Blacks and whites have significantly different opinions on whether the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting of teenager Michael Brown should prompt a wider discussion about issues of race, according to a new poll.
The Pew Research Center survey found that 80 percent of black respondents said the death of the St. Louis-area teenager “raises important issues about race,” compared with just 37 percent of white people surveyed. Of the white respondents, 47 percent said “race is getting more attention than it deserves” — 18 percent of black people said the same.
There was also a clear divide in how blacks and whites viewed the actions of police in Ferguson, with blacks twice as likely as whites to say that the police response has “gone too far.”
The events in Ferguson have commanded a growing amount of attention, particularly in Washington. President Obama met with Attorney General Eric Holder in the Oval Office on Monday to discuss the shooting, and lawmakers from both parties are vowing to pursue legislation to demilitarize local police departments.