Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Until the entrance of the First Black President, the phenomenon was unknown. But a new poll shows Blacks remain far more upbeat than other groups about the economy. “Since late 2009, Black Americans have been reporting wildly more optimistic beliefs than any other ethnicity about the state of the economy, Black people’s relative position in that economy, and the respondent’s own economic prospects.” And for two years, Black perceptions of reality have been largely the opposite of the truth.

 

Obama-Related Illusions Continue to Distort Black Perceptions

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

It has been like tracking a mass delirium that has been raging for two years.”

A recent poll of African American public opinion adds to the evidence that the very presence of a Black man in the White House has created lasting distortions in Black people’s collective ability to gauge their own relative position in society. To put it bluntly, something has gone very wrong with Black perceptions of reality, since the ascent of President Obama.

The latest manifestation of the madness arrived with this month’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal/the Grio poll, headlined “Black Americans More Optimistic, Enthused About 2012.” The poll showed that almost half of Black respondents thought the country was on the right track, while overwhelming majorities of other Americans believe the opposite. Sixty-two percent of Blacks think the recession is behind us – an intuition not nearly so widely held by other Americans. Most tellingly, 86 percent of Blacks approve of the way President Obama has been handling the economy – an economy in which Blacks are doing worse than every other major group.

The Grio article didn’t tell us that research has shown, since late 2009 – President Obama’s first year in office – that Black Americans have been reporting wildly more optimistic beliefs than any other ethnicity about the state of the economy, Black people’s relative position in that economy, and the respondent’s own economic prospects. It has been like tracking a mass delirium that has been raging for two years. The first poll by the Pew Research Center, titled “Blacks Upbeat about Black Progress, Prospects appeared in January of 2010. It showed that the proportion of Blacks that thought they were “better off” than five years ago had nearly doubled. What had actually doubled in the previous five years was the rate of Black unemployment. Blacks also thought, in late 2009, that the racial gap had grown smaller in the last ten years. In the real world, it had gotten significantly larger.

Eighty-six percent of Blacks approve of the way President Obama has been handling the economy – an economy in which Blacks are doing worse than every other major group.”

Clearly, this was a mass psychological manifestation of the Obama phenomenon. We wrote in the January 20, 2010 edition of Black Agenda Report, that “large majorities of African Americans have been trapped” in a Delusion Zone ”since Barack Obama took up residence in the White House.”

Six months later, the Pew Research outfit released an even scarier survey. Titled, “How the Great Recession Changed Life in America,” the study showed across the board that Blacks are more upbeat about damn near everything than everybody else. Here’s what we wrote on June 6 of 2010:

The Pew poll shows that 35 percent of Blacks report their homes are worth less than their mortgages, compared to just 18 percent for white people. Fifty-four percent of Blacks took a pay cut, worked reduced hours or were forced to take unpaid leave during the Great Recession. Only 37 percent of whites suffered such employment trauma, yet Blacks are consistently – and insanely – more optimistic about the future.”

There is the possibility that Black folks are simply not answering honestly to pollsters, so as not to make Obama look bad. But, if they actually believe what they say, then Black folks would rather imagine an alternative universe in which the First Black President actually did bring good times for Black people, than face the facts as they have actually occurred.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20111116_gf_BlacksInPolls.mp3
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