One year after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and three months after the mass shooting at South Carolina’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church, race is America’s ever-glowing lightning rod—and a new poll says we’re not getting better at it.

On the eve of a new PBS special called “American After Charleston,” airing on Monday, PBS Newshour and Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion polled a number of Americans about race. Here’s what they found:

  • Most consider race relations worse than they were one year ago: 60 percent of whites felt they were worse, while 58 percent of blacks felt the same.
  • 76 percent of blacks don’t feel like they have the same opportunities for employment as a white person, while 52 percent of whites think blacks do.
  • 87 percent of blacks don’t think they have the same chance at receiving equal justice as whites, while 50 percent of whites think blacks do.
  • 65 percent of blacks feel Black Lives Matter focuses on racial discrimination, compared to 25 percent of whites; 59 percent of whites think BLM detracts from the “real issues,” compared to 26 percent of blacks.

When asked about the 2016 presidential election, 33 percent of whites and 19 percent of blacks polled felt race relations have been given too much attention, while 56 percent of blacks and 31 percent of whites think the topic’s been given too little attention.

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In America, race is usually only given attention when tragedy strikes on a national level, like Brown’s death or the scene at Emanuel, and our culture has no other choice but to talk about the racialicious elephant in the room. That said, if we can’t discuss race and the disparities that arise from all of our differences, how are we supposed to move forward? The answer is, we won’t.


Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.

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Image via Getty.