Via Inside Higher Ed comes news of latest Gallup poll showing stark differences among blacks, whites, and Hispanics on many topics.
Two-thirds of Americans believe college applicants should be admitted solely based on merit, even if that results in few minorities being admitted, while 28% believe an applicant's racial and ethnic background should be taken into account to promote diversity on college campuses. Three-quarters of whites and 59% of Hispanics believe applicants should be judged only on merit, while blacks are divided in their views.
Other recent results from Gallup show even bigger differences among black, white, and Hispanic attitudes. Asked "do you think the American justice system is biased against black people?," 68 percent of non-Hispanic blacks agreed while only 25 percent of non-Hispanic whites said yes. Compared to 20 years ago, many fewer blacks ascribe lower-than-average income and employment to racism, but a majority still is "unhappy with how blacks are treated in U.S. society."
And while majorities of all broadly defined racial and ethnic groups believe that relations among them are "very/somewhat good," it's clear that whites think things are smoother between them and blacks than do blacks or Hispanics. And blacks think things are better between them and Hispanics than either Hispanics or whites do (see table).
I'm not sure that it's worth reading too much into attitudes about things such as racial preferences based on the sorts of information gleaned form such surveys. But more frank and open conversation rather than less about race, opportunity, and pluralism might help to close what gaps there are. Of course, however difficult talk is, it's still pretty cheap compared to action. As Jacob Sullum has pointed out in his column about President Obama's high regard for racially charged stop-and-frisk guru Ray Kelly of the NYPD, support for policies that corrode ethnic amity is not always obvious.