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Survey Reveals Status of Intergroup Relations in U.S.

The legacy of September 11, Hurricane Katrina’s lingering racial tensions, church bombings in Alabama, the Duke University lacrosse team scandal, and the growing debate about undocumented workers in America all underscore the ongoing challenges of intergroup relations in America today. What does it all mean? To answer that and other questions, The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) presents Taking America’s Pulse III (TAP III), the third in its series of large-scale nationwide surveys of American attitudes about intergroup relations.

Perhaps the largest-ever survey of intergroup relations in the U.S., TAP III illustrates trends and patterns, and provides insight into how intergroup relations have changed over time. Key findings include:

  • Tensions between groups are perceived to be somewhat lessened and 42% of respondents – compared with 29% in 2000 – are satisfied with “how well different groups in society get along with each other.”
  • More people feel closer to racial and ethnic groups in general and to Hispanics in particular and, with the notable exception of Muslims, most groups are seen as experiencing less discrimination. Respondents who perceived discrimination against Muslims soared by 24%.
  • More than a half century after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, more than a third of the nation (36%) still agrees that “It’s OK to have a country where the races are basically separate from one another, as long as they have equal opportunity.”

“The results of TAP III demonstrate that events here and around the world continue to shape and reshape Americans’ attitudes about each other,” said Christine Oliver, national board chair for the NCCJ. “As the United States grows more complex, understanding the dynamics of intergroup relations is increasingly critical to social well-being and national progress. TAP III can serve as a great tool to inform the national debate.”

Email mhylton@nccj.org to request the full TAP III report.  You can also download the 11-page media kit, which provides a summary of the survey results, at http://www.nccj.org/documents/TAP_III_Media_Kit.pdf.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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