America, Actually Making Progress on Race — That Is Until Someone Feels Threatened by Race
Record-High 86% Approve of Black-White Marriages
Ninety-six percent of blacks, 84% of whites approve
PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans are approaching unanimity in their views of marriages between blacks and whites, with 86% now approving of such unions. Americans' views on interracial marriage have undergone a major transformation in the past five decades. When Gallup first asked about black-white marriages in 1958, 4% approved. More Americans disapproved than approved until 1983, and approval did not exceed the majority level until 1997.
John Hope Bryant Commentary
These results from Gallup are encouraging on the one hand, and telling on the other. On its face, this is an incredibly telling trend line, and something we should be exceedingly proud of as a nation. The chart has been marching in one distinct, solid direction since the time Dr. King marched in Selma.
On the other hand, we still have very real problems with race, which seems to fly in the face of these Gallup facts. They actually don't. These realities are both right.
The only problem with this Gallup poll (which I believe is accurate) is that people are answering these questions when in a completely rational moment. But race and racism, very much like money issues, are not rational. They are emotion, and these emotions get fed and stoked by fear.
If Blacks and minorities walk into a department store, or a bank, or most any other kind of business, the irrational 'fear' that we are all thieves and crooks comes immediately to mind for many of those those tending security cameras, and retail store 'minders' seem to find minorities in these situations like bees find honey. As Asians are discriminated against' with respect to stereotyped views, and just like those with HIV/AIDS were once perceived to be infectious merely through the shaking of their hands, this old and tired stigma about Blacks and minorities too must soon die.
Or take the fear of economics. For decades, mainstream whites had no problem with things such as Affirmative Action, or other means of leveling the access and achievement-gap playing field. But when the economy slid into the ocean, and their (white) friends and family members began to lose their jobs, the irrational fear' of how these policies were in fact discriminating against them, became the new norm.
We have made progress, but we have so very far to go. Banishing our own fears and hand ups has as much to do with Dr. King's long held dream of "redeeming the soul of America,' as changing laws and creating good public policy.
At the end of the day, we deal with people, and not governments, corporations or communities.
People made wrong decisions, and now you and I have a chance to make some right ones. Let's go.
Onward and with HOPE