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African American Forum


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  1. Most African-Americans across all major religious traditions, including those who are unaffiliated, prefer a bigger government that provides more services to a smaller government providing fewer services. Significantly more African-Americans (70%) report that they prefer bigger government compared with the total population (46%), who are much more divided on the issue (43% prefer smaller government). And nearly eight-in-ten (79%) African-Americans say the government should do more to help the needy, even if it means going deeper into debt, while only 15% say the government cannot afford to do
  2. Regardless of their religious background, African-Americans overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party. The 2007 Landscape Survey finds that more than three-quarters of all African-Americans (76%) describe themselves as Democrats or say they lean toward the Democratic Party, while just 10% favor the Republicans. Across all religious groups, at least two-thirds of African-Americans express support for the Democratic Party. Among the total population, by comparison, less than half (47%) describe themselves as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 35% support the GOP. This unity o
  3. On a variety of measures, African-Americans express comfort with religion’s role in politics. According to a summer 2008 Pew Research Center survey, six-in-ten African-Americans (61%) say houses of worship should express their views on social and political matters, while only 36% say churches should avoid these topics. On this question, African-Americans closely resemble white evangelical Protestants, among whom 59% say churches should express their views and 38% say churches should keep out of social and political matters. By contrast, among the overall population, the balance of opinion lean
  4. Overall, about four-in-ten African-Americans (41%) think that homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 46% say that homosexuality should be discouraged. By contrast, among the public overall, those who say that homosexuality should be accepted outnumber those who say it should be discouraged (50% to 40%). Among African-Americans, members of evangelical churches express the most conservative views on this issue (58% say homosexuality should be discouraged), while unaffiliated African-Americans are among the least conservative (only 32% say it should be discouraged), a difference of 26
  5. Social Issues Similar links exist among African-Americans as among the general population when it comes to religion and views on social issues such as abortion and homosexuality. But once again, the religiously based differences on these issues are less pronounced among African-Americans than in the overall population. Abortion Overall, 49% of African-Americans favor keeping abortion legal in most or all cases, while 44% want abortion to be illegal in most or all cases. These figures are similar to those seen among the public as a whole (51% vs. 42%). Among African-Americans, mem
  6. Among African-Americans, as with the public generally, views on political ideology and social issues, such as abortion and homosexuality, are linked with both religious affiliation and religious observance (as measured by worship service attendance and importance of religion in one’s life). For instance, black members of evangelical Protestant churches and the more religiously observant express more conservative views than those who are unaffiliated with any particular religion or are less religiously observant. But these religiously based differences tend to be smaller in the African-American
  7. African-Americans also express higher levels of religious belief than do Americans overall. Compared with the population overall, for instance, African-Americans are more likely to believe in God with absolute certainty (88% vs. 71% among the total adult population), interpret Scripture as the literal word of God (55% vs. 33%) and express a belief in angels and demons (83% vs. 68%). They also are more likely to say they are absolutely convinced about the existence of life after death (58% vs. 50%) and to believe in miracles (84% vs. 79%). These views are held by the overwhelming majority
  8. African-Americans attend religious services and pray more frequently than the general population. While 39% of all Americans report attending religious services at least once a week, a majority of African-Americans (53%) report the same. Similarly, while 58% of all Americans report praying at least once a day, a significantly higher number of African-Americans (76%) report praying daily. This pattern is seen across most major religious traditions. Perhaps most interestingly, unaffiliated African-Americans attend religious services and pray in much higher numbers than the unaffiliated popu
  9. In many ways, African-Americans are significantly more religious than the general population, with the vast majority considering religion very important in their lives. African-Americans also are more religiously observant on a variety of other measures, from frequency of prayer and worship service attendance to belief in God. Importance of Religion Nearly eight-in-ten African-Americans (79%) say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56% among the U.S. adult population overall. Consistent with this, members of historically black churches are among the most lik
  10. Gender As in the population overall, African-American men are significantly more likely than women to be unaffiliated with any religion (16% vs. 9%). African-American women are somewhat more likely than African-American men to describe themselves as Protestant (82% of women vs. 72% of men). Among African-American women, 62% are members of historically black Protestant churches, 16% are affiliated with evangelical churches and 4% are mainline Protestant; among men, 55% are members of historically black churches, 14% are evangelical and 4% are mainline Protestant. African-American women
  11. The vast majority of African-Americans are Protestant (78%), compared with only 51% of the U.S. adult population as a whole. By a wide margin, African-Americans stand out as the most Protestant racial and ethnic group in the U.S.; far fewer whites (53%), Asians (27%) and Latinos (23%) belong to Protestant denominations. But Protestantism in the U.S. – and in the black community – is not homogeneous. Rather, it is divided into three distinct traditions – evangelical Protestant churches, mainline Protestant churches and historically black Protestant churches. More than three-in-four African
  12. While the U.S. is generally considered a highly religious nation, African-Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole, including level of affiliation with a religion, attendance at religious services, frequency of prayer and religion’s importance in life. Compared with other racial and ethnic groups, African-Americans are among the most likely to report a formal religious affiliation, with fully 87% of African-Americans describing themselves as belonging to one religious group or another, according to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, c
  13. America is once again a nation of immigrants, as a long series of recent newspaper stories and policy analyses remind us. Since 1990 the Los Angeles metropolitan region has gained almost a million residents, the New York region almost 400,000, and the Chicago region 360,000–almost all from immigration or births to recent immigrants. Most of the nation’s fastest-growing cities are in the West and Southwest, and their growth is attributable to immigration. More than half of the residents of New York City are immigrants or children of immigrants. How will these demographic changes affect racial p
  14. It is virtually unprecedented for a newly successful group of Americans to grow more and more alienated from the mainstream polity as it attains more and more material success. One exception, David Mayhew notes, is South Carolina’s plantation owners in the 1840s and 1850s. That frustrated group led a secessionist movement; what might embittered and resource-rich African Americans do? At this point the analogy breaks down: the secessionists’ actions had no justification, whereas middle-class blacks have excellent reason to be intensely frustrated with the persistent, if subtle, racial barriers
  15. The course of American racial and ethnic politics over the next few decades will depend not only on dynamics within the African-American community, but also on relations between African Americans and other racial or ethnic groups. Both are hard to predict. The key question within the black community involves the unfolding relationship between material success and attachment to the American polity. The imponderable in ethnic relations is how the increasing complexity of ethnic and racial coalitions and of ethnicity-related policy issues will affect African-American political behavior. What make
  16. The generation of lawmakers who came to Capitol Hill after the civil rights movement created a legislative groundswell. The civil rights acts of the 1960s and court-ordered redistricting opened new avenues of political participation for millions of African Americans. Consequently, many more black politicians were elected to office at the state and federal levels. One-hundred twenty-seven of the 162 African Americans who had served in congressional history through January 2019—more than 78 percent—were seated in Congress after 1970.17 Many of these Members were elected from southern states that
  17. In 1870 the arrival on Capitol Hill of the first African-American Senator, Hiram Revels of Mississippi, and the first African-American Representative, Joseph Rainey of South Carolina, ranks among the great paradoxes in American history: Just a decade earlier, southern slave owners held those same seats in Congress. Moreover, the U.S. Capitol, where these newest Members of Congress came to work—the center of legislative government, conceived by its creators as the “Temple of Liberty”—had been constructed by enslaved laborers.1 This book chronicles the participation of African Americans in the f
  18. For decades, Democrats have stood with the African American community in the struggle for equality and the enduring struggle to perfect our nation itself. Common values and concerns such as family, jobs, and education unite Democrats everywhere. Democrats across the country continue to work tirelessly to fight back against bigotry and discrimination, and to advance the issues that matter most to African Americans, from civil rights to economic opportunity. The economic crisis had an especially brutal impact on communities of color that were already struggling long before
  19. At first blush, black voters appear to be an almost monolithically Democratic bloc. In 2016, black Americans cast 24 percent of Democratic primary votes — the largest share ever. And in the general election, 89 percent of black voters supported Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. That’s one of the reasons why South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 29 is seen as a bellwether for the Democratic field — if a candidate can’t win a state where a majority of Democratic primary voters are black, what does that mean for his or her candidacy going forward? But black voters aren’t the monolith exit polls
  20. Why? “It’s not like everybody has the same amount of choice” Lawrence put his reasoning for why black men might be more supportive of Trump succinctly: “Because they’re men. On this aspect alone, race has nothing to do with it.” And it’s true: There’s a big gender gap in support for Trump that’s observable across racial categories, with women of all races 19 points less favorable towards the president than men. But again, 52 percent of white women voted for Trump in 2016, as did 25 percent of Latino women, compared to 4 percent of black women. Jane Junn, a professor of political
  21. “Trump is a genuinely ‘aspirational’ figure for some African American men” This gender divide, as unstudied as it may be, is still obvious. And the Trump reelection campaign seems to be leaning into it. They are focused on appealing to black voters in 2020, hoping to surpass the 8 percent marker set by Trump in 2016. The campaign is planning to open field offices aimed at attracting black voters in 15 cities, including five in Florida. Even Trump’s State of the Union address was interpreted by some conservative outlets as a bid for black votes. Trump campaign senior adviser Katri
  22. As a general rule, black Americans do not support Donald Trump. According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Trump enjoys just a 14 percent approval with black Americans, while roughly eight in 10 black voters say they’re “uncomfortable” with his 2020 run for reelection. In a poll of roughly 800 black registered voters conducted by BlackPAC, Trump had a -59 percent net job approval rating. But within those numbers is another story — a stark gender divide. Roughly 24 percent of black men polled by WSJ/NBC approve of Trump’s efforts while in office (72 percent of black men disap
  23. After 250 years of social segregation and discrimination, current health data confirm that African Americans are the least healthy ethnic group in the USA. Although the resources and policies to eliminate disparities exist in the USA, there has been inadequate long-term commitment to successful strategies and to the funding necessary to achieve health equity. African Americans have not been in the fiscal nor political positions to assure the successful implementation of long-term efforts; the health of African Americans has not been a priority for decision makers. Usually, the black commu
  24. This section presents the key messages the authors would like to convey regarding social determinants of health and health disparities, health needs, and healthcare policy and services, to improve the health of African Americans in the USA Given all that has been detailed, it is obvious that there is much to be done if we are ever to achieve health equity or eliminate health disparities in the USA and assure good health to the African American population. A goal of Healthy People 2010 was the “elimination” of health disparities. It was not achieved for African American people. The current
  25. Health workforce An educated and informed black population will use health care services more effectively. Forty percent of African Americans have limited reading skills. Health literacy is one’s ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services. This skill is necessary to make appropriate health decisions. Good health literacy requires the reading, analysis, and decision-making skills to make appropriate health decisions. Lack of health literacy skills is considered a cause of health disparities, and disparities by both race and educational status when healt
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