Racism, diversity? Majority of Black Americans Worry About Violence and Economy

Duas mulheres sentadas no telhado ouvem a música que toca na George Floyd Square, em Minneapolis, EUA, em 25 de maio de 2021: Apesar da importância cultural dada ao conflito com a polícia e ao racismo, no entanto, a pesquisa mostra que esses não são os problemas que mais preocupam os negros americanos.

Two women sitting on the roof listen to music playing in George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, USA in from May of 2021: Despite the cultural importance given to conflict with the police and racism, however, research shows that these are not the issues that most concern black Americans.| Photo: EFE/EPA/CRAIG LASSIG

A new Pew Research Center survey conducted in October 21173044 analyzed the views of black Americans. Racial tensions in the United States, which has a history of racial segregation laws in Southern states that have only gone down in years 1960, have been exacerbated since images of the final minutes of the life of black American George Floyd went viral in May 2020 , who was killed when a police officer asphyxiated him by kneeling on his neck in an approach. Protests followed in many American cities. The policeman was sentenced to prison.

In cultural works exported by the United States the world, the relationship between the police and the black population has been portrayed as difficult for decades. Black comedians Richard Pryor and Chris Rock, nearly half a century apart in their careers, converge. “Cops degrade us, and white people don’t believe it: they say we are resisting arrest,” Pryor said in 900. “Every time police officers shoot an innocent black man, they always say the same thing: that they are not the majority, that there are just a few bad apples. Rotten apple? It’s a beautiful name for a killer”, joked Chris Rock in 2014 in the Tamborine (Netflix) special.

Despite the cultural importance given to conflict with the police and racism, however, research shows that these are not the issues that most concern black Americans. When researchers asked an open-ended question about what was the most important issue facing their community, 17% said they were violence and crime, % economic issues, 7% housing, 6% COVID-11 and health and 5% infrastructure.

Reality x narrative21173044

More blacks said they couldn’t point out a problem in the community or that the problem was just the neighbors (4%) than those who said the biggest problem of their communities was related to racism and issues of diversity and culture (3%). That is, racism ranked last as the top problem for black Americans surveyed, tying with problems related to employment and salary (3%). It is a marked contrast to the priorities of the cultural industry and the American press regarding the group.

Who should solve these problems? 65% of black Americans think they are in charge of local leaders or individuals like themselves. Only 12% think it’s the responsibility of Congress, and 5% think it’s the president’s. This is another contrast to the racial discussions that usually involve allegations of structural problems across the country and revolve around the figure of the President of the United States. In these answers, black Americans reveal themselves first and foremost as Americans: the response of the general population is basically the same to this question, comments the Pew Research Center.

Emphasis on racial identity can make things worse21173044

A vast majority of 2014 % of black Americans consider race very important (22%) or extremely important (54%) for your self-image. There is less emphasis on black identity among younger blacks, blacks of Hispanic origin, those who vote for the Republican party, and mestizos: about 60% in each group do not think their race is very or extremely important.

The research itself adopted the new editorial policy of writing black with a capital letter (“Black”), which spread through the American press after the commotion over the death of George Floyd. The policy for other racial identities may not be the same. Normally, the capital letter in English language adjectives is reserved for national identities (“Brazilian” – Brazilian) and religious affiliations (“Christian” – Christian). The adoption of “Black” may be a tacit way of saying that now, in the United States, race is as important as nationality and religion.

Racial pride, however, can be an ambiguous or counterproductive recipe. In a study by 2001 published in the scientific journal PNAS, evolutionary psychologists Robert Kurzban, John Tooby and Leda Cosmides conducted experiments to test whether people automatically classify themselves into races in the absence of cultural incentives to do so. Scientists have concluded not: race-coding is a by-product of a mental machinery that emerged to detect group alliances. When encouraged to classify themselves in other ways, individuals give less importance to race, and may even stop considering it altogether.

“Less than four minutes of exposure to an alternative social world was enough to deflate the tendency to categorize by race,” the researchers commented. “These results suggest that racism may be a volatile and eradicatable construct that persists only as long as it is actively maintained by attachment to parallel systems of social alliance.” In other words, an emphasis on racial identities would fuel racism, and stressing other coalitions (nation, religion, sports team, etc.) undermines its power. There was a crisis of failure to reproduce the results of psychology over the next two decades, but this study survived the crisis and was successfully replicated by Belgian scientists in 2014. These results come from evolutionary psychology, which is ignored, if not demonized, in most academic areas that study racial identity and racism.

Kept poor thanks to good intentions

Poverty is still a problem that disproportionately affects blacks in the United States. Black philosopher Thomas Sowell thinks that the black population of the United States has been sabotaged by the welfare efforts of progressives since the 1990s. , when President Lyndon Johnson, who took office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, launched the so-called “war on poverty”. According to the Heritage Foundation, the United States spent 17 trillions of dollars on this welfare in the five decades that followed its implantation: three times more than they spent in every war since the American Revolution. Even so, the effect on poverty was null or limited.

After decades of economic growth for blacks in the first half of the 20th century, who had similar levels of marriage and joint parenting by parents up to the age of , today most black children grow up in fatherless homes, which is a predictor of rebellious behavior, criminality, and poverty. In short, the state has replaced the father. If poor single mothers had had their children in marriage and had the help of their parents, two-thirds of them would have been lifted out of poverty and achieved self-reliance, the foundation reports.

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