The findings from the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll released this week have been met we a reassuring jubilation.  Despite the economic crisis and record unemployment rates, African-Americans remai optimistic about their economic futures.

According to the survey’s findings, African-Americans were “more likely to be left broke, jobless and concerned that they lack the skills needed to shape their economic futures. But they also remained the most hopeful that the economy would soon right itself and allow them to prosper.”

The poll surveyed a random sample of nearly 2,000 adults and found that 62% of African-Americans believe their financial situation will improve in the next year compared to only 36% of Whites in this country.  African-Americans also were the least troubled with 56% saying the economy was not a source of stress in their lives.

The findings seemed a comforting reassurance, until the Washington Post summary piece with interviews from respondents began to give their reasons why.

The two African-Americans quoted in the piece both give easily dissectible reason for why they believe the economy is going to turn around.

“I see improvement. I was just reading on the news last night that unemployment here – instead of being 600,000 people applying, there was only 400,000. That speaks for itself.”

“Things are stuck in place right now…But the newer generation – the technology generation – is going to make things better.”

Both reasons could be countered with a simple “or.”  E.g. things are getting better as fewer people file for unemployment OR more and more people in need no longer qualify to receive it.

The article gives some great insights into ability of Blacks to withstand challenge and overcome hard times.  But it doesn’t offer balanced mix of voices needed to tell the story in its entirety.

While the two black women are quoted on trends and how they feel, white respondents quoted in the article give a more historical rational for why they lack the confidence in the economy’s ability to bounce back.  The difference is subtle but worth pointing out.  The lack of balance presents the summary in a way that connotes, “on the one hand are the hopeful black people and the other the experts.”

Despite the unbalance in the reporting, black optimism exists and is felt.  It is significant and worth recognizing.   In times like these, our storied past and resiliency can surely inspire us to believe.

Ladies- what is your personal economic outlook for the year ahead?  Do you think things will things get worse before they get better or are we turning the corner?

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