Americans Believe Race Relations Are Getting Worse. We're Being Lied To | Opinion

Americans are losing faith that our society can heal from past racial wounds. A recent poll from Gallup found that Americans believe race relations are getting worse, not better. Gallup found that the perception of race relations by both white and Black Americans is at its lowest point in 20 years; only 43 percent of white adults and 33 percent of Black adults view race relations as "very good" or
"somewhat good" in America.

The key word here is perception. Because race relations aren't truly measurable in any objective sense, we measure them based on feelings and personal interpretation. Which also means it's easy to manipulate our perception of things by people crafting narratives for political ends.

This is what I believe is happening with regards to our perception of race relations: Our perception is that race relations are getting worse because we're being told that race relations are getting worse.

race relations
People hold signs during the "We Are Not Silent" rally against anti-Asian hate in response to recent anti-Asian crime in the Chinatown-International District of Seattle, Washington on March 13, 2021. - Reports of attacks, primarily against Asian-American elders, have spiked in recent months -- fueled, activists believe, by talk of the "Chinese virus" by former president Donald Trump and others. JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

It's dispiriting. In a multicultural society like America's, it should be in everyone's best interest to find common ground and promote social cohesion. But exaggerated narratives surrounding race relations, the proliferation of articles about white supremacy and the more general obsession with race in our media are all factors distorting our view of race in America.

To me it seems clear that the reason Americans believe race relations are getting worse is almost completely the result of sensationalized national news stories and almost never about anyone's personal negative interactions. We are all too quick to use one person or a handful of people to smear an entire nation, because the media drums it into our minds day in and day out that America is a hopelessly racist country.

Take just one example of how this happens: The Skeptic Research Center asked Americans of different political persuasions how many unarmed Black men they believed were killed by the police in 2019. Over 80 percent of liberals guessed that at least 100 Black men were killed, while 22 percent of very liberal participants believed that 10,000 unarmed Black men were killed by the police in 2019.

The actual number? 13.

The narrative around the danger posed to Black men by the police has simply overshadowed the truth.

Our perception of race relations is negative because the mainstream media has told us that this is how it is. Race is no longer a social construct generalizing about superficial phenotypic difference. It's become the determining factor of American existence, for vast swaths of the Left.

As a Black man, it is now publicly acceptable for white Americans to believe they should pity me, fear for me, and expect little of me without their support. I am also expected to live in constant fear of being murdered in the street by a white man with a badge, and I'm supposed to interpret my shortfalls in life as being an outcome of unequal hurdles placed before me because of my complexion.

Needless to say, I find this offensive and insulting. But it is also inescapable in a way that it did not used to be.

Of course, America does have a history of unequal treatment of Black Americans, and of course, sometimes racist things happen today; no one disputes these things. But it is the exaggeration of events that makes some people question the intentions of creating such a narrative, and rightfully so.

Why are people in the media and in politics trying to make us so afraid? Because a fearful population is a manipulatable population. They want Black people to remain on high alert and they constantly reminisce about historical atrocities to make it seem like what they are fighting is as evil as slavery, or Jim Crow.

On the other side of things, they want white people to be scared of offending us while simultaneously pitying us. With enough manipulation, the tension between the two factions will inevitably reach a boiling point that will spill over into the streets in the form of riots and massacres.

And each incident that is highlighted for narrative creation validates the hysteria around the previous one, forcing us to lose perspective about the world around us and to alter our reality in favor of the craft-maker's version.

We have to understand that the stories we are aware of in the news are not accidentally there. The news stories you discuss on social media with family and friends were purposefully selected. Stories that feature individuals of different racial backgrounds provide an opportunity to raise the blood pressure of a nation and prey upon our fears.

The more you believe that Black life is tragic or white existence is inherently oppressive, the easier you are to manipulate for someone else's benefit.

We each have a choice about whether or not to believe what we're being told by those who wish to divide us. And when it comes to race relations in America, choose to be part of the forces bringing us together, rather than those seeking to rend us apart.

Adam B. Coleman is the author of "Black Victim To Black Victor" and the Founder of Wrong Speak Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @wrong_speak.

The views in this article are the writer's own.