Survey: More than half of Black Americans say race relations in U.S. are generally good

Yesterday we honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and remembered the dream he had for all Americans. A dream that focuses on our common humanity over identity politics and racial division. A dream that while not yet fully realized, has had progress made toward fully achieving it and is still of importance today, according to Americans polled by the Economist/YouGov.

Conducted in January 2023, the poll asked 1,500 U.S. adult citizens a variety of questions, including ones focused on MLK’s legacy and dreams. By a ratio of two-to-one (69 percent to 31 percent), King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is still seen as relevant today. Two-in-five Americans say most (“a great deal” and “quite a bit”) of his dream of racial equality has been achieved.

When asked about race relations in the U.S. today, half of Americans say they are generally good (51 percent), with 59 percent of Hispanic Americans and 54 percent of Black Americans agreeing. White respondents are split, 50-50. When broken down by age, 63 percent of 18 to 29 year olds see race relations in the country as generally good.

This gives me hope that we as a society can continue building on decades of progress, as work does remain.

But that work must be grounded in “one of the most important lessons that King has taught us” that Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) advisor Monica Harris believes has been forgotten: “achieving racial equality relies not only on our ability to see and appreciate our differences, but also our willingness to look beyond them.”

…[S]itting at the table of brotherhood doesn’t just mean making space for people who don’t look like us or share our life experiences. It doesn’t mean separating ourselves by breaking into affinity groups. Sitting together means appreciating our unique differences while embracing what we have in common and celebrating our shared humanity.