Forty-two percent of Americans say they personally worry a "great deal" about race relations in the United States, which is up seven percentage points from 2016, according to a recent Gallup poll.
That number represents a record high in the Gallup’s 17-year trend and is the third straight year worries about this issue have increased by a significant margin, according to an article by Gallup's Art Swift.
Swift’s article was based on Gallup poll results from telephone interviews conducted March 1-5, 2017, with a random sample of 1,018 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
Race relations, one of the top concerns in the 1950s and 1960s, has returned as a major issue this decade. The Black Lives Matter movement sprang up in 2013 to combat allegedly racist police shootings and attracted national attention in 2014 after police shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. Movements such as Black Lives Matter have highlighted the precarious nature of black-white relations in the U.S.
Race relations or racism has emerged as one of the top issues on Gallup's most important problem list, rising from 1 percent to 3 percent of Americans mentioning the issue throughout much of 2014 to 18 percent doing so in July 2016 after incidents of violence between police and black men, making it the most important problem that month. Mentions of this issue have stayed at a monthly average of 9 percent since then.
The political success of President Donald Trump -- whose comments on racial matters, including his recent feud with Rep. John Lewis, have sparked outrage among some black leaders -- could also be a factor in Americans' heightened concern about race relations, Swift's earticle noted.