The article goes on to explain:
These results should clarify for anyone still confused, why the notion of the black monolith and the singular "black leader" is ridiculous and has been since the close of the Civil Rights movement when blacks were more segregated and could more easily unite around a clearly defined set of legal goals. Today, there are perhaps more ways than ever to be black. While most black people continue to share some cultural similarities, our values, needs and beliefs are increasingly influenced by class, geography, education and other factors, not unlike the values, needs and beliefs of people of other races.Another revelatory finding in the Pew poll is that 37 percent of African Americans now agree that it is no longer appropriate to think of black people as a single race. A little more than half of the black people polled — 53 percent — agreed that it is right to view blacks as a single race. And the people most likely to say blacks are no longer a single race are young black people, ages 18-29.
Forty-four percent of those young black people say there is no one black race anymore, as compared to 35 percent of the 30- to 49-year-old black population, and 34 percent of the black people over age 65.
The split in the black race comes down to a matter of values, according to the poll. In response to the question, "Have the values of middle-class and poor blacks become more similar or more different?" 61 percent of black Americans said "more different." White Americans agreed, with 54 percent saying there is a growing values gap between the black middle class and the black poor; 45 percent of Hispanics agreed, too.
The Pew study results hit home for me. Three years ago, my husband and I moved from an urban metropolis to an exurb of a mid-sized Midwestern city. My town has a population of about 30,000. One percent of that population is black; the percentage of other races is even smaller. Today, despite racial and political differences, I have far more in common with my current neighbors than many of the black residents in our old regentrifying neighborhood. My neighbors and I drive our kids to high school football games on Friday nights; borrow snow blowers and tools; worry about property values; put pumpkins and dried cornstalks on our porches to signal autumn's arrival; fret about the impact of gas prices on our commutes; know kids and family dogs by name; shop at Meijer and Trader Joe's; nervously monitor our middle-class debt; and measure our quality of life against the lightening-fast growth of our city. Elitist? Maybe. But that is the reality of our lives. Do my neighbors understand the prejudice that I encounter as a black woman? Do they eat blackeyed peas on New Year's Day like me? Do they share the peculiar linguistic markers that I absorbed from my Southern black roots? Likely not. But my blackness is just one part of who I am anyway.
There are some who would like me to feel guilty for "abandoning" my roots. (Though these are my roots; I was raised in a middle class, suburban setting, albeit one with more diversity.) But isn't one of the benefits of the equality black folks fought for so hard for, the freedom for me to be Tami first, not black Tami. Is it wrong for me to share values and beliefs with folks of similar class, education, geography, etc.? Is race the only cultural marker that matters? Is this yet another example of the oft repeated complaint that black folks can't stick together like other minority and immigrant groups?
Let me hear from you.
Read more about the Pew study.