, after the decision was made to not indict Darren Wilson, according Pew, 80 percent of blacks thought that was the wrong decision, while 50 percent of whites thought it was the right one. That same month, the decision made to not charge the officers involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. Perhaps because there was video evidence, 57 percent of whites thought this was the wrong decision, putting more than half of them in agreement with blacks, 90 percent of whom said the same thing.

As whites and blacks concur that race relations are worsening, so too are they arriving at the same rough position regarding punishment for officers. According to Pew, 78 percent of blacks agree with the recent decision to charge the officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. 60 percent of whites think it’s the right decision, too.

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