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New Siena College Poll Rates Attitudes On Race

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.";s:

As the nation remembers the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week, a new Siena College poll offers startling statistics concerning race relations in New York.

Just 35 percent of New Yorkers think race relations in the state are excellent or good – the breakdown: five percent - excellent, 30 percent good.  Siena pollster Steve Greenberg:   "43 percent say they're only fair, 19 percent say they’re poor, so 35 percent of New Yorkers give a positive rating to race relations in the state compared to 62 percent who view it negatively. It's down from last year, it's down significantly from 2013 just six years ago when 54 percent of New Yorkers had a positive view of race relations."

Greenberg says there is one thing black New Yorkers and white New Yorkers see eye-to-eye on:    "Black New Yorkers give race relations a negative 30 to 67 percent rating; white New Yorkers give it a negative 35 to 63 percent rating. More than two-thirds of minorities in New York, that's black New Yorkers, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, experienced discrimination. 68 percent of New Yorkers say that they think that minorities in New York do experience discrimination. And when we asked voters 'have you yourself been treated unfairly in the last year because of your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation,' almost a third, 30 percent of New Yorkers say yes, they have been treated unfairly in the last year. Nearly half of black New Yorkers, more than a third of Latino New Yorkers, so we see it across the board."

Further crunching the numbers, Greenberg says 83 percent of blacks, 65 percent of Latinos and 64 percent of whites agree that minorities face discrimination.

Albany Center For Law and Justice Executive Director Alice Green says the statistics come as no surprise.  "I think we're all feeling that something is happening in this country and we're going backwards. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the lack of moral leadership from the administration. People are starting to believe that racism is okay, and we see it everywhere now. People are starting to write and say things that we have not heard before, and we're really concerned, particularly in the African-American community, because we have to have someone who can pull us together. Someone who can show respect for different ethnic and racial groups. The immigration issue is pulling us apart. There is really no real moral leadership here that we desperately need. So, I'm worried. I understand those statistics because I think we're all feeling that something is definitely changing and it's not positive in this country."

According to the survey, the only demographic group that disagrees and thinks minorities do not experience discrimination is conservatives by a 49-43 percent margin.

The Siena College Poll was conducted January 6-10, 2019 by telephone calls conducted in English to 805 New York state registered voters. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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