Blacks, Lati­nos agree racism a ‘ma­jor prob­lem,’ whites say no

Chicago Sun-Times - - Front Page - BY STEFANO ES­POS­ITO

Nearly two years af­ter the nation elected its first black pres­i­dent, Amer­i­cans re­main deeply di­vided on how big of a prob­lem racism is, a new sur­vey finds, with most blacks and Lati­nos say­ing it’s a “ma­jor prob­lem” and most whites say­ing it’s not.

Sixty-nine per­cent of African Amer­i­cans and 51 per­cent of Lati­nos said they con­sider racism a “ma­jor prob­lem,” ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago study re­leased last week.

That com­pares with 29 per­cent of whites and 32 per­cent of Asian Amer­i­cans.

That “po­lar­iza­tion” sug­gests that Pres­i­dent Obama needs to do more to bridge that gap, said Cathy J. Co­hen, a U. of C. po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor who was one of the sur­vey’s lead in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

“This is an­other missed op- por­tu­nity on the part of the pres­i­dent,” Co­hen said. “I’m a sup­porter of the pres­i­dent . . . but his un­will­ing­ness to lead around is­sues of race, in­stead of just re­act­ing to crises, has left a void there that has been filled by the right wing, in many ways.”

The project — spon­sored by the Ford Foun­da­tion — in­cluded sur­veys of a na­tion­ally rep­re­sen­ta­tive 3,000 peo­ple from 2008 to early this year, ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers.

The sur­vey also asked whether the growth of mi­nor­ity pop­u­la­tions strength­ens the United States. Sixty-four per­cent of Lati­nos said yes, along with 51 per­cent of blacks, 50 per­cent of AsianAmer­i­cans and 18 per­cent of whites.

Pres­i­dent Obama

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