New poll: Black and white Americans believe there is widespread racism

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Black and White Americans Believe Widespread Racism Exists

American attitudes on race seem to have shifted a bit. According to a new poll by Gallup, both white people and black people say racism is widespread, in some way.

This is a poll the company does every year and the number of people who hold that view has increased since last year. But first, let's deal with the perception of racism against blacks.

Sixty-one percent of Americans say it's widespread — that's just a 1 percent increase overall from last year. And unsurprisingly, blacks are more likely to think racism is a problem: 82 percent of blacks say it is, while 56 percent of white people agree. Both of those numbers are up, increasing 10 percent and 7 percent respectively.

2016 issues: Race relations, racial tension, #BlackLivesMatter

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2016 issues: Race relations, racial tension, #BlackLivesMatter
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2016 issues: Race relations, racial tension, #BlackLivesMatter
Marge Flori, seated on the bench, gives a thumbs up to marchers from United for Blue, an organization to support police, during their the group's march and rally in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, April 26, 2015. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Demonstrators, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, protest along West Florrisant Street on August 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. His death sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and drew nationwide focus on police treatment of black suspects. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Black Lives Matter and 'Get Equal' protestors struggle with police as Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to guests gathered for a campaign meeting on the campus of Case Western Reserve University on August 27, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Clinton made her first official campaign stop in Ohio. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 01: A police helicopter monitors protesters marching in support of Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby's announcement that charges would be filed against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray on May 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray died in police custody after being arrested on April 12, 2015. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Graffiti remains on the sidewalk along West Florrisant Avenue one year after the shooting of Michael Brown on August 12, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Demonstrators, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, protest along West Florrisant Street on August 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. His death sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and drew nationwide focus on police treatment of black suspects. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HARLEM, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2015/09/09: A demonstrator holds a sign at the rally against NYC's current policies regarding the homeless population. A protest rally in Harlem organized by the group 'Picture the Homeless' and allied advocacy groups was convened to demand an end to the arrest and incarceration of homeless New Yorkers; demonstrators held events at three sites along a march route that concluded at 25th Precinct of the New York Police Department. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Taylor Nalley, second from left, and Courtney Taylor, third from left, both 13, pray during a rally for United for Blue, an organization to support police, held on Lawyer's Mall in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, April 26, 2015. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
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The poll was conducted between June 7 and July 1. Gallup spoke with 3,270 adults who had previously been interviewed in the poll.

The increase makes sense. Coverage of officer-involved killings of black people has gone up and the use of social media and the rise of activist groups, like Black Lives Matter, have all led to a larger conversation about race in America.​

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But one statistic that was a bit surprising was an increase in whites believing racism against them is widespread. Forty-three percent of white people said racism against whites is common — that's an 11 percent increase from 2015.

In both of those cases, it's nearly impossible to make a connection to whether or not racism in America is actually rising or if it's just our perception of racism that is fluctuating.

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