White people are as concerned about terrorism as black people are about violence

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A new poll shows that—surprise!—white people and black people don't exactly see eye-to-eye when asked what the most important problem facing the United States.

Gallup reports that white respondents were most concerned about the government, the economy, and unemployment, whereas black respondents were most worried about race relations, unemployment, the government, and the economy.

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A closer look at the poll reveals that five percent of white Americans described terrorism as the most important problem facing the U.S., while only one percent of black Americans felt the same. In a reversal of sorts, five percent of black Americans named crime/violence as the top issue, compared with only one percent of white Americans.

This mirrored prioritizing of fear is interesting—and perhaps telling?

Acts of terrorism really don't impact daily American life, especially when compared to crime or a more general definition of violence. It's like fearing something that's rooted in your imagination—like a giant Lost-style smoke monster—versus something that has some basis in reality, like a car hitting you if you take a stroll on the highway. It's like fearing the Boogeyman instead of the man holding a knife in the closet that you're about to open.

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