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  • 16


     
    Poll: Education, Income Segregates Blacks
    Race; Posted on: 2007-11-14 11:25:20 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows many African-Americans say they can no longer be seen as a single race. Work ethic and education are creating a class divide. Nearly 40 percent of low-income blacks say they have nothing in common with middle-income and poor blacks.

    by Steve Inskeep and Juan Williams

    One of the most damaging forces tearing at young black people in America today is the popular culture's pernicious image of what an "authentic" black person is supposed to look like and how that person is supposed to act.

    For example, VH-1's highly rated Flavor of Love show features a black man in a clownish hat, a big clock hanging around his neck, spewing the N-word while demeaning black women. And hip-hop music videos celebrate the "Thug Life" and "gansta" attitude for any young black person seeking strong racial identity.

    But a critic who points out that this so-called culture is defeatist and damaging because it leads to high drop-out rates, record black-on-black murder statistics and a record number of out-of-wedlock births is dismissed as a prude and a censor. Anyone questioning lyrics that glorify violence and make it cool to treat women as sex toys is told that the words reflect the reality of black life, and that they are "acting white."

    Well, today there is new fuel for the debate.

    A poll released by the Pew Research Center, in association with NPR, finds that 67 percent of black men and 74 percent of black women think rap music is a bad influence on black America. In fact, 59 percent of black men and 63 percent of black women think the whole hip-hop industry from the jailhouse fashion of pants hanging low, to indifference to work and school is equally detrimental to black America.

    White and Hispanic Americans agree, too. The Pew poll finds 64 percent of whites and 59 percent of Hispanics agree on the damaging impact of hip hop.

    This Pew poll is a uniquely reliable measure of black opinion. Unlike most polls, it has a large sample of black people, in addition to whites and Hispanics. Most polls include such a small number of blacks and Hispanics that it is hard to draw reliable conclusions about racial issues. This poll is different and its findings are stunning.

    Damaging Media Images

    For example, young black people are the most upset (when compared to older blacks in the poll) about the way black Americans are portrayed on television and in the movies. Blacks under the age of 50 are much more likely to say media images of black people are worse today than they were 10 years ago.

    And the proportion of young black people in the 18-29 age group who condemn the current media images of black people is 31 percent higher than the 25 percent of blacks between the ages of 30-49, and the 17 percent of blacks in the 50-64 age group with similar disdain for black images in the media.

    Similarly, when asked if the portrayal of black people on television and in the movies is harmful, it is young black people who most likely scream "Yes!" More than half (54 percent) of 18- to 29-year-old African Americans say black people are presented in a negative way in movies and TV shows. Fifty percent of black people ages 34-49 agree.

    Full Article
    News Source: Pew Research Center/NPR

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