Poll Reveals that White America Views Black Lives Matter Movement as a Distraction

By Kenrya Rankin Sep 22, 2015

Black lives may matter, but according to a new poll, the majority of white America thinks the Black Lives Movement distracts from the “real” issues of racial discrimination.

That’s just one of the insights from a new poll from PBS NewsHour and Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion, which was conducted in advance of the PBS broadcast of “America After Charleston.” Across the board, white respondents felt that blacks enjoy more opportunities than that group identified for itself.

Among the highlights (from a poll summary provided by PBS NewsHour):

  • When it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement, 59 percent of whites polled thought it distracted attention from the real issues of racial discrimination, while just 26 percent of African Americans agreed. And while 67 percent of blacks view it as a movement, just 46 percent of whites think so—and 40 percent think it’s just a “slogan.” Fully 41 percent think it advocates violence.
  • While just 21 percent of black people polled said that they have the same opportunity as their white peers to be hired for a job, 52 percent of whites thought black candidates have the same chance of landing the position.
  • When asked if blacks and whites have the same chance for equal justice under the law, 50 percent of whites said yes, while just 11 percent of blacks felt the same. Those numbers tick downward when talking about fair treatment from the police, with 42 percent of whites saying things are equal, and just 8 percent of blacks agreeing.
  • One in three (33 percent) white people felt race relations has been given too much attention during the 2016 presidential election race. Nineteen percent of blacks were on the same page.