In a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted earlier this week, 91% of black Americans surveyed said that the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin was unjustified. Among whites, that number was 35%; among Latinos, 59%.
“This incident is one of the clearest splits we’ve seen between whites and blacks,” Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson told Reuters.
“African Americans have a significantly different perspective on the whole incident than white Americans or Hispanic Americans,” Jackson said.
The fact that whites and blacks have such starkly differing views on whether Trayvon Martin was unjustly killed is a sad reflection on the state of race relations in this country, says Terry Keleher, Director of the Racial Justice Leadership Action Network at the Applied Research Center, Colorlines.com’ publisher.
“White people want to view this as an isolated incident and dismiss any possibility that racism could be at play. Meanwhile, black people see this incident as part of a long -standing and well-documented pattern of racism, where men of color are routinely racially profiled and treated unfairly, often with deadly consequences,” Keleher said.
“What’s most troubling about this is that the views of most whites seem to align closely with those of the Florida law enforcement establishment, which, by its actions and inaction, has been mostly sympathetic to the perspective and plight of a light-skinned armed and aggressive assailant than an unarmed and murdered black youth,” Keleher added.
The online poll of 1,922 Americans was conducted between Monday and Thursday and included 1,289 whites, 219 African-Americans and 267 Latinos.