Public has negative views of the country’s racial progress; more than half say Trump has made race relations worse
More than 150 years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, most U.S. adults say the legacy of slavery continues to have an impact on the position of black people in American society today. More than four-in-ten say the country hasn’t made enough progress toward racial equality, and there is some skepticism, particularly among blacks, that black people will ever have equal rights with whites, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Opinions about the current state of race relations – and President Donald Trump’s handling of the issue – are also negative. About six-in-ten Americans (58%) say race relations in the U.S. are bad, and of those, few see them improving. Some 56% think the president has made race relations worse; just 15% say he has improved race relations and another 13% say he has tried but failed to make progress on this issue. In addition, roughly two-thirds say it’s become more common for people to express racist views since Trump became president.
关于当前种族关系状况的看法 - 以及唐纳德特朗普总统处理这个问题 - 也是消极的。大约六分之一的美国人（58％）表示美国的种族关系很糟糕，其中很少有人认为他们有所改善。约56％的人认为总统使种族关系恶化;只有15％的人表示他已经改善了种族关系，另有13％的人表示他已经尝试但未能在这个问题上取得进展。此外，大约三分之二的人表示，自特朗普担任总统以来，人们更多地表达种族主义观点。
Blacks are particularly gloomy about the country’s racial progress. More than eight-in-ten black adults say the legacy of slavery affects the position of black people in America today, including 59% who say it affects it a great deal. About eight-in-ten blacks (78%) say the country hasn’t gone far enough when it comes to giving black people equal rights with whites, and fully half say it’s unlikely that the country will eventually achieve racial equality.
Americans see disadvantages for blacks and Hispanics in the U.S. A majority of all adults (56%) say being black hurts people’s ability to get ahead at least a little, and 51% say the same about being Hispanic. In contrast, 59% say being white helps people’s ability to get ahead. Views about the impact of being Asian or Native American are more mixed.
Blacks, Hispanics and Asians are more likely than whites to say being white helps people’s ability to get ahead at least a little. Among whites, those who are more educated, as well as those who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, are particularly likely to see advantages to being white.
The nationally representative survey of 6,637 adults was conducted online Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2019, in English and Spanish, using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel. In addition to exploring the public’s views about the state of race relations and racial inequality in America, the survey also looks at personal experiences with racial and ethnic discrimination and the role race plays in people’s lives. Among the report’s key findings:
Most Americans say it’s now more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views; more than four-in-ten say it’s more acceptable
Most Americans (65%) – including majorities across racial and ethnic groups – say it has become more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views since Trump was elected president. A smaller but substantial share (45%) say this has become more acceptable.
大多数美国人（65％） - 包括种族和族裔群体中的大多数人 - 表示，自特朗普当选总统以来，人们更多地表达种族主义或种族不敏感的观点。较小但相当大的份额（45％）表示这已经变得更加可以接受了。
Democrats and those who lean Democratic are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to say it has become more common and more acceptable for people to express racist and racially insensitive views since Trump was elected president. Among Democrats, 84% say this is now more common and 64% say it’s more acceptable; fewer than half of Republicans say it has become more common (42%) and just 22% say it has become more acceptable for people to express these types of views.
Views of Trump’s handling of race relations are far more negative than views of how Obama handled the issue
A majority of Americans (56%) say Trump has made race relations worse; just 15% say he has made progress toward improving race relations, while 13% say he has tried but failed to make progress and 14% say he hasn’t addressed this issue. In contrast, 37% say Barack Obama made progress on race relations when he was president, and 27% say he tried but failed. A quarter of Americans say Obama made race relations worse. These retrospective views of Obama’s handling of race relations are nearly identical to views expressed during Obama’s last year in office.
Not surprisingly, assessments of Trump’s and Obama’s handling of race relations differ considerably along partisan lines. Democrats overwhelmingly say Trump has made race relations worse (84%), including large shares of black (79%) and white (86%) Democrats. Views are more divided among Republicans. About a third of Republicans (34%) say Trump has improved race relations and 25% say he has tried but failed to make progress; 19% of Republicans say he hasn’t addressed the issue, while 20% say he has made race relations worse.
When it comes to views of Obama’s handling of race relations, 55% of Democrats say he improved race relations during his presidency; just 8% say he made things worse. In contrast, 51% of Republicans say Obama made race relations worse, while 14% say he made progress toward improving it. As is the case with views of Trump’s handling of race relations, white and black Democrats offer somewhat similar assessments of how Obama handled this issue when he was president.
Republicans and Democrats have vastly different views on race
In addition to being linked to views of Trump’s handling of race relations, partisanship is strongly associated with racial attitudes more broadly. In fact, after controlling for other factors, partisanship has a greater association with views about the country’s racial progress than demographic factors, though being young and more educated are also significant predictors, particularly among whites.
Because whites and nonwhites often have widely different views of racial issues, and nonwhites disproportionately identify with or lean to the Democratic Party, gaps between Republicans and Democrats are often shown among whites in this report in order to account for differences in the racial composition of the two parties.
White Democrats (64%) are far more likely than white Republicans (15%) to say the country hasn’t gone far enough when it comes to giving black people equal rights with whites. About half of Republicans say it’s been about right, while a sizable minority (31%) says the country has gone too far in this regard.
Eight-in-ten white Democrats – vs. 40% of white Republicans – say the legacy of slavery continues to have an impact on black people’s position in American society today. And when it comes to views about racial discrimination, 78% of white Democrats say the bigger problem is people not seeing it where it really does exist, while a similar share of white Republicans say people seeing racial discrimination where it really does not exist is the bigger problem.
十分之八的白人民主党人 - 相对于40％的白人共和党人 - 说奴隶制的遗产继续对黑人在当今美国社会中的地位产生影响。当涉及到种族歧视的观点时，78％的白人民主党人表示，更大的问题是人们没有看到它确实存在的地方，而相似的白人共和党人说，人们看到种族歧视确实不存在的是更大的问题。
Blacks are more likely than other groups to say their race has had a negative impact on their ability to get ahead; whites are the most likely to say their race helped them
About half of black adults (52%) say being black has hurt their ability to get ahead at least a little, with 18% saying it has hurt a lot. About a quarter of Hispanics and Asians (24% each) and just 5% of whites say their race or ethnicity has had a negative impact. In turn, whites are more likely than other groups to say their racial background has helped them at least a little.
Among blacks, those with at least some college experience are more likely than those with less education to say being black has hurt their ability to get ahead.
Education is also linked with whites’ perceptions of the impact their race has had on their ability to get ahead. Small shares of whites across educational levels say their racial background has hurt their ability to succeed, but those with a bachelor’s degree are more likely than those with less education to say being white helped them at least a little.
Across all racial and ethnic groups, more point to their own hard work than to any other attribute, including their race, their gender, the people they know or their family’s financial situation, as something that helped them get ahead.
Blacks, whites differ in assessments of why it may be harder for black people to get ahead
Whether or not they see their race as an obstacle for them personally, about two-thirds of blacks (68%) say being black generally hurts a person’s ability to get ahead in the country; 55% of whites say the same.
Among those who say being black hurts a person’s ability to get ahead, blacks are far more likely than whites to point to racial discrimination, less access to high-paying jobs and less access to good schools as major reasons why this is the case. In turn, whites are more likely than blacks to point to family instability and lack of good role models as major obstacles for black people. The same shares in both groups (22%) say a lack of motivation to work hard is to blame.
There are wide partisan gaps in these views. Most white Democrats who say being black hurts a person’s ability to succeed point to racial discrimination (70%) and less access to good schools (75%) or high-paying jobs (64%) as major reasons for this (among black Democrats, the shares are 86%, 74% and 78%, respectively). By comparison, about a third or fewer white Republicans say these are major obstacles for blacks. White Republicans are more likely than white Democrats to cite family instability, lack of good role models and a lack of motivation to work hard.
Majorities of black and white adults say blacks are treated less fairly than whites in dealing with police and by the criminal justice system
Black and white adults have widely different perceptions of how blacks are treated in America, but majorities of both groups say blacks are treated less fairly than whites by the criminal justice system (87% of blacks vs. 61% of whites) and in dealing with police (84% vs. 63%, respectively).
About six-in-ten blacks or more – but fewer than half of whites – say blacks are treated less fairly than whites in hiring, pay and promotions; when applying for a loan or mortgage; in stores or restaurants; when voting in elections; and when seeking medical treatment. In each of these realms, whites tend to say blacks and whites are treated about equally; very small shares say whites are treated less fairly than blacks.
大约六分之一的黑人或更多 - 但不到一半的白人 - 说黑人在招聘，薪酬和晋升方面的待遇低于白人;申请贷款或抵押时;在商店或餐馆;在选举中投票;并在寻求医疗时。在这些领域中，白人倾向于说黑人和白人被平等对待;非常小的股票表示，白人的待遇不如黑人。
Across these different areas, there are gaps ranging from 39 to 53 percentage points in how white Democrats and white Republicans see the treatment of blacks in the U.S. About half or more white Democrats say blacks are treated less fairly than whites in dealing with the police (88% vs. 43% of white Republicans); by the criminal justice system (86% vs. 39%); in hiring, pay and promotions (72% vs. 21%); when applying for a mortgage or loan (64% vs. 17%); in stores or restaurants (62% vs. 16%); when voting in elections (60% vs. 7%); and when seeking medical treatment (48% vs. 9%).
In some of these areas, black and white Democrats express similar views, but larger shares of black Democrats say black people are treated less fairly than whites in employment situations (86%), when applying for a loan or mortgage (78%), in stores or restaurants (73%), and when seeking medical treatment (61%).
Most Americans, including similar shares of whites and blacks, say it’s never acceptable for a white person to use the N-word
Seven-in-ten U.S. adults say they, personally, think it’s never acceptable for a white person to use the N-word; 13% say this is rarely acceptable and about one-in-ten say it is always (3%) or sometimes (6%) acceptable for a white person to use the N-word. Roughly seven-in-ten whites and blacks say this is never acceptable.
A smaller share of Hispanics (58%) say it’s never acceptable for a white person to use the N-word, but this is driven in part by the relatively large share of foreign-born Hispanics (28%) who say they are not sure whether it’s acceptable for a white person to use the N-word. Among Hispanics born in the U.S., 67% say this is never acceptable.
When it comes to black people using the N-word, about four-in-ten adults – including similar shares of blacks and whites – say they, personally, think it is never acceptable; 15% say it is rarely acceptable and about a third say it’s always (13%) or sometimes (20%) acceptable for black people to use the N-word.
对于使用N字的黑人来说，大约四分之一的成年人 - 包括类似的黑人和白人 - 说他们个人认为这是永远不可接受的; 15％的受访者表示很少能够接受，而且约有三分之一的受访者认为黑人使用N字一直是（13％）或有时（20％）。
Most black adults say being black is extremely or very important to how they think about themselves
Blacks are more likely than Hispanics or Asians – and much more likely than whites – to say that their race is central to their identity. About three-quarters of black adults say being black is extremely (52%) or very (22%) important to how they think of themselves; 59% of Hispanics and 54% of Asians say being Hispanic or Asian, respectively, is at least very important to their overall identity, with about three-in-ten in each group saying it’s extremely important. In contrast, just 15% of whites say being white is very or extremely important to how they think of themselves; about two-thirds say it’s either only a little important (18%) or not important at all (47%).
黑人比西班牙人或亚洲人更容易 - 而且比白人更可能 - 说他们的种族对他们的身份至关重要。大约四分之三的黑人成年人认为黑人对他们自己的想法非常重要（52％）或非常（22％）; 59％的西班牙裔和54％的亚洲人分别说他们是西班牙裔或亚洲人，至少对他们的整体身份非常重要，每组中大约三分之一的人说这是非常重要的。相比之下，只有15％的白人认为白人对他们自己的看法非常或非常重要;大约三分之二的人说它要么有点重要（18％），要么根本不重要（47％）。
Whites and blacks younger than 30 are less likely than their older counterparts to say their race is at least very important to their overall identity. Some 64% of black adults ages 18 to 29 say being black is at least very important, compared with roughly three-quarters or more among older age groups. And while relatively few whites across age groups say being white is central to how they think about themselves, whites younger than 30 are among the least likely to say so.
Among Hispanics, those born abroad are more likely than those born in the U.S. to say being Hispanic is at least very important to how they think of themselves (65% vs. 52%).
Majorities of blacks, Hispanics and Asians say they have experienced discrimination because of their race or ethnicity
About three-quarters of blacks (76%) and Asians (75%) – and 58% of Hispanics – say they have experienced discrimination or have been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity at least from time to time. In contrast, about two-thirds of whites (67%) say they’ve never experienced this.
大约四分之三的黑人（76％）和亚洲人（75％） - 以及58％的西班牙裔美国人 - 说他们经历过歧视，或者因为种族或种族至少不时受到不公平对待。相比之下，大约三分之二的白人（67％）表示他们从未经历过这种情况。
When asked about specific situations they may have experienced because of their race or ethnicity, blacks are considerably more likely than whites, Hispanics or Asians to say that people have acted as if they were suspicious of them; people have acted as if they thought they weren’t smart; they have been treated unfairly by an employer in hiring, pay or promotion; or they have been unfairly stopped by police. Hispanics and Asians are more likely than whites to say each of these have happened to them.
Asians are more likely than any other group to say they have been subject to slurs or jokes because of their race or ethnicity. In turn, more whites than blacks, Hispanics or Asians say people have assumed they were prejudiced or racist; 45% of whites have had this experience.
For Hispanics, skin color is associated with experiences with discrimination
The survey asked black and Hispanic respondents to identify the skin tone that best resembles their own using a modified version of the Massey-Martin scale. A multivariate analysis suggests that Hispanics with darker skin tones are more likely than those with lighter skin to say they have ever experienced discrimination or been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity. Darker skin color is also associated with a higher likelihood among Hispanics of saying that – because of their race or ethnicity – people have acted as if they were suspicious of them, people have acted as if they thought they weren’t smart, they have been treated unfairly in employment situations, they have subject to slurs or jokes, and that they have feared for their safety.
该调查要求黑人和西班牙裔受访者使用改良版Massey-Martin量表来识别最适合自己的肤色。一项多变量分析表明，皮肤较深的西班牙裔人比皮肤较浅的人更容易说他们曾因歧视或因种族或族裔而受到不公平对待。较深的皮肤颜色也与西班牙裔人中更高的可能性相关 - 因为他们的种族或种族 - 人们表现得好像他们怀疑他们，人们表现得好像他们认为他们不聪明，他们一直在就业情况下受到不公平对待，他们受到辱骂或笑话，并且担心他们的安全。
Among blacks, those with darker skin tones are more likely to say they have experienced racial discrimination generally, but skin color is not necessarily associated with having faced specific situations because of their race or ethnicity. In fact, for blacks, being male and having higher levels of education are more consistently associated with the specific forms of discrimination asked about in the survey.
A note about the Asian sample
This survey includes an oversample of Asian respondents, for a total sample size of 355 Asians. The sample includes English-speaking Asians only and, therefore, may not be representative of the overall U.S. Asian population (64% of our weighted Asian sample was born in another country, compared with 78% of the U.S. Asian adult population overall).
Despite this limitation, it is important to report the views of Asians on race relations and racial inequality, as well as their personal experiences with racial discrimination, as the U.S. Asian population is growing faster than any other major racial or ethnic group. Measuring the attitudes of Asians on these topics is an important piece in understanding the state of race in America today.
As always, Asians’ responses are incorporated into the general population figures throughout this report; data are weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population as a whole. Asians are shown as a separate group when the question was asked of the full sample. Because of the relatively small sample size and a reduction in precision due to weighting, results are not shown separately for Asians for questions that were only asked of a random half of respondents (Form 1/Form 2) or some filtered questions. We are also not able to analyze Asian respondents by demographic categories, such as gender, age or education.
References to whites, blacks and Asians include only those who are non-Hispanic and identify as only one race. Hispanics are of any race.
All references to party affiliation include those who lean toward that party: Republicans include those who identify as Republicans and independents who say they lean toward the Republican Party, and Democrats include those who identify as Democrats and independents who say they lean toward the Democratic Party.
References to college graduates or people with a college degree comprise those with a bachelor’s degree or more. “Some college” includes those with an associate degree and those who attended college but did not obtain a degree. “High school” refers to those who have a high school diploma or its equivalent, such as a General Education Development (GED) certificate.
对大学毕业生或具有大学学位的人的参考包括具有学士学位或更多学位的人。 “一些大学”包括那些具有副学士学位和那些上大学但没有获得学位的人。 “高中”是指具有高中文凭或同等学历的人，如通识教育发展（GED）证书。
Foreign born refers to people born outside of the United States, Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories to parents neither of whom was a U.S. citizen, regardless of legal status.
U.S. born refers to individuals who are U.S. citizens at birth, including people born in the United States, Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories, as well as those born elsewhere to parents who were U.S. citizens.