Race and voting polarization

Earlier this week, Pew Research Center published a report examining the following question: How have Americans’ perceptions of how hard it is to be a black person in this country changed depending on voting choice?

After this summer of protests, widely shared imagery of police violence against black Americans, and exhausting debates about the merit’s of “anti-racism” and “white privilege,” here’s where we are:

Basically, more democratic voters now agree that it’s more difficult to be black in America (and the magnitude of this difficulty is greater) whereas Trump supporters have remained stagnant.

It’s pretty striking to see such a significant shift in perceptions over 4 years, particularly one that seemingly only effected half the population based on politics. Setting aside the emotionality and tension surrounding the debate about race in America, this is really disturbing. This speaks to the difference in media consumption and social interaction that has contributed to the broader polarization in the United States. And, what’s more, it suggests that this polarization gap is only growing and our most fundamental perceptions about American life and becoming more and more divergent.

We need to improve our channels of communication and understanding of each other to create more compassionate communities. We need to learn how to share our experiences without accusing others or internalizing victim mentalities. We’re getting distracted focusing on the differences between us, like race and gender, that may influence the types of obstacles we are likely to face. Rather, we need to look at the system that produces such obstacles and demand more equitable and fair outcomes for all.

Thank you Pew Research for continuing this important work!

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