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November 19, 2015

Over the past several months, in no small measure because of the Black Lives Matter movement, it is now widely believed that race relations in this country have soured.  It is almost gospel that “micro aggressions” are rampant (especially on college campuses) and that the gains in inter-group relations that marked the past few decades have all but evaporated in a sea of insults, police murders, and insensitive behavior. If “micro” aggressions are rampant, one is left to imagine what's happening with full-fledged “macro aggressions.”

National polls on attitudes on race suggest just how pervasive the belief in regressing attitudes has become. A CBS News poll from July of this year found that only 37% of Americans think that “race relations in the US are good”. That compares with 66% endorsing the “good” analysis in April 2009—three months after Barack Obama was inaugurated. A glimmer of optimism is revealed in the datum that 71% of Americans still believe that there is “real progress in getting rid of discrimination”—an overwhelming majority, but that is down from a high of 78% believing in “real progress” in 2014.

With that as a backdrop, it is instructive to look at the “>Newsweek on-line was the most prominent outlet to make mention of the report). You can bet that had the report indicated increased hate crimes—a finding that fits today’s narrative of rising tensions— it would have received far more prominent coverage.

We should savor it nevertheless.

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