Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Class Beats Race - Hurrah!

The Pew Research Center has released a wonderful study showing a strong convergence among the white, black, and hispanic middle class. For the first time, a majority of African-Americans agree with the rest of the country that the main thing keeping poor blacks down is their own behavior, rather than racism.

Likewise, most black Americans think that the gap between middle class and poor blacks is widening, a view long held by most other Americans. The belief that the class gap is widening within the African-American community is shared by both ends of the black education and income spectrum. The Pew study made headlines with a peculiar version of this point: they asked

Blacks today can no longer be thought of as a single race because the black community is so diverse OR Blacks can still be thought of as a single race because they have so much in common.


Most African-American agreed with the peculiar contention that blacks are not one race today.

All races agree that people in the same class are more similar than are people in the same race.

In the long run, this is hopeful in the fight against racism.

2 comments:

C. Robinson said...

You say: "MOST African-American agreed with the peculiar contention that blacks are not one race today."

If by "MOST" you mean "a majority of instances", then this is not what the Pew survey concludes.

Fifty three percent (53%) of the Black respondents to question Q30 (which you write about) believe that "Blacks can still be thought of as a single race because they have so much in common".

Only 37% (which is a sizable minority – but not a majority) said what you incorrectly proclaimed in your post - that "Blacks today can no longer be thought of as a single race because the black community is so diverse”.

You can read the actual survey here (instead of only reading new articles about the survey): http://pewsocialtrends.org/assets/pdf/Race.pdf.

Thanks -

Gruntled said...

You are right -- I had inserted a phantom negative when I read the 53% response side.

Still, I think it is a peculiar question that provoked a peculiar response. If they had asked something like "Are African-Americans still one community?" the answer would have been closer to what they seem to have had in mind.