Race relations in the United States are on a downward trajectory as the country's so-called cultural melting pot has spurred more concerns and worry than promise, a new Gallup survey has found. The percentage of Americans who fret "a great deal" over the state of race relations is at an all-time high since Gallup began posing the question in 2001.
Thirty-five percent of people surveyed expressed their "great" worry over race relations in the country, a figure that is seven percentage points higher than one year ago and more than two times what it was two years ago. Perhaps nowhere is the divide more noticeable than on the 2016 presidential election trail, where Republican front-runner presidential candidate Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric has alienated everyone from undocumented immigrants to Mexicans to women to black people and white people, among members of other races.
Just one year ago, 31 percent of black people worried "a great deal" about race relations in the U.S. but now that number is up to 53 percent. Likewise, white people's worry also increased, from 14 percent last year to currently 27 percent.
The percentage of Americans who say they worry a "great deal" about race relations has DOUBLED in the last 2 years pic.twitter.com/tN5uxyKiBY
— Justin Green (@JGreenDC) April 11, 2016
The Gallup poll, which surveyed 1,019 adults, has a 4 percent margin of error and was conducted March 2-6, comes on the heels of several racially polarizing events nationwide. The issue has been particularly prevalent on college campuses but also in houses of worship for Muslims, who are often of Arabic descent. The trend of unarmed black males dying at the hands of white law enforcement -- who have many times either escaped criminal charges or been acquitted -- has also been a point of contention since 2014, when the social justice movement Black Lives Matter came to prominence.
However, less than a year removed from race-based episodes at schools such as the University of Missouri and Yale University, for example, more than 80 percent of college presidents said race relations on their campuses were at least good, at most excellent, reported U.S. News & World Report late last month.
A separate poll taken earlier this year found that half of U.S. adults thought race relations were getting worse. Like the Gallup poll, the Rasmussen Reports survey showed an increase from the year prior and a 20 percent growth from two years earlier. Conversely, the number of people who thought race relations were improving was on the decline, down to 20 percent compared with 38 percent five years ago.