Chicago Sun-Times

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


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.

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President Obama

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