The majority of Americans say racial and ethnic discrimination is “a big problem” in the United States and many believe the country’s race relations have gotten worse under President Barack Obama, according to a new poll.
Only 15 percent of Americans say that race relations have improved under the first black US president and 43 percent said there had been no change, an Al Jazeera America/Monmouth University Poll has found.
African-American respondents were nearly evenly split on the question while whites were most likely to say things had gotten worse. Latinos were more likely than whites to say things had not changed since Obama was elected president.
Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of both black and Latino respondents described racial and ethnic discrimination in the US as “a big problem,” the survey found. Slightly less than half of whites said the same.
Race and racism have dominated news headlines and politics for much of Obama’s time in the White House.
Mass rallies were held across the United States on Monday during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday to honor the civil rights icon and protest against the mistreatment of minorities by police.
The killing of several unarmed black men by white police officers in recent months and decisions by grand juries not to indict the officers has triggered large-scale protests across the US.
There is also widespread racial disparity in the US criminal justice system. According to a study by the Sentencing Project research group, one in three black males are likely to be sentenced to prison sometime during their life. The figure for white men is one in 17.