National Institute on Aging

A Deep Racial Divide Over National Anthem Protests

qupollsmA new survey conducted by Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, has found a wide racial disparity among adult Americans on their support for professional and collegiate athletes who have conducted protests during the playing of the national anthem prior to the start of athletic competitions.

colin-kaepernickThe protests began when it was noticed by the press that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stayed seated during the playing of the national anthem during an NFL preseason game. In a post-game interview, Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.” The protests spread with many Black athletes supporting Kaepernick’s position and participating in their own demonstrations. Many White people including GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg criticized Kaepernick.

The Quinnipiac survey found that 63 percent of White adults disapproved of protests during the national anthem and only 30 percent approved. Among Black adults, 70 percent approved of the protests and only 20 percent disapproved.

The survey also found that 70 percent of White adults agreed with the way “police in the U.S. are doing their job.” Only 24 percent of Black adults agreed.

Only 10 percent of White adults said that they are personally worried about police brutality compared to 57 percent of Black adults.

Tim Malloy, the assistant director of polling at Quinnipiac University said that “there is a profound racial divide over athletes who refuse to stand for the national anthem and deep differences over whether the police can be trusted.”


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