As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington today, a new study finds that race relations in the United States are a work in progress, as always, but most blacks, whites and Hispanics say they get along reasonably well with each other.
In the Pew Research Center's recent report on race in America, 81% of whites and 73% of blacks say those two groups get along "very" or "pretty" well. When the same question was asked six years ago, 77% of whites and 69% of blacks said their groups generally got along well together.
Similarly, about the same share of whites (77%) and Hispanics (74%) said their groups got along well - as they did six years ago, when the figures were 70% and 71%, respectively.
But there remain several areas where perceptions about intergroup relations differ significantly. And in some instances, respondents from one group say they simply don't know enough about one or both of the other groups to express an opinion.
For instance, whites' view of black-white relations is not only significantly more positive than that of blacks but of Hispanics as well. (Only 60% of Hispanics said blacks and whites generally get along well, versus 36% who said they didn't). While 78% of African-Americans say blacks and Hispanics get along well, only 61% of Hispanics agreed. (In the 2007 survey, 70% of blacks and 57% of Hispanics said their two groups generally got along well.)
Whites have a less positive view of black-Hispanic relations than did blacks and Hispanics themselves, with only 48% saying they generally got along well. However, that result likely was skewed by the 22% of whites who said they didn't know enough about black-Hispanic relations to answer the question.
And, while blacks were less likely than whites or Hispanics to positively characterize relations between those two groups (only 64% of blacks said whites and Hispanics generally got along well), 12% said they didn't know enough to express an opinion.
Those relatively high "don't know" percentages for whites and blacks are both down from six years ago: Back then, 29% of whites declined to opine on black-Hispanic relations, and 20% of blacks said the same thing about white-Hispanic relations.
(AccessNorthGa.com's Ken Stanford contributed to this story which was written by Drew DeSilver, a Senior Writer at the Pew Research Center.)