A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll, released on Saturday, found that three-quarters of Black Americans polled are concerned that they or someone they care about will be physically injured because they are Black, The Hill reported.
The development comes one week after a white American gunman shot dead 10 people and injured three others in a mass shooting at a Black neighborhood in New York, in an act of "racially motivated violent extremism."
In the poll, 70 percent of Black Americans said they believed half or more white people in the U.S. hold white supremacist beliefs whereas only 19 percent believed fewer than half of white Americans do.
Some 75 percent of Black Americans said white supremacy is a bigger problem today compared to five years ago. However, 28 percent said the size of the problem is the same.
Those who polled were also asked about their feelings following the Buffalo, New York, shooting in which 11 of the 13 victims were Black. The suspect allegedly preached the racist “great replacement theory.”
About 70 percent of Black Americans said the shooting made them feel sad, while 62 percent said they felt angry. Just over half said they felt troubled, 34 percent said they felt afraid, 21 percent said they felt shocked and 8 percent said surprised.
U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said in an interview with The Washington Post that lawmakers could only legislate a response to hate if “you first admit that the problem exists.”
“You never know what it is. It could be a severe enough punishment to be a deterrent. But if you don’t ever admit that it’s there, you can’t legislate it. No problem can be solved until you first admit that the problem exists. And we still refuse to admit that we have a race problem in this country. And it’s been there for over 400 years,” he said.
Clyburn, who was part of the civil rights movement, bemoaned that the country had become used to tragedy.
“It seems as if they were just supposed to happen then you go and wait for the next one to happen. And they’re going to keep happening. But look at where we are (in) the country. It seems to be it’s coming from all sides. You wonder whether or not people just decided that the pursuit of a more perfect union has come to an end,” he said.
Shock in Buffalo and around the U.S. has been amplified as more details emerged of the racist manifesto allegedly written by Payton S. Gendron, the 18-year-old suspect who reportedly traveled nearly 200 miles from his home to unleash terror on a supermarket that largely served Blacks.
Authorities said Gendron embraced white supremacy in a 180-page document posted online before the attack, in which he identified his top goal as killing as many Black people as he possibly could.
But for many residents, the massacre has also given more credence to their deep-seated outrage at what they view as the hypocrisy of a system that only acknowledges them when tragedy strikes. They say they have lived through racism and felt the effects of discrimination for generations.