POLL: Young White Adults Think Black Lives Matter Encourages Violence Against Police

By Kenrya Rankin Sep 06, 2016

A new survey shows that while people outside the Black community say they support the Black Lives Matter movement, they seem to have a skewed view of the network of activists, which seeks to affirm “Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

The latest release from Black Youth Project’s GenForward survey—a collaboration with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research—surveyed 1,958 people ages 18 to 30 via cell phones and landlines to find out what they think about race, the police and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The poll uncovered a massive gap in perception between White young adults and POC when it comes to the issue of police killing Black people in America. While 91 percent of Blacks feel that the “killing of Black people by police” is “extremely/very serious,” just 43 percent of Whites surveyed agreed. Sixty-three percent of Asian-Americans and 71 percent of Latinxs agree that it’s a major problem. More than a quarter of Whites feel that it is not at all a serious problem.


While 72 percent of African Americans surveyed feel that the police-involved deaths in their communities are part of a larger pattern, only 40 percent of Whites think it is a systemic problem. In fact, 48 percent of Whites see them as isolated incidents. Just over half (51 percent) of Latinxs think there is a larger problem; 61 percent of Asians see the bigger picture.

While professing support for BLM, the respondents who did not identify as Black also demonstrated a lack of understanding of the movement’s mission and methods. While 51 percent of White people surveyed said they support the movement, 66 percent of them said that they think it encourages violence against police, despite repeated statements to the contrary.


Read a summary of the poll here, and the full report here.