Study: Majority Of Americans Reject ‘Preferential Treatment’ For Minorities

By Benjamin Fearnow
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Despite an increased awareness in discrimination and race, a recent study showed that most Americans reject "preferential treatment" for minorities. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Despite an increased awareness in discrimination and race, a recent study showed that most Americans reject “preferential treatment” for minorities. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A majority of Americans reject the use of preferences to improve the position of minorities.

Despite increased public awareness of discrimination and race issues, about six-in-ten – 62 percent – disagree with the idea that, “we should make every possible effort to improve the position of blacks and other minorities, even if it means giving them preferential treatment,” according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

Since 1987, there have been wide racial differences over this issue. In the political values survey done this spring, 62 percent of blacks and just 22 percent of whites say every possible effort should be made, including the use of preferential treatment, to improve the position of minorities.

However, vast increases have been made on the issue in the past several decades. In the first values survey 25 years ago, 64 percent of blacks and only 16 percent of whites expressed this view.

The partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans on this question has widened.

Many attest the polarization on white Democrats’ rapidly increasing support for minority preferences. For the first time in a political values survey, a majority of Democrats (52 percent) say that every possible effort should be made to improve the position of blacks and other minorities. Democrats’ support for minority preferences has risen 11 points since 2007.

There also are sizable age differences in these attitudes. Young people – who are more racially diverse than their American elders – are far more likely than older Americans to say that every effort should be made to improve the position of minorities even if it means preferential treatment.

Currently, 44 percent of white Democrats favor the use of minority preferences up from 32 percent in 2009 and 31 percent in 2007. Views of non-white Democrats have shown far less change; in the current survey, 62 percent of non-white Democrats say all efforts should be made, including the use of preferential treatment, to improve the position of minorities.

There also continue to be wide partisan differences over perceptions of black progress. Just three-in-ten Republicans say blacks’ position has not shown much improvement, compared with 47 percent of Democrats, including 43 percent of white Democrats and 60 percent of black Democrats.

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