How the Events that Transpired in Ferguson Changed the Hearts and Minds of Blacks and Whites


A year after the police shooting of Michael Brown set off a wave of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, the Black Lives Matter movement that rose to prominence in the aftermath is winning. Americans are paying more attention to systemic racism in the criminal justice system. Democratic presidential candidates have had public appearances derailed when they fail to take a convincing stance on the issue. And cops have been charged and indicted for high-profile killings.

The movement hasn’t definitively won. Black people are still dying at alarming rates at the hands of police, and several recent police shootings — such as the killing of Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati — were horrifying and unnecessary.

But recent surveys show the shift. A June survey of 2,000 US adults from Gallup found that all Americans are more likely to say that black people are unfairly treated in all aspects of society, including police encounters. And a July survey of 2,000 US adults from the Pew Research Center found a 20-year high in the percentage of Americans calling racism a “big problem” in society.

The media is also paying more attention. Both the Washington Post and the Guardian now track police shootings in databases that make up for the lack of credible federal data.

Part of this reflects a rise in public interest, which the media is responsive to: Ferguson was the biggest news story for Americans on Twitter in 2014 — surpassing the Russian invasion of Crimea, Ebola, and the 2014 election. And there has been more interest in police shootings, according to Google searches, since late 2014:

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Source: | German Lopez

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