Southerners were asked whether or not they had experienced discrimination within the last year because of their race or ethnicity. 52 percent of black southerners said “yes” and 18 percent of whites said “yes,” according to the Winthrop Poll’s Southern Focus Survey.
Political science professor Scott Huffmon teaches Southern Politics and thought it was important to semi-regularly survey the southern states to see common trends among southerners.
“A lot of the stuff we wanted to look at were issues like that, as well as, the difference in day to day life experience between African Americans and whites in the south,” Huffmon said.
Callers surveyed the entire South; The South is considered to be the eleven states which seceded (South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee).
Assistant Director Summersby Okey said callers asked southerners common questions about the economy, society and politics while the main focus was on southern opinion about race and attitudes towards the Confederate flags and Confederate monuments.
According to the Southern Focus Survey, 31 percent of white southerners thought that the Confederate flag symbolizes racial conflict while 64 percent of black southerners thought the Confederate flag symbolizes racial conflict.
Callers asked southerners whether they believe Confederate monuments should be left alone, left alone but add historical context or interpretation, moved to a museum or removed completely. 42 percent of southerners said to leave the monuments; 28 percent said to leave but add a marker for historical context; 23 percent said the monuments should be moved to a museum and 5 percent said the monuments should be removed, according to the Southern Focus Survey.
Huffmon said he hopes the Southern opinion survey results will start a conversation about trends in race relations and attitudes towards the preservation of Confederate history.
“The commonality among people who want to save the confederate monuments is not whether they identify as a southerner or not, it’s not heritage,” Huffmon said. “It seems to be a lot of racist sentiment. That’s not something a lot of people want to hear, but it allows a continuing conversation on it.”
The Winthrop Poll was created by Huffmon in 2002 for political science students to conduct actual research and collect data to serve the Rock Hill community and South Carolina. To find out more information on southern opinion, click here.