Survey Finds Black People Believe Politicians Don’t Care About Black Community
|thenorthstar||May 31, 2019|
A new report finds that Black people believe that politicians do not care about the Black community. The Black Futures Lab released a survey on Tuesday, May 28 titled “More Black than Blue: Politics and Power in the 2019 Black Census.” The survey, which is part of the Black Census Project, polled over 30,000 people on their views about society, politics, and the challenges faced by the Black community. The Black Futures Lab partnered with more than 30 organizations serving Black communities across the nation, as well as organizations PushBlack and Color Of Change.
“Black people have always played a role in unlocking the promise of an America that has not yet been realized, and if there was ever a time to tap into that power — it’s now,” Alicia Garza, principal at the Black Futures Lab and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, wrote on the Black Futures Lab website.
The report found that many Black voters do not feel valued by politicians. Fifty-two percent of respondents believed that politicians do not care about Black people, and 35 percent said politicians only care a little. Despite this, 73 percent of people surveyed said they voted during the 2016 election, and 40 percent of people said they participated in donating, volunteering, or canvassing for a politician.
“Black Census respondents know what to do to address the problems Black communities face and many are actively engaged in the political and electoral system to bring about change,” the study read. “Yet too often, urgent concerns go unheard: it is vital that the political system listen, engage and respond to the concerns and needs of Black communities.”
In a New York Times op-ed on Tuesday, May 28, Garza noted that some politicians do not actually reach out to discuss their policies with Black voters. “Candidates and their campaigns are comfortable talking at Black people, but few want to talk to us. This limits our ability to influence their decisions and policies,” Garza wrote in The Times. “And it’s a bad strategy at a time when Black people, Black women in particular, form the base of the Democratic Party, are its most loyal voters, and mobilize other people to go to the polls.”
The survey also discussed economic and criminal justice policy. Ninety percent of survey respondents said that the most pressing economic problem in the Black community is low wages, and nine in 10 said that wages are too low to care for a family. Eighty-five percent of people supported raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, according to the survey.
The survey also discovered that 85 percent of people see rising college cost as a problem in the Black community. Many also consider the lack of affordable healthcare to be problematic, with 90 percent of all respondents noting their belief that the government should be responsible for providing healthcare for all Americans. “Respondents recognize that Black people suffer from low incomes, low wealth, high debts, and economic insecurity,” the survey read. “To address these issues, Black Census respondents support progressive economic solutions that would increase the incomes and economic security of Black people in the United States.”
On the topic of criminal justice policy, 90 percent of people surveyed believe that gun violence is a problem in the Black community. Eighty-three percent see the excessive use of force by police officers as a problem, and 87 percent of people said police officers killing Black people is a community problem.
“Black Census respondents’ views on policing and criminal justice stem from lived experiences. While most Black Census respondents want to address matters of crime and safety in their community, such as the violence from gun use, respondents also seek policing that is respectful of the community,” the survey noted. “Respondents want to see officers held accountable for misconduct and abuse that too often targets Black communities.”
The survey found that many respondents agree about what problems the Black community faces and how to address these problems. Survey results urged politicians to listen to these issues.
“Highly engaged respondents do not need to convince those who are less engaged about what problems are important or even which solutions to adopt, but rather about the effectiveness of taking action,” the survey read. “If political leaders are ready to listen to the issues and concerns of Black Census respondents, the community is ready to mobilize.”
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.