Research Shows Wider Support For Black Nationalism

Sociologists at Rice University have revealed a more comprehensive support for Black nationalism across the Black community. The research detailed in a new study shows sentiments toward the belief system have eased throughout the years.

Black nationalism is a sociopolitical ideology that promotes Black unity and upliftment to achieve racial equality. Supporters also believe that integration with white people will not offer betterment, preferring a separate society where Black people can create their own institutions.

The study, titled “Wakanda Forever! Consistency in Correlates of Black Nationalist Tendencies,” used data from Black participants in the 2012 Life on Outlook surveys to determine its new findings. The study’s namesake references Marvel’s 2018 film Black Panther, set in the fictional nation of Wakanda, an embodiment of Black excellence that many nationalists view as a model society.

According to Tony Brown, the study’s lead researcher, the factors previously attributed to support Black nationalism, such as income, education, age, and gender, are less significant than initially thought.

“Past studies typically found that young Black people wanted to be separate from whites, Black men wanted their own sovereign nation and people with high levels of income and education did not support Black nationalism as they had success in the current system,” explained Brown. “Our findings show that age wasn’t a predictor; men and women were the same, and there were no effects on income or education.”

He added, “The profile of who is a Black nationalist or a supporter is less clear than in past years. It’s more generally and widely accepted in various circles.”

Instead, Brown asserts that antipathy toward white people, as well as a sense of Black solidarity, promotes alignment with Black nationalism. Moreover, political movements toward anti-Black legislation and policy, such as mass incarceration and, more recently, anti-DEI efforts, contribute to this shift in its favor.

“All these things show how white supremacy endures, and it’s at a moment when I think many Black people thought real racial progress had been made,” Brown said. “They’re now realizing that some things haven’t changed as much as we thought they had changed.”

Brown’s aims for the study are to enlighten readers to prioritize Black people’s needs and voices when reconfiguring society to a more equitable world,

“Far too often those championing racial equality, or supposedly doing research that matters, ignore the views of Blacks themselves, assuming they can address white supremacy and its legacies without including the Black community in the problem-solving process.”

The entire study is now available to read online, with future publishing in the Social Science Quarterly.

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