Blacks were property during slavery, then there was Jim Crow, and blacks weren’t initially even included in the New Deal. We could go on to list the ways in which blacks have been systematically disenfranchised in America, including redlining, but somehow, a majority of Americans still believe that blacks who can’t get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition.
A Pew Research poll found that most Americans believe that if blacks are struggling, it’s their own fault.
Nationally, 63 percent say “blacks who can’t get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition” versus 27 percent who say “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days.” That’s more than two-to-one.
And it is even worse where conservatives are concerned:
Over 80 percent of conservatives say they agree that “Blacks who can’t get ahead are mostly responsible for their own condition,” while just some seven percent say that “Racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days.”
Only “solid liberals”, 15 percent of the public, count racial discrimination as a primary reason why blacks can’t get ahead. Solid liberals are defined by Pew as “generally affluent and highly educated…Most say they always vote Democratic and are unflagging supporters of Barack Obama.”
This poll tends to explain the trend that we’re seeing in the Supreme Court with the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action. While writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic are advocating for reparations, the majority of the American public seems to be telling blacks, regardless of what acts were committed against them, that the era of goodwill is over. We’re on our own.