Expert on Young Black Voters Available to Discuss Midterm Elections

​Media Advisory

WHO:  Cathy J. Cohen, an award winning political science professor at the University of Chicago, is available for broadcast and print interviews on the impact that young Black voters may (or may not) have on the midterm elections. Cathy’s just released new book, DEMOCRACY REMIX, offers a comprehensive analysis of Black youth in America, and how this demographic will impact American politics. She is available to answer questions, such as:

  • Will Black youths have an impact on the 2010 mid-term elections? 
  • Will President Obama’s 11th hour strategy to actively engage the black community be enough to get Black youths to the voting booth? 
  •  What does the apathy towards the midterm elections say about President Obama’s prospects for re-election?

Cathy was the principal investigator for the Black Youth Project which was a national research project that examined the attitudes, resources, and culture of African American youth ages 15 to 25, exploring how these factors and others influence their decision-making, norms, and behavior in critical domains such as sex, health, and politics.  In her book, Cathy utilizes the results from the Black Youth Project to document what young Black Americans actually experience and think, underscoring the political repercussions. She uses their stories to show that young Black people largely want what most Americans want - a good job, a fulfilling life, safety, respect, and equality. But while members of this generation have much in common with the rest of America, they also believe that equality does not yet exist, at least not in their lives. Many believe that they are treated as second-class citizens. Also, for a significant number the future seems bleak when they look at their neighborhoods, their schools, and even their own lives and choices. For instance, the Black youth project study found that 50% of young Black Americans agreed with the statement that “the government treats most immigrants better than it treats most black people in this country.”  

 WHAT: Ms. Cohen has pointed views on these important issues.  Here are some of her thoughts:

...“There is a myth that there is some homogenous, progressive youth movement in America and that if we just wait 10 years cultural issues like same sex marriage, abortion and stem cell research will just fade away.  WRONG.  One of the huge divides between young Black people and young Whites is that young Blacks believe that same sex marriage, homosexuality and abortions are morally wrong."

...“There’s tension today among Black political leaders.  There is the first generation of Black politicians from Black districts, who define themselves as representing the interests of Black people. But now there is the new wave of Black politicians.   President Obama, Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Cory Booker are examples of these third wave Black elected officials.  These politicians understand and cater to a broader constituency base than Black communities. Their political agenda is different, as is their constituency and fund raising base. They also tend to avoid direct discussions of race issues.”

 ...“What do young Blacks want? They want safer neighborhoods not only for themselves but for their children.  We forget that young Blacks under 25 often have kids and they worry about their children. They want neighborhood schools that educate.  They want opportunities for jobs that allow them to provide for their families. They talk about the basic things that have come to define the American Dream; I don’t think we pay enough attention to what young Blacks have to say.”

...“Black youth are not mindless consumers of rap music.  Critics of Black youth are quick to focus on gansta rap—see the recent criticism of President Obama for listening to NAS and Lil Wayne. But Black youth are critical consumers of rap music, believing that rap music should be less violent, have fewer references to sex and that the worst videos and songs degrade both Black women and men.”

 CONTACT:  Cathy is available for all broadcast and print interviews. To schedule an interview, please contact Michael K. Frisby, 202.625.4328, mike@frisbyassociates.com  or Nicole Germain at 443-540-3121, ngermain@mjgcommunications.com.  For a video preview of Ms. Cohen, please go to http://mindonline.uchicago.edu/media/news/cohen_2010_09_23.mov   

 

Michael K. Frisby, 202.625.4328, mike@frisbyassociates.com  or Nicole Germain at 443-540-3121, ngermain@mjgcommunications.com

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