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2020: When Living In Fear Became a New Normal – But It Wasn’t “New” For Everyone

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in March, many people began to experience a new fear, that of becoming infected – or spreading the virus to others.  But what had not been evident to many white people was that living in fear is something many Black Americans experience their whole lives. 

After the killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis raised the profile of and energy in the Black Lives Matter movement, it became clear that many more white people were finally listening to Black voices saying: we have been living in fear for 400 years.  

Often, we at Southpaw Insights ask people about their thoughts and behaviors about brands, products, and purchasing. Where do you shop? How much do you spend? What do you buy? In our June study of 900 Americans, we got more personal. We’ve been hearing so much about police brutality and the experiences of Black people with respect to policing, so, in collaboration with our partners at Zebra Strategies and Gazelle Global, we asked Americans to tell us what it’s like living in their neighborhoods and what their relationship is like with the police.

-Where 40% of white people feel “completely safe” in their neighborhoods, well less than half of Black people say the same (19%).

We also learned that white and Black Americans have very different ideas of who or what will protect them. 

-Whereas 27% of white people said they feel safe because they believe the police will protect them, only 14% of Black people said the same. 

-Conversely, 27% of Black people said they feel safe because they carry personal protection like mace, a whistle, etc. – compared to 18% of white people. 

We at Southpaw Insights are committed to learning about Black people’s experiences and know that as we learn more, we all will become better equipped to help create the changes needed so that every  citizen feels safe. 

If you’d like to see more of our findings on safety and the police in America right now, contact us

Jessica