Six in 10 white Americans now say racism is “a big problem” in society, an enormous increase from polls taken when Barack Obama was president. More than 2-in-3 say Floyd’s killing reflects broader problems within law enforcement in the United States.
Other recent, prominent incidents between the police and African Americans have yielded more modest changes in polling that ultimately proved temporary. But the magnitude of change since Floyd’s killing by a white police officer in Minneapolis has experts suggesting the shifts could be more long-lasting.
“When it comes to such a dramatic, almost on-the-spot change, I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything of this level,” said Scott Finnie, executive director of Eastern Washington University’s race and cultural studies program. “After the Eric Garners, the Trayvon Martins, that have left kind of an impression — this thing left a seismic quake and a crack, not just an impression.”