New poll finds that regressive views on race continue to pervade America

The study found that three out of ten disagree with interracial marriage.

The graves of Richard and Mildred Loving are seen in a rural cemetery near their former home in Caroline County, Virginia, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Richard Loving, a white man, and his wife Mildred, a black woman, challenged Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage and ultimately won their case at the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 (AP Photo/Jessica Gresko)
The graves of Richard and Mildred Loving are seen in a rural cemetery near their former home in Caroline County, Virginia, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Richard Loving, a white man, and his wife Mildred, a black woman, challenged Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage and ultimately won their case at the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 (AP Photo/Jessica Gresko)

A new poll has revealed the troubling racial attitudes that continue to pervade American life, including opposition to interracial marriage and the importance of protecting “White European heritage.”

The study, by Reuters/Ipso and the University of Virginia, was carried out in the wake of the attack in Charlottesville. It showed that there was only limited outright support for far-right ideology, with 6 percent of respondents saying they strongly or somewhat supported the “alt-right”, and 8 percent expressing support for white nationalism.

However, when asked about more antiquated notions of race, a significant number expressed support. Fifty years after the Supreme Court struck down a ban on mixed-race marriage, three out of ten respondents failed to express tolerance towards the idea. When asked whether “marriage should only be allowed between two people of the same race,” 16 percent of respondents agreed and 14 percent neither agreed nor disagreed. This 30 percent would equal roughly 75 million adult Americans.

The fear of interracial romance, and more specifically of black men having relationships with white women, has been a continued racial theme throughout the history of the United States. In the late 19th century, lynchings in the South were often justified as a way to defend the honor of white women. Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was savagely beaten to death for allegedly flirting with a white girl. Carolyn Donham later admitted that she lied about Till making physical and verbal threats to her.

This racial fear remains ingrained today. Before shooting dead nine black churchgoers in Charleston, Dylann Roof allegedly said “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.”  Thanks in part to white nationalists online, the word “cuck” — referring to the practice of an almost exclusively white husband being cuckolded by his wife, who is most commonly sleeping with an African American male — has become a mainstream insult.

The new poll also revealed other antiquated and troubling racial notions. When asked whether “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage”, 31 percent of participants agreed, while 39 percent agreed with the statement that “White people are currently under attack in this country.” Political correctness was also found in the survey to be extremely unpopular. A majority of participants — 59 percent — agreed with the statement that it “threatens our liberty as Americans to speak our minds.”

The poll also found that 57 percent of participants said that Confederate monuments should remain where they are. Over half of all African Americans surveyed said the monuments should be removed, but two-thirds of whites said they should remain in place.

The positives that can be gleamed from this study are that the vast majority of Americans disprove of white nationalism. However, the fact that a sizable proportion expresses support or neutrality for antiquated views on race shows how white nationalism can continue to galvanize support.