Sunday, May 26, 2024

Survey of the South finds ‘shift’ on race issues

by BIZ Magazine

By Wes Muller, Louisiana Illuminator

A recent survey of 1,800 Southerners found that 74% believe the United States should offer some form of reparations to African Americans for harm caused by slavery and racial discrimination, though two-thirds of the survey respondents identified as Black or Latino. 

The 2022 annual Survey of the South from the New Orleans-based nonprofit E Pluribus Unum was conducted in December 2022 with assistance from the public relations firm Allison Partners. It included a pool of 1,800 respondents obtained from a panel data source that was divided equally among white, Black and Latino residents from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.  

The findings indicate a “growing openness” and “significant sentiment shift” on certain racial issues such as reparations and an accurate education on slavery and racism in schools, according to a press release from Allison Partners. 

Despite a reluctance among some conservatives to support critical race theory, 96% of the respondents said it was important for schools to teach the most accurate history of slavery, violence and discrimination against racial minorities in the U.S., with 40% of respondents saying this is extremely important to them. 

The results also indicate politicians and elected officials are the most distrusted information sources among 51% of respondents. Social media influencers and celebrities are the next most distrusted. Nearly three-quarters of respondents chose either family members, friends or doctors as the most trustworthy. White respondents were significantly more likely than Black and Hispanic respondents to say they trust police. 

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Attitudes on race: 46% of Southerners think race relations in the U.S. today are worse than five years ago, while nearly one-third feel there’s been no progress (32%)
  • Openness to differing views: 38% of respondents think they would be treated poorly by members of their local community if they chose to express beliefs that were different than theirs 
  • Political affinity and identity: Of the areas Southerners associate extremely or very central to their identity, political party is least often selected (29%). Instead, most Southerners report their gender identity, sexual orientation and race are extremely or very central to their identity (49%, 45% and 44%, respectively)
  • Sense of national community: Nearly half of Southerners feel people like them are being left behind in the United States (47%)

It is the sixth survey from E Pluribus Unum, an organization founded by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to track public opinions and attitudes on race, class and equity in the American South.

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