Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Majority of Blacks Cite Individual Factors in Plight of Lower-Income African-Americans

Today's Los Angeles Times discusses the results of an important Pew Research Center poll that finds black Americans citing individual-level factors in the economic difficulties of lower-income African-Americans:

A majority of black Americans blame individual failings -- not racial prejudice -- for the lack of economic progress by lower-income African Americans, according to a survey released Tuesday -- a significant change in attitudes from the early 1990s.

At the same time, black college graduates say the values of middle-class African Americans are more closely aligned with those of middle-class whites than those of lower-income blacks, the poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found.

And 40% of those surveyed said African Americans could no longer be viewed as a single community.

The report said that in 1994, 60% of African Americans believed racial prejudice was the main thing keeping blacks from succeeding economically. Only 33% blamed the individual. Though views on the issue have shifted over time, this was the first year that a majority of blacks, 53%, said individuals were responsible for their own condition.
The original Pew Research Center poll is here.

I'm pleased with the black majority finding on individual responsibility, although overall I'm not that impressed with the survey. Too many blacks - 60 percent - continue to see racism as a dominating presence in the contemporary life chances of African-Americans. (This is a nationally representative sample as well, so it's likely that academic multiculturalism - the ideology of the racially oppressed - had little influence on lingering perceptions of institional racism.)