A new poll from CBS News says that race relations between black and white Americans are at their lowest level since 1997.

Forty-five percent of people polled said race relations are generally good, while 43 percent said they're generally bad. Among white Americans, 47 percent said good and 42 percent said bad. Among black Americans, 34 percent believe race relations are good and 54 percent think they are bad.


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Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records, appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" tonight and disagreed with Bill O'Reilly's assertion that black crime is the "nexus point" of the conflict between African Americans and police.

Simmons said that we can create a good relationship between police and black communities with sensitivity training for both parties.

O'Reilly agreed, but said the issue that Simmons is not acknowledging is the "astronomical" violent crime rate among young black men, which drives suspicion and hostility on the part of the police.

Simmons said the core problem is the war on drugs, which has resulted in the incarcerations of a massive number of people of color who are nonviolent criminals.

When O'Reilly asked if selling heroin or crack on the street is a violent crime, Simmons did not answer.

"Am I invisible? Are you not hearing me?" O'Reilly asked.

When pressed, Simmons said he doesn't think that selling hard drugs on the street is a violent crime.

O'Reilly said that's a fundamental disagreement between them.

"This has devastated poor black neighborhoods," O'Reilly said. "In Chicago, there is an epidemic of violence driven by drug gangs. I haven't seen you there ... you have not been there condemning the black drug gangs for gunning down 13- and 14-year-old kids. You haven't done it."

"You are so desperately wrong, it pains me to talk to you ... the crime rate is driven by the disillusion of the family, no supervision, kids with no fathers. The black neighborhoods are devastated by drug gangs who prey upon their own. That's the problem, not the industrial prison complex."

Watch the clip above.


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