Throughout history, many pivotal events have forever changed the landscape of our nation. Although Americans have witnessed and experienced these events together, they aren’t necessarily perceived the same way. According to new data, there is a racial divide when it comes to how historical events are viewed, reports the Huffington Post.
The survey, which gathered the thoughts of 2,025 adults about 10 historical events, was conducted by the Pew Research Center and The History Channel over the summer. The poll asked participants to choose the top 10 events that have had the “greatest impact” in shaping our country. Although the study illustrated there is a lot of overlap in regards to the most important events when it comes to race, there are differences in the way the events are ranked.
Sixty two percent of African-Americans say President Obama’s election was the most important event in American history. Other top events for Blacks include the September 11 terrorist attacks with 58 percent, the Civil Rights Movement at 18 percent, and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. at 14 percent and 12 percent respectively.
For Whites, 80 percent believe that 9/11 had the greatest impact on our nation. Among their top choices for other events were President Obama’s election at 38 percent, the tech revolution at 28 percent, the Vietnam War at 26 percent and the murder of former president John F. Kennedy at 26 percent.
“Not surprisingly, events related to the black struggle for equal rights also have particular relevance to black Americans, though far less so for whites,” reads the report. “Much like the civil rights movement, the historical significance of the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination is perceived differently by blacks and whites.”
In regards to Latinos, the top five pivotal moments in American history included September 11, President Obama’s election, the mass shooting that happened at an Orlando nightclub in June, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the death of former president John F. Kennedy.
Perceptions surrounding historical events also varied when it comes to age. The survey showed millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers agree that September 11 had the greatest impact on our country, but differ in regards to other events. Millennials listed President Obama’s election, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, gay marriage and the tech revolution as the top events after 9/11. For Gen Xers, top events included President Obama’s election, the Cold War, the tech revolution, and the wars in the Middle East. In regards to Baby Boomers, John F. Kennedy’s murder, the Vietnam War, the election of President Obama, and the moon landing were amongst the top events following September 11.
“When you think about what shapes people, you have to know what they lived through,” Claudia Deane, vice president of research at Pew, told the Washington Post. “For these young people, it’s all these shootings. When you look at what their policy positions are going to be, just knowing what their context is is really important.”