Republicans: Workplace discrimination laws are unnecessary

October 21, 2013, 6:41 PM GMT+0

A majority of Americans think private organizations should not be able to exclude minorities, while most Republicans don't think that workplace discrimination laws are necessary.

For over forty years America's laws protecting against racial discrimination have been largely untouched, but recently a series of court cases may herald a new period where many of these laws are amended or even abandoned. The Supreme Court in June struck down part of the Voting Rights Act that imposed special limits on areas with a history of racial discrimination, generally in the South, arguing that the law ignored current realities of racial discrimination in the country. One pillar of the law protecting people from racial discrimination that has, at least so far, remained largely untouched are rules which prohibit employers from discriminating against people because of their race or national origin.

The latest YouGov research shows that Republicans and Democrats can't agree on whether these laws protecting minorities from discrimination in the workplace are necessary. A majority of Democrats (66%) say yes, while most Republicans (70%) say no. A large majority of black people (82%) agree that these laws are necessary, along with most hispanic people (51%). White people are more divided, with 37% saying they are necessary, but almost half (49%) saying they are not.

When asked what is the bigger problem in the workplace, minorities losing out because of discrimination or whites losing out because of affirmative action, minorities tended to identify discrimination as the bigger problem. 46% of blacks say that the biggest problem was minorities losing out, with 33% saying that it is an equally serious problem for whites who lose out due to affirmative action. 34% of whites say that both problems are equally serious, and 32% say that whites losing out due to affirmative action is the biggest problem.

Democrats were much more likely to choose 'minorities' (36%) or 'both' (32%) than Republicans, with only 3% of Republicans saying that minorities losing out is the biggest problem.

A majority of Americans (59%) think that private organizations should not have the right to exclude minorities, with Democrats (70%) being the most vocal about opposing discrimination by private organizations. Although most Americans are in agreement, 30% of Republicans said that private organizations should have the right to exclude membership, along with 26% of Independents and 11% of Democrats. Interestingly, the older you get the more likely you are to say that private organizations should not be able to discriminate, with people over 65 (69%) being the most likely to say this.

Overall, 59% of Americans today think that organizations should not have the right to exclude, while 21% think that they should have this right. 48 years ago a nearly identical question - YouGov substituted the word 'negroes' with 'minorities' - was asked by Gallup, revealing that 46% of Americans said that private organizations should be able to do this and 45% said that private organizations should not have the right to discriminate.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty.

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