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Pew Poll Shows Americans’ Outlook on Racial Equality

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 26 Aug 2013 06:13am | comments
A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that since the historic March on Washington fewer than half of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress toward racial equality. This week marks the 50th Anniversary of the famous march and  about the same number say that a lot more remains to be done. 
 
Since the 1963 March on Washington a large gap still remains between whites and blacks on many different measures including education, voter participation and life expectancy. That's according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. Richard Morin co-authored the study. He says one of the most sobering aspects deals with household income.   
 
"The gap there has increased from about $19,000 in 1960 to to $27,000 now even as both races overall have made improvements in their income, it's just like the tide is raising both ships, seems to be raising the White ship a little bit more than the Black," says Morin.
 
Susan Glissen, Director of the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi says part of the challenge lies in the misunderstanding of Martin Luther King Jr.'s  famous  "I have a Dream" speech.
 
"In fact, the theme of the March on Washington was for jobs and freedom and I think people focus more on the sort of personal interaction, judging my children by the content of their character and not by their skin color and we forget the larger instiutional issues that continue to plague us," says Glissen.
 
It's an issue that greatly concerns civil rights activist, Reverend John Cameron, Pastor of Greater Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson.
"The hoods are off, but the activity still goes on in 2 and 3 piece suits.   You will be denied loans at the bank, you will be denied promotions on jobs, by saying you are either overly qualified or not qualified enough yet people are hired who do not have your qualificationm" says Cameron.  "So I think this is our new thrust, we have not arrived yet, but we are on our way," 
 
Only about 1 in 4 African-Americans say the situation of Blacks is better now than it was just five years ago. That's down sharply from the Pew survey in 2009.  
 

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