A new study from Barna paints a bleak picture of racial tension in the United States.
When it comes to opinions of the Black Lives Matter movement, the divide between young and old is nearly as great as the divide between Democrats and Republicans. Only 15 percent of adults age 61 years or older support the message of Black Lives Matter, compared to 45 percent of millenials. The split is only slightly larger across political identity — 43 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of Republicans say they support the movement.
In sum, only 27 percent of all adults support the message of Black Lives Matter. When restricted to evangelical identity, that number falls to 13 percent.
The study also confirmed large gaps in perception of racism between white and black Americans.
When asked if Christian churches are part of the problem when it comes to racism, 9 percent of white respondents strongly agreed, compared with 17 percent of black respondents. Similarly, white people were much more likely to be concerned about reverse racism than black people. While 46 percent of black respondents named prejudice against white people as a problem in society, more than 75 percent of white respondents said they believed it to be a problem.
Commenting on the study, Vice President of Research at Barna Group Brooke Hempell called for white Christians, especially white evangelicals, to more sincerely explore their own biases.
“Research has shown that being cognizant of our biases leads to change in biased behavior," said Hempell.
"If white evangelical Christians genuinely care for the wellbeing of their African American brothers and sisters, the first step they must take is being honest about their own biases. History — and Jesus’ example — has shown that reconciliation comes from stepping out of our place of comfort and actively pursuing healing for those in need."
Read the whole study here.