Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 13, 2009

      When I was a working reporter I was often assigned to write poll stories.  I liked writing them;  it was a snapshot of what Americans were thinking.  The Pew Research Center has a poll out this week of African-Americans, a year into our first African-American president's term.  It's just full of fascinating stuff.      Thirty-nine percent of the blacks in the poll said that "the situation of black people in this country" is better than it was five years ago.  Just 20% said that in 2007.  As for the future, they are optimistic--53% of those polled said life for blacks in the future will be better than it is now.  Two years ago, 44% said that.       Was Obama's election a factor?  54% of the blacks polled said, yes, his victory had improved race relations here.  A third of the whites agreed;  45% said it had made no difference.      Economics?  A third of the blacks in the poll said their economic situation was good or excellent, up a bit from 27% in 2006.  But for whites it was down--35% saying good or excellent now as against 52% in '06.      We haven't killed off racism, of course.  More than eighty percent said we need to make more changes before they have equal rights with whites;  about a third of the whites agreed.  Progress?  Sure.  As I've written before, we inch forward.  
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