Black Americans fear more deadly attacks after Buffalo, Washington Post-Ipsos poll shows

A survey of over 800 Black people in America shows little optimism about the threat of domestic hate crimes in America

A national poll of Black Americans found that a large majority of respondents fear that they or a loved one could become a victim of a racially-motivated attack following a deadly racist rampage that took place at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York one week ago, the Washington Post reports.

The Washington Post-Ipsos survey of more than 800 people identifying as Black found that 75%, or at least 600 participants, held that fear. Thirteen people were shot and 10 killed on May 14 when a white supremacist targeted a Tops supermarket in the Black community on the city’s east side.

The survey was conducted May 18-20 with 32% of respondents noting that they are “very” worried and 43% responding that they are “somewhat” concerned. Others replied by saying they are “not so” concerned or “not at all” worried.

A man reads scripture at the site of a memorial honoring the victims of Saturday’s shooting on Sunday, May 15, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. A white 18-year-old wearing military gear and livestreaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket, killing and wounding people in what authorities described as “racially motivated violent extremism.” (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

The Department of Justice is investigating the mass shooting, in which 11 of the 13 victims were Black, as a hate crime. Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old suspect, is accused of authoring a manifesto filled with racist and anti-immigrant views, and painting the n-word on the barrel of the gun used in the massacre.

Gendron, who faces first-degree murder charges, reportedly drove about 200 miles from his hometown of Conklin, New York to the predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo to fulfill his desire to “save the white” race, as outlined in the manifesto. 

A majority of respondents also said that gun access, personal family and upbringing, and social media are motivating factors behind hate crimes against African Americans.

Less than a majority of participants said that the hate crime incidents are largely the result of “blaming Black people for their own problems,” political leaders and tolerance not being emphasized in schools.

The survey also found that 80% of participants believe that Black people get unfair treatment from police compared to their white counterparts.

After the killing of George Floyd in 2020 spurred a national wave of Black Lives Matter protests and increased attention on systemic racism in America, only 8% of respondents in the survey said they felt the incident resulted in Black people being treated “a great deal” better by police.

About 11% said they felt police treatment of Black Americans has improved “a good amount,” whereas 38% said the issue has only improved “a little” and 41% indicated they do not feel it has improved at all.

theGrio’s Gerren Keith Gaynor contributed to this report.

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