Most think black history should be integrated into the curriculum all year long

February 09, 2018, 3:00 PM GMT+0

But 22% of black Americans think there will never be another black President

February is Black History Month, but Americans, white and black, aren’t sure that a month of focus on African-American history is really the right approach. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, more than two-thirds of the public – black and white – say it would be better to integrate African-American history into the curriculum all year long.

One in five Americans seem to reject teaching Black history at all, saying that only European and U.S. history should be taught. Three in ten Republicans think that.

While whites are generally satisfied with the amount of black history taught in American schools, African-Americans are not – 85% of blacks say there is not enough black history being taught these days. One in five – nearly all of them white – think there is too much black history taught in schools. But there is a large age difference. More than half of whites under the age of 30 think there is not enough black history in schools; those 45 and older are just as likely to think there is too much as too little black history in the schools.

In the 2010 census, nine million people described themselves as being of more than one race. And Americans overall in the Economist/YouGov Poll clearly accept that categorization. Most say anyone with one black and one white parent, or someone with one black and three white grandparents should declare both races. African-Americans are a little more likely than whites to say those individuals should say they are only black.

But as for Barack Obama, who did have one white parent and one black parent, the answer is different. Majorities of both whites and blacks say he is black. Less than a third think he should be described as someone of both races.

Will there be another black president soon? On this, African-Americans are both more optimistic and more pessimistic than whites. One in four African-Americans say there will be another black president within the next five years (and there are, in fact, several prominent African-Americans, such as Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, who are being mentioned as possible 2020 contenders). On the other hand, nearly as many blacks in the poll say there is never going to be another black President.

But the median response for both races (half above, half below) is that it will take between 10 and 20 years before another African-American moves into the White House.

This year, for only the fifth time, an African-American, Jordan Peele, was nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. A third of blacks in this survey say they have already seen Get Out, the film for which Peele was nominated. (Just 13% of whites in the poll say they have.) One in four blacks say Get Out should win Best Picture, and nearly a third say Peele should be Best Director. (This year’s awards take place March 4.)

So far, no African-American has won that Best Director Oscar. But both whites and blacks agree that a black director will win that Oscar before there is a black woman President, or a black Pope (though the Catholic population in Africa is growing, and it is projected to have the largest share of Catholics in the world within a few decades), or a black astronaut on the moon, or that a black person will become the richest person on earth.