Tulsa Group Releases Results Of Race Relations Survey

Thursday, April 19th 2012, 3:18 pm
By: News On 6

A survey of Tulsa residents shows race relations in the community are poor and the city would benefit from increasing racial diversity in neighborhoods.

The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation released results of its survey Thursday.

Read The Survey

The baseline survey measures Tulsa area attitudes on current racial issues and knowledge of racial history.

"I believe that John Hope Franklin would have been very happy with what we are doing today in Tulsa," said Julius Pegues with the John Hope Franklin Center:

In the park named for a man whose life was spent honoring African-Americans, community leaders gathered to share results of a survey that explored racial relations in Tulsa.

"We do have some problems here in Tulsa but we don't have any that we can't overcome," Pegues said. "Our problem in the past has been a lack of education and a lack of dialogue."

The survey heard from more than 2000 people, 61 percent of those were white, 23 percent African-American, the rest Native American or Hispanic.

The results showed that racial or ethnic minorities experience discrimination in Tulsa, that whites have advantages others races do not, minorities believe they are portrayed negatively in the media, but also that minorities can do more to help themselves.

Thursday's announcement came on the heels of the tragedy over the Easter weekend that saw civil rights activist Jesse Jackson preach in Tulsa about ending the divide between white Tulsa and black Tulsa.

Organizers emphasize the survey was done long before the Good Friday shootings but the way the community reacted shows how the city can work together.

"I think it gives us an opportunity to do more intensive work," Pegues said.

The survey also showed that more people would like to see the 1921 Race Riot taught in Tulsa's Public Schools. Supporters say it's important to look at the past to help understand the present.

"I think that one of the things that we've learned is that when we tend to pretend that something is not an issue it never goes away, it just festers," said Kelli McLoud-Schingen with the Tulsa Urban League.

The survey was developed by the Center for Reconciliation and the University of Oklahoma's Center of Applied Research for Nonprofit Organizations.