Who Cares about Trayvon Martin?
George E. Curry | 4/5/2012, 2:23 p.m.
Undergirding all of those statistics are different perceptions about the existence of racial discrimination.
For example, 43 percent of Blacks said there is a lot of discrimination against African-Americans, compared with 13 percent of Whites. In the survey, Whites were more likely to say Latinos were discriminated against more than Blacks (21 percent vs. 13 percent).
Eighty-one percent of African-Americans said "our country needs to continue making changes to give Blacks equal rights with Whites." Only 36 percent of Whites agreed. A majority of Whites - 54 percent - said "our country has made the changes it needed to give blacks equal rights with whites."
Many pointed to the election of President Barack Obama as a watershed moment for race relations in the U.S.
A Gallup Poll conducted the day after Obama was elected president in November 2008 showed that 70 percent of Americans believed race relations would improve as a result of his victory. Today, however, 48 percent of African-Americans and 31 percent of whites believe race relations have improved under the president.
In addition, the glow from Obama's election has faded over the past three years.
In 2009, 71 percent of blacks thought the election of Obama was one of the most important advances for African-Americans in the past 100 years; today that percentage has declined to 65 percent, a drop of 6 percent. Among whites, there was nearly a 20 percent decline, falling from 56 percent in 2009 to 37 percent today.
Although there should be universal outrage against a 28-year-old man shooting to death an unarmed 17-year-old, interest in the case, like so many other things in America, is heavily influenced by race.
George E. Curry is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA) and editorial director of Heart & Soul magazine. Curry can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com.www.georgecurry.com