America Aligns on Possible Solutions for Improving Relations Between Black Americans and Police, and Neither Presidential Candidate Is One

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Radio One, Inc.:

TV One, Interactive One, Reach Media, One Solution Present

Black, White and Blue:  A Spotlight on Race in America #BlackWhiteBlue

Conducted by Edison Research

(Silver Spring, MD. – August 4, 2016):  Radio One, Inc., the largest black owned multi-media company in America and parent company of TV One, Interactive One, Reach Media and One Solution  and Edison Research  today announce the findings of “Black, White and Blue: A Spotlight on Race in America,” an in-depth study on the true state of race relations in this country.

On the heels of outrage, protests and emotional responses after the shooting of two black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota and the subsequent shooting of five police officers in Dallas, the findings are enlightening and encouraging.  The story of race relations in America is not starkly “black and white.” The historical difference between the attitudes and opinions of Black and White Americans is certainly affirmed in some study findings, but beliefs and feelings converge across color lines on several critical issues, which speaks to the healing many are calling for across the racial divide. There is strong agreement among Black and White Americans on possible solutions to improve race relations between Blacks and police. However, the study finds neither presidential candidate emerges as a solution.

Black and White Americans Agree . . .

Discrimination in America

Discrimination and racial bias are still perceived among all Americans.  Although Black and White Americans are IDENTICAL in their perception of NOT having a racial bias (only 26 percent of Blacks and 26 percent of Whites think they are racially biased); 91 percent acknowledge some, or a lot of discrimination against Blacks.  While our survey findings reveal that few recognize their own personal biases, a clear majority can acknowledge discrimination.

An additional noteworthy point of divergence rests in how significant the issue of discrimination is amongst Black and White Americans.  Seven in 10 Black Americans perceive a lot of bias against Blacks, compared to fewer than 3 in 10 Whites. There is considerable misalignment in acknowledging the magnitude of the problem, yet overwhelming agreement on the existence of the problem.  It’s a start.

Senseless Shootings Are of Concern

The study found more than half of the total population believes race played a role in the Alton Sterling (Louisiana) and Philando Castile (Minneapolis) shootings.  Both Black and White Americans are VERY concerned about the shooting of Dallas police officers, 72 and 77 percent respectively.  However, when it comes to the shooting of Castile and Sterling, White Americans’ strong concerns drop by over 40 percent. We must question this distinction. Every life has value regardless of race, socio-economics or profession.

Race Relations and Police Relationship with Black Americans Worsened Since Obama

Although 77 percent of Black Americans approve of the way President Obama is handling conflict between Blacks and the police, 83 percent of Blacks feel the relationship between Black Americans and the police has not changed, or has gotten worse since he took office in 2009. White Americans echo this sentiment at 85 percent.

The Racial Divide . . .

Black Lives Matter, only a three-year old movement, was birthed out of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. It is arguably the most effective collaboration to highlight institutional racism, demand police and judicial reform, challenge leaders and organize Black Americans since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  Significantly, 72 percent of the total population understands why Blacks are participating in the movement. The study also found, when people were asked to describe Black Lives Matter in one or two words, many similar sentiments surfaced to the top of the list.  For Black Americans, “equality,” “justice” and “black lives” capped the list.  White Americans match with the terms “equality,” “black lives” and “good.”

Although White Americans believe they understand why Blacks participate in the movement, 64 percent of White Americans do not support the Black Lives Matter movement, as they do not think it is making a positive difference.  The vast majority of White Americans think the movement encourages violence, is divisive to America and suggests that black lives matter more. These sentiments are in stark contrast to Black Americans who believe the movement is making a positive difference.

Police Bring Out Black and White Differences

Seventy-Four percent (74 percent) of Black Americans and 84 percent of White Americans report being treated respectfully by police during their last police interaction. This supports the belief that the majority of law enforcement officers are honoring their oath when engaging African Americans.  Yet, 62 percent of Black Americans are very concerned about their children having a negative experience with the police, while only 28 percent of Whites share this concern.  Blacks are 250% more likely than Whites to feel scared or threatened when stopped by police. The racial divide continues. More than half of Black Americans – think racial profiling is used by law enforcement in their community all of the time in stark contrast to 15 percent of White Americans. The difference in feelings and opinions between Black and White Americans regarding the police is glaring and should surface as a much needed, continuous dialogue.

White House Hopefuls Won’t Improve Police Relations with Black Americans

Despite the fact that 93 percent of both Black and White Americans believe it is important for the candidates to talk about the conflict between Black Americans and the police, Americans as a whole do not believe either presidential candidate will improve relations between Black Americans and the police.

When it comes to the management of race relations, 40 percent of Americans believe Secretary Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential nominee, will do a better job than Donald Trump, Republican presidential nominee.  Additionally, the study reveals 61 percent of the total population believes Trump’s campaign has escalated racial tensions in America.

Common Ground Found On Solutions

After assessing race relations, the perception of the Black Lives Matter movement and the political climate in America several months before electing a new president and just days after seven lives were tragically taken, this in-depth, independent study conducted by Edison Research tested solutions to improve relations between Black Americans and the police. Black and White Americans are aligned on potential solutions. Increasing community policing, implementing body and dashboard cameras, civilian review boards, mandatory racial discrimination awareness training and the reduction of inner city crime are universally accepted as viable answers to the crisis we face in America.

While the whole country focuses on this historic and critical 2016 presidential election and seeks answers and healing from the recurring tragic shootings in our country, the study’s findings give us hope.  The potential solutions to improve relations between Blacks and the police are “home-grown.” The study calls for the higher consciousness of both Black and White Americans to not merely frame the issues we currently face in terms of race.  These are not black and white, or black versus white issues.  Black people can be pro-black and not be anti-white or anti-police. Black Americans can also be anti-police misconduct, abuse and excessive force and advocate for the safety of police in service to our communities. These ideals are not in conflict.  There is a tremendous amount of agreement with Black and White Americans on potential solutions to improve the relationship between Blacks and the police. The good news – it starts right in each of our local communities.

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