Event Title

How Do Black Americans Talk about Personal Responsibility?

Presenter Information

Jaques Forbes, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 101

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2019 5:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2019 6:20 PM

Abstract

The purpose of my research is to analyze the relationship between dominant ideas of personal responsibility and Black Americans engaging in the politics of respectability. In particular, I analyze the relationship between the weaponized discourse of personal responsibility underlying welfare reform during in relation to some contemporary discourses espoused by Black Americans. This project is significant because it explains how target populations engage with weaponized policy discourses, whereas most analysis of theses discourses focus on evaluating either their accuracy and/or their socioeconomic effects. By doing so, I highlight Black American agency instead of treating them as passive actors. My research is centered on the following question: What social-psychological factors lead some Black Americans to reproduce dominant ideas of personal responsibility? I answered this question by interviewing senior Black Americans who were alive during the Clinton Administration in my hometown of San Angelo TX. San Angelo is a mid-sized conservative leaning city, with a relatively stable Black community. I found that most Black Americans largely reworked and somewhat accepted most o the dominant ideas surrounding personal responsibility. Further, my results were relatively stable across different demographic factors, including socioeconomic status and community standing. Therefore, these results are significant as they answer what leads some Black Americans to perpetuate a policy discourse that is weaponized against members of their group.

Keywords:

American Politics, Black Politics, Political Theory, Political Psychology

Notes

Session VII, Panel 20 - Political | Psychology

Moderator: Cecilia (CeCe) Longo, Oberlin College Research Fellow in History and Politics

Major

Politics; Law & Society

Advisor(s)

Marc Blecher, Politics and East Asian Studies

Project Mentor(s)

David Forrest, Politics

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Apr 27th, 5:00 PM Apr 27th, 6:20 PM

How Do Black Americans Talk about Personal Responsibility?

King Building 101

The purpose of my research is to analyze the relationship between dominant ideas of personal responsibility and Black Americans engaging in the politics of respectability. In particular, I analyze the relationship between the weaponized discourse of personal responsibility underlying welfare reform during in relation to some contemporary discourses espoused by Black Americans. This project is significant because it explains how target populations engage with weaponized policy discourses, whereas most analysis of theses discourses focus on evaluating either their accuracy and/or their socioeconomic effects. By doing so, I highlight Black American agency instead of treating them as passive actors. My research is centered on the following question: What social-psychological factors lead some Black Americans to reproduce dominant ideas of personal responsibility? I answered this question by interviewing senior Black Americans who were alive during the Clinton Administration in my hometown of San Angelo TX. San Angelo is a mid-sized conservative leaning city, with a relatively stable Black community. I found that most Black Americans largely reworked and somewhat accepted most o the dominant ideas surrounding personal responsibility. Further, my results were relatively stable across different demographic factors, including socioeconomic status and community standing. Therefore, these results are significant as they answer what leads some Black Americans to perpetuate a policy discourse that is weaponized against members of their group.