Social & Economic Inequalities

Photo by: Chor Tsang (Unsplash)

 

Two Years In, We Need To Learn the Lessons of This Pandemic

America’s pre-existing condition when the pandemic hit was inequality. That’s not a “normal” we should return to.

Two years ago I was panicking, making hundreds of phone calls to postpone my wedding that was a few days away. It was March 2020.

A global pandemic had reached the United States and changed each of our lives in ways we never imagined. Millions of Americans would lose jobs, friends, family, and even their lives to COVID-19, while billionaires would see record increases in their wealth.

While the country ground to a halt, and I googled whether an imam would perform our marriage over Zoom, there was a glimmer of hope at the back of my mind. Surely, I thought, an event so monumental — one that laid bare every inequity of our economic system — would call for a change of equal measure.

There was a swell of recognition that working people were essential. Affordable child care — and well paid providers — were revealed as the backbone of a functioning economy. Free health care suddenly seemed like a great idea.

As a new administration took over, some short term changes in the American Rescue Plan kept people from falling off a steep cliff.

Vaccines were distributed freely and efficiently. Americans got bigger stimulus checks, while workers who lost jobs got more generous unemployment insurance. Families with kids started getting monthly direct payments through the expanded Child Tax Credit.

But when it came time to pass the more transformative, longer term changes we needed, the lessons of the past two years weren’t enough for some politicians.

The Build Back Better Act would have reset the terms for how child care, housing, and income support operate in our country. It would have extended the Child Tax Credit, created green jobs, and much more.

But every one of the 263 Republicans in the House and Senate — plus Senate Democrat Joe Manchin — opposed it. For this, they were rewarded handsomely by corporate lobbyists. Oil giant Exxon, for example, donated $65,000 to Manchin’s campaign and bragged about their access to the senator, who also owns stock in the company.

A good deal for Manchin. Not so much for the many Americans who can’t fill up their tank for less than $100. We were so close to living in a country where higher gas prices, or an extra few dollars for ground beef, didn’t mean someone going to bed without dinner.

Companies that monopolize these necessities deserve the blame for a lot of inflation, including the rising cost of gas and food. But they’re also to blame for the fact that they don’t pay their workers enough to meet those costs.

Big corporations artificially raise the price of diapers, while also lobbying against extending the Child Tax Credit for people who buy them. The credit has since expired, throwing millions of kids back into poverty.

Banks are benefiting from the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates while also refusing Black people mortgage loans to buy a house and build up generational wealth.

Two years later, I can enjoy the photos from the in-person wedding I was finally able to have after my family and friends could get vaccinated. I’m grateful for that semblance of normalcy. But some things shouldn’t go back to the status quo.

We can’t fall back into a system where small unexpected expenses put entire families in poverty. We should be able to pay our bills and save some for the future, too. While that might sound “normal,” it’s been many decades since that’s been the reality for the average American.

But that doesn’t mean nothing at all has changed. As we grapple with another year of COVID-19, it’s time we flex the power that comes with being essential and fight for a new economy that favors people, not just corporations.

 

Domenica Ghanem is a communications consultant on political and social justice campaigns. This op-ed was distributed by OtherWords.org.

 

By   :     Domenica Ghanem

Date:    March 30, 2022

Source:  Inequality.org

https://inequality.org/research/two-years-lessons-pandemic-inequality/

 

In the fight for racial justice, optimism is not enough

Our desire for a better world must not lead us to ignore the fact that inequality is systemic, and ongoing

In the six years since Theresa May took office promising to tackle the UK’s ‘burning injustices’, an exemplary chapter in the story of Britain’s racial injustice almost writes itself.

Take May’s own role in the Windrush scandal – in which up to 57,000 Black and minority ethnic Britons may have been deported or stripped of their rights – and the ongoing failure to provide adequate compensation. Then there’s the increase in the number of Black children being cautioned or sentenced in England and Wales, which has doubled since 2010. Black children account for 28% of all children in custody, even though Black people make up barely 4% of the national population.

From precarious employment, where Black and minority ethnic millennials are 47% more likely to be on zero hours contracts compared to their White peers, to the appalling ethnic disparities of the COVID-19 pandemic, injustice persists.

How has this come to pass, when our present and future could be so different? Why has progress on racial justice been stagnant and failure so cyclical?

To reflect on these questions is to reckon with a widely-held assumption among anti-racist researchers, activists and policymakers. Namely, the optimistic view that racial justice will advance because social acceptance of racial difference has increased.

In my new book, I argue that this view supports the dominant narrative that racial justice is inevitable. But it is a cruel sort of optimism.

Take the opening statement of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, published more than 20 years ago. The authors of the Macpherson report believed that “awareness of the problems directly and indirectly revealed” would herald “a signal opportunity to deal with specific matters arising from the murder and all that followed”.

This opportunity came and went but the systemic racial disparities remained. With the help of the late Laurent Berlant, we can see why this expectation of progress ultimately rests in “optimism’s double bind”, where “an image of a better good life available” creates an impasse that does not easily allow us to “detach from what is already not working”.

For example, the striking thing about the MacPherson Report’s assessment is that it had been offered long before. The Scarman Report, which investigated the causes of the 1981 Brixton riots, concluded: “the evidence which I have received, the effect of which I have outlined … leaves no doubt in my mind that racial disadvantage is a fact of current British life … Urgent action is needed.” Lord Scarman was reticent to name institutional racism, and yet he could not deny that “racialism and discrimination against black people – often hidden, sometimes unconscious – remain a major source of social tension and conflict”.

More recently, the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, conducted by Wendy Williams, emphasised the role of “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness” in the scandal, which she concluded “are consistent with some elements of the definition of institutional racism”.

What Berlant helps us to see is that while shocking racial injustice may appear traumatic when accounted for at one moment in time, as a society we have learned to live with a systemic crisis – or, as Berlant puts it, “crisis ordinariness”. In this telling, extraordinary events such as the Windrush scandal or the impact of the COVID-19 crisis turn out to be “an amplification of something in the works”.

How else can we understand the abysmal Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which the Home Office admits may cause “indirect difference [of] treatment on the grounds of race”? Or the Nationality and Borders Bill, with its proposal to strengthen the power to strip people from immigrant backgrounds of citizenship? What else should we make of the government’s attack on Black Lives Matter, which the Department for Education describes in its recent guidance on “political impartiality” as “views which go beyond the basic shared principle that racism is unacceptable”?

Our optimism should not become naivety, or being “hostage to the belief that everything is going to improve or turn out well”. It is instead to hold that what is morally unjust should not prosper in our societies.

This is perhaps most keenly expressed in the statement by Stephen Lawrence’s father Neville, at the inquiry into the racist murder of this 17-year-old son. “We have to look forward,” he insisted, speaking through grief. “This is a very small place, this world of ours.”

These words, spoken by a parent surviving bereavement, remain a profound call for a better society, one greater than that which so cruelly took his son. More than twenty years later, they remain unheeded.

 

By       :         Nasar Meer

Date    :        March 7, 2022

Source:        Open Democracy 

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/in-the-fight-for-racial-justice-optimism-is-not-enough/

 

How to Protect the Hope for Girls' Education in Afghanistan

The Taliban, heavily influenced by the Haqqanis, will continue using Afghan girls’ education as a bargaining chip on matters such as international recognition, financial sanctions, and aid.

Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan six months ago, the educational dreams of millions of girls have been dashed. In late March, the group reneged on its promise to allow Afghan girls to attend secondary school. Although it has allowed some women and girls to return to the classroom, the Taliban has begun retooling the curriculum to prioritize religious studies and imposed harsh restrictions on how female students must dress, travel, and even talk on the phone.

If history is any guide, the Taliban will continue using Afghan girls’ education as a bargaining chip on political matters such as international recognition, financial sanctions, and aid. Nevertheless, the United States and its partners can still assist Afghan women, young people, and ethnic minorities who, in the face of Taliban intransigence, still seek an education. Today, many Afghans are turning to advanced technology, including satellite internet and virtual private networks, not only to maintain access to education but also to secure privacy where the Taliban forbid women and girls to study. While limited, virtual school for select Afghan university students in public institutions and local organizations are still operating against the odds.

Afghanistan’s future stability will depend on its ability to reconcile the priorities of the many competing factions and interests within the country. The United States, European Union, and other regional powers should request UNESCO or UNICEF to appoint a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador charged with implementing a steadfast name-and-shame policy aimed at the Taliban to promote peace through education, even where Russia, China, and Iran stay silent. The UN Ambassador should establish a multilateral forum that improves coordination, collaboration, and cooperation among regional powers to invite up-and-coming Afghan teachers and students—whether they remain in Afghanistan or are residing abroad—to live and study conflict resolution at foreign embassies, diplomatic institutes, and universities in South Asia and beyond.

The Role of the Haqqanis in the Taliban's Education Policy

The Taliban’s war on women’s education is reminiscent of its reign in the 1990s, when the group imposed extreme teachings by force. It largely confined women to their homes, with a fortunate minority of girls able to attend underground schools. Now, the drive to restrict women’s education is led by the Haqqani network, a faction of the Taliban more ideologically strident and violent than any that existed in the 1990s. For years, the Haqqanis have cultivated ties to al-Qaeda and to some elements of the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, known as the Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), even facilitating some of ISIS-K’s terrorist attacks in the Afghan capital, including recent activity against Kabul University, a maternity ward, and a girls’ school. 

The Haqqanis, designated by both the United States and United Nations as terrorists, have emerged as the dominant force in the Taliban government. The group’s leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, heads the powerful Interior Ministry, where he wields control over the nation’s domestic intelligence and military apparatus. A member of Sirajuddin’s network, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, acting Minister of Higher Education, where he is reorganizing Afghanistan’s education system around a strict interpretation of sharia law, imposing curriculum changes, segregating genders in schools, and imposing stringent restrictions on dress and conduct for girls and women. 

In addition to controlling key state institutions, the Haqqanis control a vast international business empire, licit and illicit, and have long enjoyed the backing of other states in the region that view them as a strategic asset. In contrast to the Taliban Political Commission in Doha, the Haqqani-dominated Taliban Military Commission had grown less dependent on Western aid in recent decades and is therefore relatively less susceptible to Western leverage on matters of security, human rights, and education.  They also remain at the forefront of orchestrating campaigns to kill former Afghan government officials and civilians, resulting in the flight of judges, journalists, teachers, and other leaders on whom Afghanistan’s emergent civil society depends.

“The vast majority of Afghan teenage girls have already lost a year of education,” Heather Barr, associate women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, stated in an interview with this author in February, 2022. 

How the United States Can Help

Although the Taliban’s political commission could reform its education policies to gain international legitimacy or aid, it will likely not overrule Sirajuddin Haqqani where he maintains a dissenting opinion.  Even if the Taliban Military Commission remains ensconced in the government, there are other ways in which the United Nations, major and regional powers, and international technology organizations can empower women and girls to make their own choices about ensuring equal rights and education, and live the highest, fullest version of their lives. 

First, the United States, European Union, and other regional powers should call on UNESCO and UNICEF to appoint a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador to lead a renewed push for promoting peace through education, while executing an international name-and-shame policy highlight the Taliban’s failed promise to support Afghan girls’ return to school. The UN Ambassador should facilitate multilateral coordination for regional powers to invite up-and-coming Afghan teachers and students—whether they remain in Afghanistan or are residing abroad—to live and study conflict resolution at foreign embassies, diplomatic institutes, and universities in South Asia and beyond. An emphasis on peace education can help prepare Afghans for next-generation leadership on which any fragile interfaith dialogue, nonviolent dispute resolution, and advanced negotiation will depend. Even in minimal form, such a peace-through-education residency program would create a pipeline of leaders skilled at navigating ideological, political, and cultural differences—precisely the skills Afghanistan’s future leaders will need if they are to create a more stable and secure future order. At least half of the international scholarship recipients should be women who have finished their high school or university education, in order to provide a tangible incentive for Afghan women to persevere through secondary school.

In addition, the Ambassador should facilitate a multilateral consultation mechanism that brings together female education leaders and international technology companies to map the virtual school landscape and improve access to online classroom platforms, such as computer assisted instruction and massive open and free courses in Afghan languages based on geopolitical exigency. Information blockades are likely inevitable in Afghanistan in the future, particularly as China has been aggressively trying to sell or gift its advanced Great Firewall Internet filtering and monitoring software to countries in the region. When designed properly, enhanced access to virtual private networks and encrypted online classrooms can help Afghans evade such firewalls and circumvent the Taliban’s extreme ideology, values, and laws—or simply gain access to school. 

By taking these actions to support education of all Afghans, the United States and its allies can promote the aspirations of such next-generation leaders. Fereshteh Forough, who organizes virtual classrooms for women and girls, explains the potential impact of such programs: “Digital citizens can surpass the ideological bent geographical boundaries, preserving women’s rights in the struggle for freedom and security. Gaining such liberation today is possible almost only through education technology, for it keeps our identity private and enables us to connect with the global economy. Virtual classrooms give us hope, for they make our simple goal, to study, a reality, even as the Taliban aim to take away the basic human rights we have fought so hard to gain.”

 

Dr. Melissa L. Skorka is a Senior Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Changing Character of War Centre. She served as a Senior Adviser to the former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph F. Dunford in the Haqqani Fusion Cell and the International Security Assistance Force from 2011 to 2014.

 

Pandemic expulsion of migrant minors officially ends; adults still covered

WASHINGTON – The CDC ruled this weekend that unaccompanied minors should not be turned back at the border over COVID-19 concerns, a move welcomed by advocates who say the change now needs to be extended to all immigrants.

The ruling Saturday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention applies to Title 42, which lets border officials deny entry to anyone who might introduce a communicable disease to the U.S. It makes official what has been Biden administration policy since last January, when the new president prohibited the expulsion of unaccompanied minors under Title 42.

But with 1.5 million migrants turned away under Title 42 – more than 1 million of them since President Joe Biden took office – Democrats said it’s past time to end the practice altogether.

“Ending Title 42 for unaccompanied migrant children is a step forward, but the truth is that Title 42 remains a cruel relic and policy reminder of the Trump-immigration era,” Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, said in a statement released Sunday.

“It’s time to immediately end Title 42 for adults and families once and for all and overhaul our immigration and asylum-seeking process to be just, humane and fair,” Grijalva’s statement said.

Calls seeking comment on the change from the CDC, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were not immediately returned Monday.

The policy began in March 2020, when the Department of Health and Human Services imposed an emergency regulation that applied Title 42 to the COVID-19 pandemic, prohibiting entry to all undocumented migrants who arrived at the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico.

Almost 16,000 unaccompanied youth had been expelled by November 2020, when the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the practice halted against minors. When Biden took office in January 2021, he ordered that unaccompanied children be exempt from the rule, and just 20 youths have been turned away in the 14 months since, according to CBP data.

But Title 42 enforcement for other migrants has actually increased under Biden: CBP reported that Border Patrol expelled 76,298 people at the Southwest border under Title 42 in January and the Office of Field Operations expelled another 2,188 at the southern border that month.

Title 42 was used to expel 2,500 people at the Yuma port of entry in January and 15,469 people at the Tucson port of entry, the most of any Southwest port of entry that month, according to CBP.

But on March 4, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that the CDC had not provided an adequate explanation as to why unaccompanied children should be treated differently from other migrants and exempted from Title 42. The opinion said that COVID-19 should still be a priority when making immigration policy, writing “there should be no disagreement that the current immigration policies should be focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19.”

The court gave the CDC seven days to either draft a better explanation for the unaccompanied minors policy, or start applying Title 42 to them again.

That explanation came Saturday, when the CDC argued that expelling unaccompanied children is not necessary to protect public health currently, as coronavirus cases are decreasing across the country. It also said there was a history of excluding unaccompanied children from certain immigration policies.

“Because of their vulnerabilities, (unaccompanied children) are generally treated differently than other individuals apprehended and processed at the border under the immigration laws,” the notice said.

While they welcomed the official termination of the policy for minors, advocates argued that Title 42 in general has been misused by border officials.

“For two years since the pandemic began, Customs and Border Protection officials at the southern border have been rapidly deporting individuals who arrive and request asylum after crossing the border, as well as individuals who are simply crossing the border and seeking a better life in the United States,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy counsel at the American Immigration Council.

Reichlin-Melnick said the policy should not be needed at a time when “almost no places in the United States have any COVID restrictions left, the vaccine is widely available, hundreds of millions of Americans have gotten vaccinated and protected themselves against serious illness or death from the virus.”

“So the rationale for continuing to send people potentially to their deaths rather than allowing them to seek asylum just to protect us from COVID, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

With the pandemic no longer an excuse for that they called bad immigration policy, advocates said they hope that ending Title 42 for unaccompanied children signals the CDC’s willingness to end the rule altogether.

“The reality is that we have been subjecting migrants at the border to far more stringent health restrictions than pretty much anyone else,” Reichlin-Melnick said. “The CDC is realizing it’s not necessary anymore; after two years, it may finally be time for Title 42 to end.”

 

Reagan Priest expects to graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in political science. Priest, who has worked as a politics reporter for The State Press and a social media aide for ASU/NewSpace in Phoenix, is working for the D.C. news bureau.

 

By    :           Reagan Priest

Date:           March 14, 2022

Source:       Cronkite News

https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2022/03/14/pandemic-expulsion-of-migrant-minors-officially-ends-adults-still-covered/

 

Race Is Central to Identity for Black Americans and Affects How They Connect With Each Other

Many learn about ancestors, U.S. Black history from family

No matter where they are from, who they are, their economic circumstances or educational backgrounds, significant majorities of Black Americans say being Black is extremely or very important to how they think about themselves, with about three-quarters (76%) overall saying so.   

A significant share of Black Americans also say that when something happens to Black people in their local communities, across the nation or around the globe, it affects what happens in their own lives, highlighting a sense of connectedness. Black Americans say this even as they have diverse experiences and come from an array of backgrounds.

Even so, Black adults who say being Black is important to their sense of self are more likely than other Black adults to feel connected to other groups of Black people. They are also more likely to feel that what happens to Black people inside and outside the United States affects what happens in their own lives. These findings emerge from an extensive new survey of Black U.S. adults conducted by Pew Research Center.

A majority of non-Hispanic Black Americans (78%) say being Black is very or extremely important to how they think about themselves. This racial group is the largest among Black adults, accounting for 87% of the adult population, according to 2019 Census Bureau estimates. But among other Black Americans, roughly six-in-ten multiracial (57%) and Hispanic (58%) Black adults say this.

Black Americans also differ in key ways in their views about the importance of being Black to personal identity. While majorities of all age groups of Black people say being Black shapes how they think about themselves, younger Black Americans are less likely to say this – Black adults ages 50 and older are more likely than Black adults ages 18 to 29 to say that being Black is very or extremely important to how they think of themselves. Specifically, 76% of Black adults ages 30 to 49, 80% of those 50 to 64 and 83% of those 65 and older hold this view, while only 63% of those under 30 do.

Black adults who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party are more likely than those who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party to say being Black is important to how they see themselves – 86% vs. 58%. And Black women (80%) are more likely than Black men (72%) to say being Black is important to how they see themselves.

Still, some subgroups of Black Americans are about as likely as others to say that being Black is very or extremely important to how they think about themselves. For example, U.S.-born and immigrant Black adults are about as likely to say being Black is important to how they see their identity. However, not all Black Americans feel the same about the importance of being Black to their identity – 14% say it is only somewhat important to how they see themselves while 9% say it has little or no impact on their personal identity, reflecting the diversity of views about identity among Black Americans.

Beyond the personal importance of Blackness – that is, the importance of being Black to personal identity – many Black Americans feel connected to each other. About five-in-ten (52%) say everything or most things that happen to Black people in the United States affect what happens in their own lives, with another 30% saying some things that happen nationally to Black people have a personal impact. And 43% say all or most things that happen to Black people in their local community affect what happens in their own lives, while another 35% say only some things in their lives are affected by these events. About four-in-ten Black adults in the U.S. (41%) say they feel their fates are strongly linked to Black people around the world, with 36% indicating that some things that happen to Black people around the world affect what happens in their own lives.

The survey also asked respondents how much they have in common with different groups of Black Americans. Some 17% of Black adults say they have everything or most things in common with Black people who are immigrants. But this sense of commonality differs sharply by nativity: 14% of U.S.-born Black adults say they have everything or most things in common with Black immigrants, while 43% of Black immigrants say the same. Conversely, only about one-in-four Black immigrants (26%) say they have everything or most things in common with U.S.-born Black people, a share that rises to 56% among U.S.-born Black people themselves.

About one-third of Black Americans (34%) say they have everything or most things in common with Black people who are poor, though smaller shares say the same about Black people who are wealthy (12%). Relatively few Black Americans (14%) say they have everything or most things in common with Black people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ). However, a larger share of Black Americans (25%) say they have at least some things in common with Black people who identify as LGBTQ. All these findings highlight the diversity of the U.S. Black population and how much Black people feel connected to each other.

These are among the key findings from a recent Pew Research Center survey of 3,912 Black Americans conducted online Oct. 4-17, 2021. This report is the latest in a series of Pew Research Center studies focused on describing the rich diversity of Black people in the United States.

The nation’s Black population stood at 47 million in 2020, making up 14% of the U.S. population – up from 13% in 2000. While the vast majority of Black Americans say their racial background is Black alone (88% in 2020), growing numbers are also multiracial or Hispanic. Most were born in the U.S. and trace their roots back several generations in the country, but a growing share are immigrants (12%) or the U.S.-born children of immigrant parents (9%). Geographically, while 56% of Black Americans live in the nation’s South, the national Black population has also dispersed widely across the country.

It is this diversity – among U.S.-born Black people and Black immigrants; between Black people who live in different regions; and across different ethnicities, party affiliations, ages and income levels – that this report explores. The survey also provides a robust opportunity to examine the importance of race to Black Americans’ sense of self and their connections to other Black people.

The importance of being Black for connections with other Black people

The importance of being Black to personal identity is a significant factor in how connected Black Americans feel toward each other. Those who say that being Black is a very or extremely important part of their personal identity are more likely than those for whom Blackness is relatively less important to express a sense of common fate with Black people in their local communities (50% vs. 17%), in the United States overall (62% vs. 21%), and even around the world (48% vs. 18%).

They are also more likely to say that they have everything or most things in common with Black people who are poor (37% vs. 23%) and Black immigrants (19% vs. 9%). Even so, fewer than half of Black Americans, no matter how important Blackness is to their personal identity, say they have everything or most things in common with Black people who are poor, immigrants or LGBTQ.

The importance of Blackness for knowing family history and U.S. Black history

The new survey also explores Black Americans’ knowledge about their family histories and the history of Black people in the United States, with the importance of Blackness linked to greater knowledge. 

Nearly six-in-ten Black adults (57%) say their ancestors were enslaved either in the U.S. or another country, with nearly all who say so (52% of the Black adults surveyed) saying it was in the U.S., either in whole or in part. Black adults who say that being Black is a very or extremely important part of how they see themselves (61%) are more likely than those for whom being Black is less important (45%) to say that their ancestors were enslaved. In fact, Black adults for whom Blackness is very or extremely important (31%) are less likely than their counterparts (42%) to say that they are not sure if their ancestors were enslaved at all.

When it comes to learning more about their family histories, Black adults for whom Blackness is very or extremely important (81%) are more likely than those for whom Blackness is less important (59%) to have spoken to their relatives. They are about as likely to have researched their family’s history online (36% and 30%, respectively) and to have used a mail-in DNA service such as AncestryDNA or 23andMe (15% and 16%) to learn more about their ancestry.

The importance of Blackness also figures prominently into how informed Black Americans feel about U.S. Black history. Black adults who say Blackness is a significant part of their personal identity are more likely than those for whom Blackness is less important to say that they feel very or extremely informed about U.S. Black history (57% vs. 29%). Overall, about half of Black Americans say they feel very or extremely informed about the history of Black people in the United States.

Among Black adults who feel at least a little informed about U.S. Black history, the sources of their knowledge also differ by the importance of Blackness to personal identity. Nearly half of Black adults for whom Blackness is very or extremely important (48%) say they learned about Black history from their families and friends, making them more likely to say so than Black adults for whom Blackness is less important (30%). Similarly, those who say being Black is important to their identity are more likely than those who did not say this to have learned about Black history from nearly every source they were asked about, be it media (33% vs. 22%), the internet (30% vs. 18%) or college, if they attended (26% vs. 14%). The only source for which both groups were about equally likely to say they learned about Black history was their K-12 schools (24% and 21%, respectively).

Overall, among Black Americans who feel at least a little informed about U.S. Black history, 43% say they learned about it from their relatives and friends, 30% say they learned about it from the media, 27% from the internet, and 24% from college (if they attended) and 23% from K-12 school.

Younger Black people are less likely to speak to relatives about ancestors

Black adults under 30 years old differ significantly from older Black adults in their views on the importance of Blackness to their personal identity. However, Black adults also differ by age in how they pursue knowledge of family history, how informed they feel about U.S. Black history, and their sense of connectedness to other Black people.

Black adults under 30 (50%) are less likely than those 65 and older (64%) to say their ancestors were enslaved. In fact, 40% of Black adults under 30 say that they are not sure whether their ancestors were enslaved. Black adults in the youngest age group (59%) are less likely than the oldest (87%) to have spoken to their relatives about family history or to have used a mail-in DNA service to learn about their ancestors (11% vs. 21%). They are only slightly less likely to have conducted research on their families online (26% vs. 39%).

Black adults under 30 have the lowest share who say they feel very or extremely informed about the history of Black people in the United States (40%), compared with 60% of Black adults 65 and older and about half each of Black adults 50 to 64 (53%) and 30 to 49 (51%). In fact, Black adults under 30 are more likely than those 50 and older to say they feel a little or not at all informed about Black history. While Black adults are generally most likely to cite family and friends as their source for learning about Black history, the share under 30 (38%) who also cite the internet as a source of information is higher than the shares ages 50 to 64 (22%) and 65 and older (14%) who say this.

These age differences persist in the sense of connectedness that Black Americans have with other Black people. Black adults under 30 are less likely than those 65 and older to say that everything or most things that happen to Black people in the United States will affect their own lives. This youngest group is also less likely than the oldest to have this sense of common fate with Black people in their local community. One exception to this pattern occurs when Black adults were asked how much they had in common with Black people who identify as LGBTQ. Black adults under 30 (21%) were considerably more likely than those 65 and older (10%) to say they have everything or most things in common with Black people who identify as LGBTQ.

Black Americans differ by party on measures of identity and connection

Black Democrats and Republicans differ on how important Blackness is to their personal identities. However, there are also partisan gaps when it comes to their connectedness to other Black people.

Black Democrats and those who lean to the Democratic Party are more likely than Black Republicans and Republican leaners to say that everything or most things that happen to Black people in the United States (57% vs. 39%) and their local communities (46% vs. 30%) affect what happens in their own lives. However, Black Republicans (24%) are more likely than Black Democrats (14%) to say that they have everything or most things in common with Black people who are LGBTQ. They are also more likely than Black Democrats to say they have everything or most things in common with Black people who are wealthy (25% vs. 11%).

When it comes to knowledge of family and racial histories, Black Democrats and Republicans do not differ. Democrats (59%) are just as likely as Republicans (54%) to know that their ancestors were enslaved. Nearly 80% of Black adults from both partisan coalitions say they have spoken to their relatives about their family history. Similar shares have also researched their family histories online and used mail-in DNA services.

Black Democrats are also not significantly more likely than Black Republicans to say they feel very or extremely informed about U.S. Black history (53% vs. 45%). And among those who feel at least a little informed about U.S. Black history, Democrats and Republicans are about equally likely to say they learned it from family and friends (45% vs. 38%).

Place is a key part of Black Americans’ personal identities

The majority of Black adults who live in the United States were born there, but an increasing portion of the population is comprised of immigrants. Of those immigrants, nearly 90% were born in the Caribbean or Africa. Regardless of their region of birth, 58% of Black adults say the country they were born in is very or extremely important to how they think about themselves. A smaller share say the same about the places where they grew up (46%).

Black adults also feel strongly about their current communities. About half of Black adults (52%) say that where they currently live is very or extremely important to how they think about themselves. And when it comes to the quality of their neighborhoods, 76% of Black adults rate them as at least good places to live, including 41% who say the quality of their community is very good or excellent.

Still, Black adults say there are concerning issues in the communities they live in. When asked in an open-ended question to list the issue that was most important in their neighborhoods, nearly one-in-five Black adults listed issues related to violence or crime (17%). Smaller shares listed other points of concern such as economic issues like poverty and homelessness (11%), housing (7%), COVID-19 and public health (6%), or infrastructure issues such as the availability of public transportation and the conditions of roads (5%).

While nearly one-in-five Black Americans (17%) say that individual people like themselves should be responsible for solving these problems, they are most likely to say that local community leaders should address these issues (48%). Smaller shares say the U.S. Congress (12%), the U.S. president (8%) or civil rights organizations (2%) bear responsibility.

 

You can read the complete the article through this link: https://www.pewresearch.org/race-ethnicity/2022/04/14/race-is-central-to-identity-for-black-americans-and-affects-how-they-connect-with-each-other/ 

 

By  :    Kiana Cox and Christine Tamir

Date:  April 14, 2022

Source: Pew Research Center 

https://www.pewresearch.org/race-ethnicity/2022/04/14/race-is-central-to-identity-for-black-americans-and-affects-how-they-connect-with-each-other/