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City polls find views on treatment over race vary between Black, white

The way we most commonly picture racism occurring in our minds is at the flashpoint of life-changing experiences: A police officer in action making a split-second decision in a life-or-death situation…a real estate broker deciding which homes to show a family…a manager deciding which candidate to hire for a role.

But another way to conceptualize racism is that people, over time, form views and opinions about the world around them that heavily influences the outcome of those quick moments. The entirety of the police officer’s and the Black suspect’s life experiences intersect for that one short moment. The same is true of the real estate broker and the Black family, and the manager choosing between white and Black candidates.

That intersection is what this research is all about. As part of our first-of-its-kind CityView series, Suffolk University and USA TODAY have been collaborating to poll residents of large American cities about the issues facing them—with a focus on perception of race in America. Over the last several months, we’ve polled the residents of Milwaukee, Detroit, Los Angeles, Louisville, and Oklahoma City—cities that are geographically, politically, economically, and racially diverse, but whose residents share views, especially along racial divides.

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