According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, most black Americans say that being black is central to how they think about themselves and shape their identities, even as many have diverse experiences. And come from different backgrounds. Nearly three-quarters of black people said so, regardless of where they came from, their economic status or educational background.
Overall, 14% say that being black is somewhat important to their identity and 9% say it has no effect, highlighting the diversity of views among black Americans, including American-born black. people and black immigrants, and various ethnic, political ones. Party affiliation and age.
The Pew Research Center released its report on black identity on Thursday, and the results show the key role it plays in shaping identity in America.
“Our data tells me that being Black is important for all Black people, according to our findings, regardless of the intersection of their identities,” said Kianna Cox, research associate and co-author of the report. A “Most black people, 76%, said being black was really important to them.”
Cox, who has worked with the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., for nearly four years, said they want to make sure they have “the kind of nuances within racial and ethnic groups, but It’s also a sample enough to understand. Life and society as black people understand it.”
Shelley Eversley, a professor at the City University of New York, said that 76% of survey respondents rated their blackness as important to their identity, less than she expected because “race informs every wealth of black life.”
“Understanding the way race informs daily life is a safeguard for a lot of black people,” said Eversley, who has taught about race for 20 years and is interim chair for the Department of Black and Latinx Studies. . She was not a participant in the report.
She said that being black is something that you are aware of at a young age. She noted that black children are often more disciplined at school and elsewhere, and their parents have conversations with them about the dangers of racism when they are still young.
Cox said the report also points to how people value being black, fostering a sense of connectedness among communities.
Those who said being black was an important part of their personal identity were more likely to express a sense of connection with black people in their local communities, America, and around the world than those who said blackness was relatively rare. is important.
According to the 2020 census, there are 47 million black people in the US, which is about 14% of the population. Most black adults in the US were born in the country, but a growing proportion of the population are immigrants, about 12%. Of the black immigrant population, 90% were born in the Caribbean or Africa.
Cox also said that she was surprised to learn that the place – or where people grew up and lived – played a big role in identity and how people shaped their values and what they saw as important issues. .
According to the report, black Americans cited violence and crime as well as economic issues such as poverty and homelessness as the most important issues to address in their communities. The most important local issues named in subgroups of black Americans vary but often rank in the top three as violence and crime, economic issues and housing issues.
Overall, 17% of black Americans said the most important issue is violence or crime – a category that includes drug activity, theft and vandalism, among other crimes. Eleven percent cited economic issues as most important, 7% cited housing and 6% cited COVID-19 and public health. Nearly half of black adults said that local leaders are most responsible for addressing these important issues.
A separate poll conducted in March by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that an overwhelming majority of adults say there has been further progress to achieve equal treatment for black people with the police and criminal justice system. the wanted. Racial outrage spread across the country two years after protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
When asked about community issues, the survey used an open-ended question, so “the answer to what black Americans think is important is a little more multilayered than just violence or crime,” Cox said, noting that many There is something that falls into that category compared to police violence.
The report also showed that nearly half of black people who say being black is important to personal identity feel very or extremely informed about that group’s history of black people in America, nearly half say That they learned that history from family and friends. Regardless of how Blackness shapes their personal identities, a great majority say they have spoken to their families about their history.
“The clarity of family as a source of history for both American black history, as the kind of history we expect to learn in school, and ancestral history, which is what we learn about our family history, is very interesting. It came on so strongly,” Cox said. “What that’s telling us is it confirms what scholars and historians have told us about family strength for black Americans, especially in the context of greater knowledge.”
6,513 US adults, including 3,912 black Americans, were surveyed October 4-17, 2021. It uses samples taken from the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel and the Ipsos KnowledgePanel, which are designed to be representative of the US population. The margin of sample error for black respondents is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.