Shannon Williams

Shannon Williams

Radio One, the largest Black-owned media company in the United States, and Edison Research recently released the findings of a race relations study. The study, “Black, White and Blue: A Spotlight on Race in America,” provided insight from respondents that may surprise you.

Following are highlights from the study as well as commentary from me that provides an additional perspective.

Discrimination

Highlight: “Ninety-one percent of all Americans acknowledge some, or a lot of discrimination against Blacks.”

Perspective: I must be honest; I would have never thought 91 percent of all Americans acknowledge discrimination against Blacks. The incredibly high percentage speaks to the fact that people of various backgrounds can actually acknowledge the maltreatment of others. That is significant and in stark contrast to the overall perspectives of this country 100 years ago.

Highlight: “Seven in every 10 Black Americans perceive a lot of bias against Blacks, compared to fewer than three in 10 whites.”

Perspective: The race relations study also found that Blacks and Whites were identical in their “perception of not having a racial bias.” Only 26 percent of Blacks and an equal percentage of whites believe they are racially biased. The finding above — that fewer than three in 10 whites perceive significant bias against Blacks — calls into question if white respondents were honest or realistic in their perception that they have no racial bias.

Senseless shootings

Highlight: “Black and White Americans are very concerned about the shooting of Dallas police officers, 72 and 77 percent respectively.” However, when it came to the shootings of Louisiana’s Alton Sterling and Minneapolis’ Philando Castile, “White Americans’ concerns drop by over 40 percent.”

Perspective: The poll results illustrate that White Americans value blue lives, or the lives of police officers, more than they value Black lives. Seventy-seven percent of White Americans are “very concerned” about the shooting deaths of police officers in Dallas, while only 43 percent and 44 percent of whites were “very concerned” with the deaths of Sterling and Castile.

Police relations with Blacks since Obama

Highlight: “Eighty-three percent of Blacks feel the relationship between Black Americans and the police have not changed, or have gotten worse since President Obama took office. White Americans echo the sentiment at 85 percent.”

Perspective: It is interesting how White Americans acknowledge the discriminatory and tumultuous relationship between Black Americans and police officers, but they are not concerned with the shooting deaths of Blacks at the hands of law enforcement. In this instance, Whites acknowledge the problem, but don’t seem to be bothered by the end result of the problem, which in many cases leads to the death or imprisonment of Black lives.

Police differences between Blacks and whites

Highlight: “Sixty-two percent of Black Americans are very concerned about their children having a negative experience with the police, while only 28 percent of whites share the same concern.”

Perspective: Children are our most precious beings, and parents naturally want to protect their offspring. It is a sad reality that more than half of Black parents fear for their children around police. Law enforcement officers are supposed to make us all feel safe, but that is not a reality for the majority of Blacks.

Highlight: “Blacks are 250 percent more likely than Whites to feel scared or threatened when stopped by police.”

Perspective: Anytime a demographic is 250 percent more likely to do or feel a specific way is of serious concern. This finding is the most alarming to me, and it states the severity of the country’s current issue regarding police and Blacks. This statistic should be plastered at all police headquarters, mass distributed to every law enforcement officer in the country and vocalized during training sessions. This has to be a call toward positive action from law enforcement.

The future

Highlight: Ninety-three percent of Blacks and Whites believe it is important for political candidates to address the conflict between Blacks and the police. However, Americans as a whole do not believe Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will improve race relations between Blacks and the police.

Perspective: While the aforementioned does not give us much hope for solutions to the maltreatment of Blacks by police officers from the presidential level, all is not lost. Blacks and whites agree overwhelmingly on the focus areas to improve the relationship between Blacks and police. The common ground approaches can all occur on local levels: increasing community policing, implementing body and dashboard cameras, civilian review boards, mandatory racial discrimination awareness training and the reduction of inner-city crime.

SHANNON WILLIAMS @IndyRecorder

http://www.indianapolisrecorder.com/opinion/article_8d1484e8-5fe5-11e6-9f08-fb21b5e5cfb6.html

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