While a New York Times headline proclaims that race relations are “generally bad” and at an all-time low since the early 1990’s, more poignant points lay hidden further along in the report when readers learn the differences in black and white opinion.
Among other reasons, the comparison between opinions is important because of the graveness of the differences.
Black Americans generally feel police departments are only poorly or fairly run while white Americans describe them as adequately or superiorly run. The same themes emerge when asked about how police make communities feel; black Americans tended to feel anxiety about police rather than safety, while white Americans feel the opposite.
For most of the country’s history, certain voices have been privileged over others. For this reason, openly explaining differences in opinions of Americans with diverse identities can be extremely eye-opening. However, the news-worthiness of the “new” lowness serves as an example and reification of white privilege.
Despite recent studies revealing a decline in morale for both black and white Americans, the “generally bad” perception of race relations has remained at an unacceptable level for black and other minority Americans since the birth of the country.
For that group, the lowness is not new.
When race issues make primetime news slots and white Americans are forced to face the distress and discomfort caused by minority disenfranchisement, headlines begin to deem race relations at decade low rates.
Minorities, I’d argue, have felt the lowness in race relations their entire lives. News outlets must be careful when considering certain communities’ privileged voices while taking full advantage of opportunities to give voice to those who are typically silenced.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.