Angela Lewis, an associate professor of government at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, examines the political orientation of African Americans in a new book, Conservatism in the Black Community: To the Right and Misunderstood (Routledge). Professor Lewis states, “There is this overarching belief that African Americans are extremely liberal and support liberal ideas like unlimited welfare assistance and an open lifestyle. This characterization of black people is incorrect.”
Professor Lewis’ research found that despite the nearly monolithic support of Black voters for the Democratic Party in national elections, one third of the African American population identify themselves as conservatives. In conducting research for her book, Professor Lewis conducted focus groups in a number of American cities. She found that when African Americans talk about conservatism, they rarely mention politics but instead speak of moral, religious, and family values.
“When you think of black conservative pundits who are always on TV and conservative everyday black people, they are not the same,” Dr. Lewis said. “The media needs to have more than these pundits representing conservatism because they are not representative of black conservative thought.”
Dr. Lewis is a graduate of the University of Alabama and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee.