Pew Survey Reveals Enduring Racial Divide

A recent survey released by The Pew Research Center reflected the enduring racial divide in America that was largely exposed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

While 17 percent of Caucasians said government response to the Katrina disaster would have been faster if most victims had been white, a larger 66 percent of African Americans said the same.

Viewing the Katrina response in the larger context of social issues, 71 percent of African Americans said racial inequality is still a major problem, compared to 32 percent of whites, according to the survey conducted on Sept. 8.

While some say the hurricane's circumstances brought about racial differences, others say the disaster only magnified the enduring racial cleavage nationwide.

The Rev. Willie F. Wilson of Union Temple Baptist Church said that the dynamics of what took place in "New Orleans parallels to the national statistics of us nationwide," as he spoke for the African American community.

Previous findings by The Pew Research Center revealed the longstanding large gaps between the opinion of white and that of blacks on various issues.

Based on Pew's polling in December 2004 on Political Typology, 77 percent of whites said the position of blacks in American society has improved in recent years as opposed to 56 percent of blacks who agreed.

Racial discrimination against blacks is still largely present as only 3 in 10 for both groups say racial discrimination is rare. When polled on the impediment that discrimination brings, 45 percent of African Americans said discrimination is the reason why blacks don't get ahead, compared to 24 percent of Caucasians.

As the Rev. Grainger Browning, senior pastor of Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church, had said during a tribute prayer to the late Rosa Parks, racism, poverty and injustice still exist and the nation is called to carry on efforts against it.

For more survey results from The Pew Research Center, visit www.people-press.org.