While the public continues to see discrimination against African Americans, majorities continue to reject preferential treatment to improve the position of minorities.

About six-in-ten (62%) disagree with the idea that “we should make every possible effort to improve the position of blacks and other minorities, even if it means giving them preferential treatment;’’ 33% agree. Over the past 25 years, sizable majorities have consistently rejected the use of preferences to improve the position of minorities.

Since 1987, there have been wide racial differences over this issue. In the political values survey done this spring, 62% of blacks and just 22% of whites say every possible effort should be made, including the use of preferential treatment, to improve the position of minorities. In the first values survey 25 years ago, 64% of blacks and 16% of whites expressed this view.

The partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans on this question has widened, largely because of increased support for minority preferences among white Democrats. There also are sizable age differences in these attitudes. Young people – who are more racially diverse than older age cohorts – are far more likely than older Americans to say that every effort should be made to improve the position of minorities even if it means preferential treatment. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.