Tags: blacks | less | empowered | under | obama

Study: Blacks Feel Less Empowered Under Obama

Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 08:16 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Many African Americans do not feel as free as whites in the area of political participation – and that sense of perceived empowerment has declined greatly since Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

These are the findings from a new study by Washington University in St. Louis, according to U.S. News and World Report.

For instance, only 45 percent of African Americans said they felt they would be allowed by the government to make a public speech, whereas 67 percent of whites believed they could, the study found.

Urgent Poll: Obama or Romney? Who Won the Second Debate?

While Obama’s election initially raised feelings of political empowerment among blacks, those sentiments significantly faded in the years that followed—especially among conservative and religious blacks, the study found.

The groups comprise most of the African-American population, according to the study. Fifty-six percent identified themselves as "born again," while 39 percent as "somewhat conservative."
The study was based on national surveys conducted between 2005 and 2011.

"First, we saw the 'empowerment effect,' the boost that happens when a member of your group gets elected to an important political position," study author James L. Gibson, a professor of government and African-American studies at Washington University, told U.S. News.

In 2009, the year after Obama was elected, for instance, 71 percent of blacks reported feeling as free to speak out as they used to.

"But then, perceptions of political freedom deteriorated among conservative and religious blacks," Gibson told U.S. News.

By 2011, the percentage of blacks who felt such freedom had plunged to 56 percent, which was back to pre-election levels.

White Americans also reported feeling less free to speak out under Obama, but the decline was far less than among blacks, the study found.

Urgent Poll: Obama or Romney? Who Won the Second Debate?

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