Some Movement on Racial Justice


Some Movement on Racial Justice

As will be discussed further below, there is a huge racial divide when it comes to attitudes towards the criminal justice system in general, and the police is particular, with blacks, and to a lesser extent Latinos, believing they experience far less equality and equal treatment than white Americans. There has, however, been some progress. As the chart below shows, significantly more Americans now believe that the criminal justice system is biased against blacks than was the case in earlier years. Between 2007 and 2015, the percentage increased by 13 points, from 36 percent to 49 percent. Between 1995 and 2015 it increased by almost 30 points, and for the first time more Americans believe the system is biased than fair.

Colorful bar graph showing the change in Americans' beliefs that the criminal justice system is biased against blacks with years on the y-axis and percentage points on the x-axis.

Figure 10. Source: New York Times/CBS News Poll54

As one would expect, African Americans are much less sanguine about fairness in the criminal justice system. In 2015, 77 percent of African Americans believed the system was biased, as compared to 44 percent of whites, still a minority.55

 

 

54 New York Times/CBS News Poll on Race Relations in the U.S., July 23, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/23/us/document-new- york-timescbs-news-poll-on-race-relations-in-the-us.html?_r=0. Whites are now evenly split on this question: 44 percent believe the system is biased, 46 percent believe it is fair, 5 percent believe the system is biased in favor of blacks, and 5 percent don’t know See also CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation, “Survey of Americans on Race,” November 2015. http://kff.org/other/report/survey-of-americans-on-race/.

55 Ibid.