Blacks and Whites Differ About Treatment of Blacks in America Today

by Lydia Saad and Frank Newport

Two-thirds of whites say they are satisfied with the way blacks are treated, while only 39% of blacks agree

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- With the theme "Speaking Truth to Power," the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) plans to use its upcoming annual convention, being held in New Orleans July 7-13, to address the challenges it sees facing "communities of color" nationwide. Some of these challenges are evident in a recent Gallup poll focusing on minority rights and relations.

The nationwide survey, conducted June 11-18, included larger-than-normal samples of blacks and Hispanics in order to study the views of these groups more closely than is ordinarily possible in a nationwide survey. On Tuesday, July 10 in Washington, D.C., The Gallup Organization will be releasing an expanded analysis of the state of race relations in the United States today as perceived by the people, including a new update of the Social Audit of Race Relations Between Black and White Americans. Details will be posted on gallup.com on Wednesday, July 11.

A review of the June 11-18 survey's results underscores first and foremost that a significant perceptual gap continues between the way whites view the situation for blacks in American society today and the way blacks themselves view it.

Six of 10 blacks are dissatisfied with the way people of their own race are treated by society, including 32% who are very dissatisfied and another 28% who are somewhat dissatisfied. Only 39% of blacks nationwide are satisfied, including just 8% who are very satisfied.

Contrast this with the views of white Americans. Almost two-thirds of whites -- 64% -- say they are personally satisfied with the way blacks are treated in society, while only 34% are dissatisfied.

Blacks' appraisal of their current situation in U.S. society is just slightly more negative than Hispanics' assessment of their own treatment: 45% of Hispanics are satisfied with the way Hispanics are treated in society and 54% are dissatisfied.

There is, on the other hand, no difference between whites' perceptions of Hispanics' situation in society and whites' perceptions of blacks' situation. Sixty-four percent of whites say they are satisfied with the way Hispanics are treated -- the exact percentage of whites who say they are satisfied with the way blacks are treated.

In short, the majority of whites apparently feel that the treatment of blacks and Hispanics in American society today is acceptable, while the majority of both of these latter two groups disagree.

Society's Treatment of Own Group
June 11-18, 2001

Blacks' Satisfaction With Life Lags Behind That of Whites

The overall assessment from blacks about their personal lives is generally positive. Close to nine in 10 blacks say they are either very or somewhat satisfied with their lives, while only 12% are dissatisfied. Significantly, however, only 42% of blacks feel "very" satisfied, compared to 49% of Hispanics and 54% of non-Hispanic whites who are very satisfied with their personal lives.

Percentage "Very Satisfied" With Personal Life
June 11-18, 2001

A follow-up question in the survey asked respondents about their satisfaction with several specific aspects of their lives. The results provide a road map for identifying the nature of the unique challenges facing black Americans today. The areas in which blacks tend to be least satisfied, and are far less satisfied than the white majority, include personal safety, one's job (for those employed), housing and the community in which they live.

Among these, safety from physical harm or violence stands out as the most troublesome experience peculiar to the black community. Only a third of blacks are very satisfied with their lives in this area, compared to 59% of non-Hispanic whites, yielding a 26-point racial gap -- the largest of all dimensions measured.

Divergent Experiences
Percentage "Very Satisfied" With Each Dimension
June 11-18, 2001

Areas in which blacks tend to be most satisfied or in which blacks and whites tend to be similar in their experiences include family life, personal health, perceived opportunities to succeed in life, education and personal finances.

Similar Experiences
Percentage "Very Satisfied" With Each Dimension
June 11-18, 2001

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,375 adults, 18 years and older, including a main sample of 1,004 national adults and oversamples of blacks and Hispanics. Telephone interviews were conducted from June 11-17, 2001. An additional night of interviewing on June 18 was conducted for the black oversample. For results based on the total sample of 1,004 national adults, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Results based on the subsample of blacks include interviews with 264 black national adults and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 7 percentage points. Results based on the subsample of Hispanics include interviews with 247 Hispanic national adults (including 59 conducted in Spanish) and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 7 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Overall, how satisfied are you with your life -- are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

 

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

53

38

6

2

1

Men

55

36

6

2

1

Women

50

40

7

3

*

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

54

38

5

3

*

Blacks

42

45

11

1

1

Hispanics

49

39

9

3

*

           
           

* Less than 0.5%



Next we'd like to know how satisfied are you with each of the following aspects of your life -- very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied. How satisfied are you with -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. Your community as a place to live in

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

58

30

8

4

*

Men

59

29

8

3

1

Women

57

30

8

5

*

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

61

29

6

4

*

Blacks

42

38

11

8

1

Hispanics

53

31

12

4

*



B. Your current housing

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

           

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

63

30

5

2

*

Men

63

32

4

*

1

Women

63

27

7

3

*

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

66

27

5

2

*

Blacks

41

43

11

5

*

Hispanics

45

36

11

8

*



C. Your education

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

           

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

45

42

9

3

1

Men

48

40

9

2

1

Women

44

43

9

3

1

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

48

40

8

3

1

Blacks

38

44

15

3

0

Hispanics

38

41

13

7

1



D. Your family life

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

           

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

69

25

3

2

1

Men

72

25

1

1

1

Women

67

25

4

3

1

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

72

22

3

2

1

Blacks

59

32

5

3

1

Hispanics

73

21

4

2

0



E. Your financial situation

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

           

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

26

51

15

7

1

Men

28

52

15

5

*

Women

25

51

14

10

*

           

Whites

29

50

14

7

*

Blacks

15

47

20

17

1

Hispanics

23

47

17

13

*



F. Your personal health

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

           

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

54

35

6

5

*

Men

57

34

6

3

0

Women

52

35

7

6

*

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

54

34

7

5

*

Blacks

54

35

7

3

1

Hispanics

57

30

8

5

0



G. Your safety from physical harm or violence

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

           

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

55

33

7

4

1

Men

61

31

5

2

1

Women

50

35

9

6

*

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

59

31

7

3

*

Blacks

33

45

10

11

1

Hispanics

47

32

12

8

1



H. The opportunities you have had to succeed in life

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

           

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

48

38

10

3

1

Men

53

36

8

2

1

Women

43

40

11

4

2

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

49

37

10

3

1

Blacks

40

43

10

6

1

Hispanics

44

36

10

8

2



I. Your job, or the work you do

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

           

2001 Jun 11-17^

         

National Adults

50

39

7

4

0

Men

50

39

6

5

0

Women

50

38

8

4

0

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

51

37

7

5

0

Blacks

36

47

9

7

1

Hispanics

51

35

7

7

0

           

^

BASED ON FULL- OR PART-TIME EMPLOYED NATIONAL ADULTS: N=646; ±4 PCT. PTS.

 

BASED ON FULL- OR PART-TIME EMPLOYED NATIONAL ADULT MEN: N=343; ±6 PCT. PTS.

 

BASED ON FULL- OR PART-TIME EMPLOYED NATIONAL ADULT WOMEN: N=303; ±6 PCT. PTS.

 

BASED ON FULL- OR PART-TIME EMPLOYED WHITES: N=528; ±5 PCT. PTS.

 

BASED ON FULL- OR PART-TIME EMPLOYED BLACKS: N=169; ±9 PCT. PTS.

 

BASED ON FULL- OR PART-TIME EMPLOYED HISPANICS: N=153; ±9 PCT. PTS.

*

Less than 0.5%



SATISFACTION SUMMARY TABLE (BASED ON "VERY SATISFIED")

2001 Jun 11-17
(sorted by "national adults")

National Adults

(NA)
Men

(NA)
Women

Non-Hisp.
Whites


Blacks


Hispanics

%

%

%

%

%

%

Family life

69

72

67

72

59

73

Current housing

63

63

63

66

41

45

Community as a place to live in

58

59

57

61

42

53

Safety from physical harm/violence

55

61

50

59

33

47

Personal health

54

57

52

54

54

57

Job/work

50

50

50

51

36

51

Opportunities to succeed in life

48

53

43

49

40

44

Education

45

48

44

48

38

38

Financial situation

26

28

25

29

15

23

(NA) National Adults

Next we'd like to know how you feel about the way various groups in society are treated. For each of the following groups please say whether you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied with the way they are treated. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. Immigrants

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

14

40

27

14

5

Men

17

43

25

11

4

Women

12

36

29

17

6

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

15

43

28

9

5

Blacks

6

29

32

25

8

Hispanics

10

26

27

33

4



B. Women

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

24

46

18

11

1

Men

35

45

13

6

1

Women

13

48

22

15

2

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

24

49

17

9

1

Blacks

14

33

31

20

2

Hispanics

27

33

18

20

2



C. Blacks

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

20

41

24

13

2

Men

26

40

21

11

2

Women

15

43

26

14

2

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

20

44

25

9

2

Blacks

8

31

28

32

1

Hispanics

15

35

26

18

6



D. Hispanics

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

16

44

23

12

5

Men

19

48

20

10

3

Women

13

41

27

13

6

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

17

47

23

9

4

Blacks

7

34

31

20

8

Hispanics

15

30

25

29

1



E. Asians

 

 

Very
satisfied

Somewhat satisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

21

48

18

5

8

Men

26

48

15

6

5

Women

16

48

21

5

10

           

Non-Hispanic Whites

21

50

18

4

7

Blacks

13

40

26

12

9

Hispanics

18

33

22

13

14



SATISFACTION SUMMARY TABLE (BASED ON "VERY/SOMEWHAT SATISFIED")


2001 Jun 11-17
(sorted by "national adults")


National Adults


(NA)
Men


(NA)
Women

Non-Hispanic Whites



Blacks



Hispanics

%

%

%

%

%

%

Women

70

80

61

73

47

60

Asians

69

74

64

71

53

51

Blacks

61

66

58

64

39

50

Hispanics

60

67

54

64

41

45

Immigrants

54

60

48

58

35

36

(NA) National Adults

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