The U.S. is divided along racial lines regarding the removal of monuments and statues linked to slavery, according to a report from YouGov/The Economist published July 6.
When asked, “Should statues of Confederate generals on public property be removed?” 38% of all adults surveyed said, “yes,” while 45% said, “no.” The differences between Black and white respondents were stark: 61% of Blacks and 33% of whites said “yes,” while only 17% of Blacks said “no,” compared to 53% of whites.
A question about how such statues are understood revealed 45% of all respondents see them as “more of a symbol of Southern pride,” compared to 36% who view them as “more of a symbol of racism.” Black respondents overwhelmingly see these statues as symbols of racism (60%), compared to only 29% of whites, while 55% of whites see them as symbols of Southern pride, compared to only 13% of Blacks.
Reactions to the planned removal of the Theodore Roosevelt statue outside the American Museum of Natural History in New York were mixed – 32% somewhat or strongly approve, 50% somewhat or strongly oppose and 18% expressed no opinion. While 43% of Black respondents support the removal, only 30% of white respondents and 24% of Hispanic respondents hold this view.
Differences were more pronounced when respondents were asked, “Should statues of American presidents who were slaveholders, like Washington, Jefferson and Jackson, be removed”? Overall, only 18% of U.S. adults said “yes,” while 60% said, “no.” Among Black respondents, 53% said they should be removed, while 25% said they should remain. By comparison, only 11% of white respondents said the statues should be removed, while 70% said they should not be taken down.
Similar disparities were seen in responses to the question, “Would you support or oppose the removal of Confederate emblems on state flags, such as the state flag of Mississippi?” Among Black respondents, 59% strongly or somewhat support the removal, compared to 51% of Hispanics and 44% of whites who felt this way. Only 17% of Blacks somewhat or strongly oppose the removal, compared to 40% of whites.
Whites were the most polarized group on this question, with 31% of respondents strongly supporting and 29% strongly opposing the removal of such emblems. Overall, 51% of U.S. adults support and 28% oppose the removal, with 21% not sure.
This piece was first published by GoodFaithMedia.org and is reprinted with permission.