Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, August 13, 2006
Black residents in metro Indianapolis are much less satisfied than white residents with public schools, job opportunities, police protection and the quality of housing in their neighborhoods, according to a new poll by The Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis Recorder.
As a result, black residents are less satisfied than whites with their overall lives and with the Indianapolis area as a place to live.
A majority of blacks also think Indiana is on the wrong track, while a majority of whites think it’s headed in the right direction.
And, blacks are far more likely than whites to say that more money, quality housing, better neighbors and access to health insurance would significantly improve their lives.
To Joe Slash, president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Urban League, the divergent opinions reveal the lingering effects of discrimination.
“These quality-of-life issues are the very things we are working on at the Urban League to help people overcome. They are the keys to a more successful future for people of color,” Slash said.
“But they have roots that go back to slavery, and there is still a lot of ground to make up.”
The poll also found:
• Fifty-six percent of blacks rate their communities as excellent or good places to live, compared with 88 percent of whites.
• Sixty-seven percent of blacks would send their children to private schools if money were not an issue, while just 30 percent are satisfied with public schools; whites are divided evenly on the school question.
• Seventy-three percent of whites rate police protection excellent or good; 56 percent of blacks rate it fair or poor.
• Sixty-eight percent of blacks view economic opportunity as just fair or poor, while 60 percent of whites see it as excellent or good.
Conducted from July 31 to Aug. 6 by Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co., the poll involved interviews with 420 white and 304 black residents of Marion and eight surrounding counties.
The poll focused on black-white relations because the region’s relatively small number of Hispanic, Asian and other ethnic groups made it impractical to obtain a statistically valid sample of their opinions.
• Nearly one-third of blacks say they wish their communities had a higher percentage of people of their race, compared with 17 percent of whites.
• About three-quarters of whites and half of blacks consider their neighbors friends, but nearly twice as many blacks (41 percent, compared with 24 percent of whites) do not interact with their neighbors.
• Seven in 10 blacks say the area is a fair or poor place to get a good job, compared with 55 percent of whites.