A nation with an African-American president and a significant black middle class remains as deeply divided about the justice system as it was decades ago, reports the New York Times. A new Huffington Post-YouGov poll of 1,000 adults found that 62 percent of African-Americans believed Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson was at fault in the shooting of Michael Brown, while only 22 percent of whites took that position. In 1992, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 92 percent of blacks and 64 percent of whites disagreed with the acquittal of the Los Angeles police officers involved in the videotaped beating of a black man, Rodney King.
“What's striking is just how constant these attitudes have been,” said Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. In Pew polls, black mistrust of the police and courts is far more pervasive than it is toward other institutions. A Pew survey this year suggests that African Americans under age 40, the demographic that made up most of the people who took to the streets in Ferguson in August, are much less likely than their elders to believe that racism is the main force blocking blacks' advancement. Decades of changing laws and court decisions mean that the two races now work together, play sports together, and attend school together. They frequently go home to separate worlds where attitudes and experiences toward the police and courts not only are not shared, but are not even understood across the racial divide.