On June 19th, we commemorate the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. Black communities across the country gather in Juneteenth celebrations to honor the promise that all formerly enslaved people in this country would henceforth live as free citizens. But American institutions still maintain and reinforce inequalities along racial lines, such as wealth disparities between Black and White households, fewer housing opportunities being offered to Black consumers, over-policing based on skin color, and racial disparities in the health impacts of COVID-19.
Most Americans know this to be true. In our recent survey of over 2,300 U.S. consumers, 53 percent agreed that systemic racism permeates American society today. Black consumers were the most likely to agree, at 62 percent. Does that mean almost half the country is in denial about systemic racism? No – over a quarter of the total population, including more than a fifth of the Black segment, is still unsure.