The Washington Post-ABC News poll from earlier this week offers some unsurprising insight into the state of race relations since President Obama was elected.
Thirty-five percent of folks polled said that race relations had improved since he took office. But in January 2009 when Obama took office 58 percent of people polled said they expected race issues to take the turn for the better. Such news is unsurprising given the intensely racialized debates, namely around immigration, health care and Obama himself, that have overtaken the national discourse.
More important, whites and blacks (the only two racial groups polled) differ greatly in their opinions about the country. In 2011, as in 2009, blacks were far more likely than whites to think that Obama’s presidency was a positive influence on race relations in the country. But on the flip side, whites in both years were also far more likely than blacks to think that the country had already achieved racial equality. Consider that ignorance a byproduct of racial privilege. Both groups were less optimistic overall today than they were two years ago, though tiny majority of blacks polled continue to have a great deal of hope about the impact Obama’s presidency will have on the country.
The real head-scratcher though is how the Washington Post did this poll without including Latinos, Asian-Americans or folks of Arab or Middle Eastern descent. See the numbers in full here.