While the US is clearly still plagued by racism, there has been a clear progression from the attitudes of the mid-20th century, writes Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe. Americans’ views towards people of a different ethnicity have become significantly more tolerant than when MLK was around. In 1958, a Gallup poll found that 48% of whites would have likely found a new home if a colored person moved in next to them. In 1978, this number had fallen to 13%. In 1997, it was only 1%. Interracial marriage, which most of the country disapproved of during the day of MLK’s activism, is approved of by 90% of Americans today. There has been undeniable progress.
The nature of racism that grasps the US has transformed into something less blatant and flashy but is still just as pervasive as it was in MLK’s day, argues Michael Harriot of The Root. Polls about white peoples’ tolerance towards blacks don’t reflect the powerful racist forces that are active today. From the violation of black Georgians’ voting rights to African Americans continuously suffering harder prison sentences than their white counterparts, MLK’s dream remains unfulfilled. Black people are still viewed as different, foreign creatures by far too many Americans. Perhaps they are not hated as they once were, but they are certainly seen and treated as ‘the other.'