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View Diary: Wealth gap along racial lines worst in quarter-century since Census began collecting data (72 comments)

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  •  What's also interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kinak

    is to compare this information with the findings of Ellis Cose.

    As the United States struggles through its worst economic crisis in generations, gloom has seized much of the heartland. The optimism that came so easily to many Americans as the new century dawned is significantly harder to summon these days. There is, however, a conspicuous exception: African-Americans, long accustomed to frustration in their pursuit of opportunity and respect, are amazingly upbeat, consistently astounding pollsters with their hopefulness. Earlier this year, when a Washington Post–Kaiser–-Harvard poll asked respondents whether they expected their children’s standard of living to be better or worse than their own, 60 percent of blacks chose “better,” compared with only 36 percent of whites.

    Numerous previous polls found the same cheerful confidence. On the eve of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, 69 percent of black respondents told CNN pollsters that Martin Luther King’s vision had been “fulfilled.” Nearly two years later, as America prepared for the 2010 midterm elections, blacks shared little of the disenchantment that had overtaken many whites. African-Americans were more likely than whites to say that the economy was sound, found CBS News. And nearly half (compared with 16 percent of whites) thought America’s next generation would be better off.

    Over the past few years, pollsters repeatedly have corroborated the phenomenon. Whereas whites are glum, blacks are upbeat—which is remarkable since the economic crisis has hit African-Americans with particularly brutal force. Employment among black men, for instance, has dropped to an all-time low. When I asked Harvard Business School professor David Thomas about the CNN poll, he laughed. “It’s irrational exuberance,” he said.

    I don't share that to in any way discount the tragedy of the news this diary highlights. But before we assume how this flies in the Black community and start running with it - I suggest we listen a little deeper.

    •  Check out the latest ABC/Washington Post... (6+ / 0-)

      ...poll on the economy:

      The Post-ABC poll found that the number of liberal Democrats who strongly support Obama’s record on jobs plunged 22 points from 53 percent last year to 31 percent. The number of African Americans who believe the president’s actions have helped the economy has dropped from 77 percent in October to just over half of those surveyed.

      That is a stunning drop among African Americans.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 10:32:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You miss my point (0+ / 0-)

        if you think I brought in that quote to say anything about President Obama.

        I simply wanted to make the point that we can't make assumptions about what African Americans are thinking based on one piece of data. I've seen a lot of people doing that around here lately.

        I'd be much more interested in polling about whether or not there's been any change in optimism amongst African Americans. I think President Obama was only a small contributor to that. Its actually a much bigger dynamic that Cose is writing about.

      •  Why is it stunning, in light of the stats you (0+ / 0-)

        posted?

        “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." - Jesus

        by Jose Bidenio on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 07:01:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a 50% drop in nine months... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shanikka, davidincleveland, navajo

          ...in a demographic that has shown very little movement in positive views expressed about the president on every issue. We don't know what it means, or whether other polls will show the same shift, but it is certainly worth paying attention to.

          Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 07:12:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It just doesn't stun me that AAs could become (0+ / 0-)

            disenchanted with this President.

            “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." - Jesus

            by Jose Bidenio on Tue Jul 26, 2011 at 07:20:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I have to wonder if some of that (0+ / 0-)

      was due to a lower rate of home ownership - though African American homeowners were hit particularly hard, fewer were homeowners to begin with.  The stat still doesn't seem to match reality, but if you weren't crushed by the housing crisis,  it's easier to see the path forward, even for someone who rents a modest place and has a modest income.

      •  Much of Cose's work (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        decembersue

        that is quoted later in that article is about generational shifts in the perspective of African Americans. Its much more longitudinal than a snapshot of our current economy or the occupant of the White House.

        But you're right. My work is mostly with African Americans who are living in poverty. The current recession didn't really affect them. Its like many in the rest of the world finally joined a status they have become accustomed to. They never had much faith in the American Dream to begin with. "Justice and liberty for all" is something that has never rung true for them.

        These are the kinds of lenses we need to think about before we go jumping to conclusions about the reactions of African Americans to the current situation.  

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