Racial discrimination on the rise in the US

Thursday, 14 July, 2016 - 17:30

The majority of Americans believe racial discrimination is a growing problem in the US following the shooting of two black men by white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota and the subsequent shooting of five police officers by a black gunman in Dallas, Texas, according to two separate polls.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans say race relations are generally bad and 60 percent say it is growing worse, up from 38 percent a year ago, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll found that racial tensions are at the highest level since the 1992 Los Angeles riots that were started after a jury acquitted four white police officers for the use of excessive force in the videotaped arrest and beating of Rodney King.

An NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll conducted last week and published Tuesday found that 52 percent of people in the US believe racism against African Americans is an "extremely" or "very" serious problem, while an additional 25 percent said the issue is "somewhat" of a problem.

Racial tensions heightened in the US last week after two black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, were fatally shot by police on two consecutive days.

The police killings prompted outrage after video of the incidents went viral.

Subsequently, a black US Army veteran in Dallas shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven more in retaliation for the police-involved deaths.

Relations between black people and the police have become so frail that more than half of African Americans say they were not surprised by the Dallas attack.

“Our country has always been fragile along the lines of race," said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. "Events such as those last week often expose that."

Police in the United States killed over 1,150 people in 2015, with the largest police departments disproportionately killing at least 321 African Americans, according to data compiled by an activist group that runs the Mapping Police Violence project.