A year after Ferguson, 6 in 10 Americans say changes are needed to give blacks and whites equal rights


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Breaking News!

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By Scott Clement, the Washington Post

A growing number of Americans say the country needs more changes to give blacks equal rights, according to a new Washington Post poll — the black_lives_matterlatest evidence that events in the year since Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo., almost one year ago have fueled fundamental concerns about racial equality.

The Post poll found 60 percent saying the nation needs to continue making changes to give blacks and whites equal rights, while 37 percent say those changes have already been made. The findings mark a shift from a 2014 Pew Research Center poll asking the same question. Back then, prior to Ferguson, 46 percent said more changes were needed to guarantee equal treatment…

Altogether, the latest surveys show the public has reacted to the past year by growing more sensitive to racial discrimination and equality, even as deep divisions persist on the extent of the problem and potential solutions. And it remains to be seen whether concern about racial problems will motivate Americans to push for specific changes in their own communities, where people see considerably less racial tension and inequality.

In the Post poll, the 14-point growth in support for changes comes from across the demographic and political spectrum. Majority opinion flipped among whites, with 53 percent now saying more changes are needed, compared with 39 percent in 2014. Blacks are even more resolute than last year, with 90 percent saying changes are needed, rising 11 points from 2014. Among Hispanics, the share saying changes are needed to ensure equality for blacks rose 15 points, from 54 to 69 percent…

In addition to worries about overall equality, surveys over the past year have found more Americans are worried about the state of race relations — and fairness in the criminal justice system, in particular…

Fully 57 percent said race relations are “generally bad,” while 37 percent said they are good; that marked an about-face from May 2014, when 55 percent rated race relations in the U.S. positively.

The drop was driven by sharply falling assessments of black and white Americans; fewer than four in 10 in either group now say race relations are good…

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