As the nation focuses as never before in this generation on systemic injustices and inequities impacting Black people in America, ESSENCE, the leading media, technology and commerce company serving Black women and communities, today released findings from its latest ESSENCE Insights survey of Black women on racism. The survey indicates that an overwhelming majority (93%) of Black women in the U.S. have experienced racism in their lifetime, with 67% saying they face racism a few times a year and more than 1 in 10 (14%) facing racism as often as weekly or more. While 38% of Black women say they have had a racism-driven encounter with the police, younger groups (25-34 years) face more such encounters (50%) as compared to other age groups. Two-thirds (66%) of Black women report that they believe non-Black police officers unfairly target Black people.
Still, the pervasiveness of systemic racism in America extends well beyond policing to everyday experiences that seldom make headlines. Notably, almost half of Black women say the place where they experience racism most frequently is in the workplace (45%). Forty-five percent (45%) of Black women also say they have faced racism while applying to a job and 44% while being considered for a promotion or for equal pay. Luxury stores (42%) and restaurants (36%) are the other top places where Black women report encountering racism most frequently.
In addition, Black women are not optimistic about what their children’s experiences with racism in America will be or that positive systemic social change will result from this moment. They worry that their children will be victims of police brutality (76%), will not get the same opportunities as white children (82%), and will be subjected to ongoing racism (83%). Only 31% of Black women say they believe America offers the greatest opportunities for their children, and only one-third (33%) say they believe things will be better for their child’s generation than their own. Despite the surge of nationwide protests and international attention being brought to the issue, the majority (54%) of Black women are still unsure and roughly one-quarter (24%) do not think any positive systemic social change will happen in America following the protests sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
“What does it say about a society when most Black mothers fear their children will be victims of the very people who have been sworn to protect and serve? What does it say about a nation where parents can’t believe in a better future for their children? What does it say about corporations and businesses when almost half of Black women are routinely subject to racism when they walk through the doors to do their jobs? It says that the work is just beginning, and we cannot afford to ease up, let up, get tired, lose focus or change the channel when things get uncomfortable now,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and chair of Essence Ventures, parent company of ESSENCE. “For the first time in this generation with this collective focus, we are confronting the metastasis of America’s deadliest disease – racism – across the body of this nation, and we must all contribute to the cure, from main street to Wall Street, from the classroom to the boardroom, from Congress to the Supreme Court, from the White House to every house in America.”
Accordingly, Black women are largely supportive of the efforts and partnership with non-Black people to help bring about positive change, with 65% believing that allies (non-Black) are effective in the fight for social and economic justice and equity for Black Americans, and 80% encouraged by the support of white Americans protesting police brutality and racism since the George Floyd killing.
Additional key findings from the ESSENCE Insights survey of Black women on racism include:
- Majority disapprove of President Trump’s leadership in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, with 90% saying he is setting a bad example of leadership and 94% that he is not helping to heal the country.
- 58% are more likely than ever to vote as a result of President Trump’s response to the George Floyd killing and the nationwide protests.
- New laws/legislation that hold police more accountable (84%) are considered the best way for Black people to be protected from police brutality, followed by better police training (47%) and Black people knowing their rights (42%).
- 33% believe protests are needed to bring more attention to police brutality of Black people, with 18-44 year olds indicating this more than older age groups.
- 13% think there is no way to protect Black people from police brutality.
- The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others have almost equally made Black women angry/enraged (33%) and more motivated to act for change (32%).
- 58% say “everyday people” have shown the most leadership during this time.
- 84% think America is being viewed worse internationally after the George Floyd killing.
SOURCE: Black PR Wire