A new Associated Press poll reveals that racial prejudice in the United States has increased since the groundbreaking 2008 election. That's right. Barack Obama's historic rise to the presidency has actually resulted in race relations worsening. The poll found that a majority of Americans exhibit anti-black and anti-Latino bias. For people of color this isn't exactly groundbreaking news, but what's troubling is that bigotry in the U.S. will likely cost Obama 5 percent of the popular vote.
The survey that tracked anti-black bias was conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 11. It found that today 51 percent of Americans harbor anti-black attitudes, a jump of three percent since 2008. Last year the AP conducted a poll to track anti-Hispanic bias. It found that 52 percent of whites harbored anti-Latino sentiments. I suspect the debate over illegal immigration is to blame for this, even though most Latinos living in the United States are not undocumented immigrants and many can trace their roots for generations--before a U.S.-Mexico border even existed.
The AP poll also investigated the extent to which Republicans, Democrats or political independents harbor racial prejudice. It found that a staggering 79 percent of Republicans harbor explicitly racist views, compared to 32 percent of Democrats. Another test the AP conducted found that 64 percent of Republicans exhibit racial prejudice, while 55 percent of Democrats do. That same test found that 49 percent of political independents harbor such views. Could the fact that independents are the group of voters least likely to be prejudiced mean that they're not the centrists portrayed in the mainstream media but actually more liberal than Democrats are? I know people who choose to be independents because they take issue with both Democrats and Republicans or view the two parties as essentially the same.
The finding that Republicans are far more likely to harbor prejudice than voters from other parties certainly won't do much to change perceptions that the GOP is racist. Whether Obama wins or loses reelection next week, it will be more difficult for the GOP to be successful in future elections given that the nation has grown increasingly racially diverse.