Believers Beyond Baggage: The New African American


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A new cultural positioning of African Americans by Footsteps that sees the evolution of black identity into the 21st century

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Believers Beyond Baggage: The New African American

  1. 1. Believers: Beyond Baggage The New African American 1
  2. 2. There is a New Understanding of Black Folks It is an evolution 100 years in the making Which has become a revolution in the past 5 years It is about how we think about ourselves Who we are What our priorities are What we can be 2 A number of events coming together have made this happen for the majority of black people And it is changing everything about us from now on Because we are so much more So let‟s see a snapshot of the journey that got us here So that you can be onboard where we are going
  3. 3. Double Consciousness has been AA Culture “…this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” “One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder…” W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks, 1918 3
  4. 4. Understanding AA Culture: A Look Behind Closed Doors The Way We Are: Double Consciousness • W.E.B. DuBois: African Americans understand that we are seen as group members in America but amongst ourselves we are judged as individuals – Having this dual consciousness means that we put on one face to function in America at large but in our own communities we are free to be our truer selves • The challenge from this conflict means that we have to resolve our dual consciousness in a way in which we do not voluntarily adopt and carry the baggage of the negative perceptions of others into the way we think about ourselves and our resultant actions/behaviors 4
  5. 5. Holding Baggage Letting Go Baggage Double Consciousness Resolution 5 ―It is to suggest that we blacks bring historical baggage to any such confrontation(the arrest of Henry Louis Gates in front of his house for breaking and entering); as a defense mechanism— based on centuries of ill-treatment at the hands of the instruments which have been used to suppress us (the police)—we’re always braced for the worse in any such encounter and therefore may be sensitive to a fault. But, again, we blacks didn’t create this charged, hostile racial environment—we can only react to it‖ baggage.html#sthash.wbOjMyHm.dpuf ―There was a moment, when I used to blame everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed white people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn't get no answers 'cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions...My conclusions:Hate is baggage. Life is too short to be pissed off all the time‖
  6. 6. 6 <10%>75% 1920 The New Negro Harlem Renaissance 1953 Brown vsBd Of Ed Freedom Fighters 1964 Civil Rights Act Negro To Black
  7. 7. And since then, what have we discovered about the African American consumer... 7
  8. 8. Happiness: 1970‟s until 2006 ―The difference in subjective well-being for black women and men in 1972 is very different from that seen for whites. Black women in 1972 were less happy than black men, while white women were happier than white men...” ―Trends in happiness among blacks show that (in 2006) happiness has trended quite strongly upward for both female and male blacks, erasing about two-thirds of the large racial differences in subjective well-being evident in the early 1970s...‖ Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 2009, 1:2, 190–225
  9. 9. The Reaction to the Great Recession A Pew Research Center survey on Race notes that ―despite the bad economy, black assessments about the state of black progress in America have improved more dramatically during the past two years than at any time during the past quarter century‖ The report goes on to note that ―in the teeth of what may be the deepest recession since the Great Depression, nearly twice as many blacks now (37%) as in 2007 (20%) say that the „situation of black people in this country‟ is better than it was five years ago,” a result that is true of blacks regardless of age or income levels. The report also says that “blacks are even more upbeat about the future”with 53% saying that it will be better and only 10% saying that it will get worse 9
  10. 10. The Census Revelation: A New Vision of Ourselves A More Affluent African American Society A More Southern and Suburban African American Community 10
  11. 11. Black Buying Power Black buying power is $1.1 Trillion 11 Source: Selig Center for Economic Growth; Terry College for Business; The University of Georgia $316 $600 $947 $1,100 $1,307 $0 $500 $1,000 $1,500 1990 2000 2010 2012 2017 Black Buying Power (Billions) 90% 58% 10% 26% 68% 48% 8% 22% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 1990-2000 2000-2010 2010-2012 2012-2017 Black Buying Power (Percentage Growth Since 1990) Blacks Whites
  12. 12. The “Reverse” Migration Per the 2010 Census, the black population in the South is currently at 57%, which is the highest its been since 1960. Black population grew by 11% in large southern metropolitans but by 15% in adjacent smaller counties, suggesting a strong movement of blacks to the suburbs. 12 Source: Many U.S. Blacks Moving to South, Reversing Trend Published: NY Times March 24, 2011
  13. 13. Who we are Blacks that are relocating to the South are typically • Typically Age 21-40 • College Educated • Singles / young families • Professionals & Entrepreneurs Primary reasons for relocating • First time home buyers • Employment opportunities • Better quality of life / COL • Better education for children • Cultural (getting back to their roots) 13 Source: Many U.S. Blacks Moving to South, Reversing Trend Published: NY Times March 24, 2011
  14. 14. The Obama Effect: The Fallout from Breaking the Ultimate AA Glass Ceiling Less about a Post-racial Society: Changing the minds of everyone More about AAs Releasing Baggage: Getting Out of Our Own Way 14
  15. 15. The Obama Effect for Children ―Minority children who had spent time thinking about the significance of the Obama election reported feeling less threatened in the classroom than those who had not, both immediately after this and six months later... ―In addition, students ...who had thought about Obama’s electionshowed increases in their grades in Quarter 2 (post-election) as compared to their grades in Quarter 1 (pre-election), where no changes were found in the control condition...‖ 15 Angela Grippo, ―What will be Obama’s Psychological legacy?‖ Psychology Today, February 21, 2013, legacy
  16. 16. The Obama Effect for College Students ―Researchers have documented what they call an Obama effect, showing thata performance gap between African- Americans and whites on a 20-questiontest administered before Mr. Obama’s nomination all but disappearedwhen the exam was administered after his acceptance speech and again after the presidential election ―The inspiring role model that Mr. Obama projected helped blacks overcome anxieties about racial stereotypesthat had been shown, in earlier research, to lower the test-taking proficiency of African- Americans, the researchers conclude in a report summarizing their results‖ 16 Sam Dillon, “Study sees an Obama Effect as lifting black test takers”, NY Times, January 23, 2009
  17. 17. The Obama Effect for Adults ―And yet the new president has spurred an outpouring of optimism among African-Americans. A CBS/NY Times Poll released Monday found that the percentage of blacks who say that both races have equal opportunities has risen by twelve pointssince last July. And seventy percent of blacks now say the country is headed in the right direction, up from 21 percent in January "There's a new sense of optimism, and a breaking down of many of the stereotypes that have been so profound in this country against African-American males," said Hilary O. Shelton, vice president for Advocacy at the NAACP...‖ 17 Brian Montopoli, CBS News, June 18, 2009
  18. 18. There‟s a change in the air... In 2009 and in 2011, a Pew Research Center studied conflict between societal groups as measured by whites, blacks and Hispanics The Pew Study found in 2009 that conflicts about immigration (55%) and rich and poor people (47%) outranked racial conflicts between blacks and whites (39%) The Pew Study in 2011 found that conflicts between rich and poor had eclipsed the conflicts of immigration and race still remained 3rd In March 2012 the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press indicated "that African Americans had a positive overall assessment of the state of race relations. About three-quarters of African Americans (76%) said blacks and whites got along “very well” or “pretty well” 18
  19. 19. 19 <10%>75% 1920 The New Negro Harlem Renaissance 1953 Brown vsBd Of Ed Freedom Fighters 2008 Obama Effect The Census Believers: Beyond Baggage 1964 Civil Rights Act Negro To Black
  20. 20. BBB and Class While BBB is the mindset that we associate with a growing number of AAs, we believe that class structure still has a mitigating impact on their consumerism 20 Middle Class Blacks Living a middle class allows them economic options to address the needs of their lifestage in a unique manner but they are still beholden to their income’s limitations Upper Class Blacks With greater financial flexibility they have moved beyond being concerned about fulfilling their needs and can pursue a lifestyle oriented towards experiencing their wants INDEPENDENTS TRANCENDENTS
  21. 21. Believers Beyond Baggage: Broadening the definition of what it means to be an African American AA Adult Media Categories The diverse media preferences of adult African Americans across the income spectrum is a reflection of who they are and their interests, and the impact that finances make on their life concerns 21 Source: MRI and Personics AA Middle Class Independents • Children • Working Mom • Home Design/DIY • Entrepreneurs • Online Product Reviews AA Upper Class Transcendents • Money • Golf/Tennis • Architect • Science/Nature • Independent Films • Religion • History • Technology • Fashion • Music • Sports (NBA) • Travel • Food & Wine • Movies • News • Medicine • Health/Fitness • Cars Both Groups Share
  22. 22. From Dreamers to Believers 22 2008 Obama Effect The Census Believers: Beyond Baggage 1920 The New Negro Harlem Renaissance 1953 Brown vsBd Of Ed Freedom Fighters <10%>75% 1964 Civil Rights Act Negro To Black
  23. 23. BBB Marketing Implications: Explorers Who Are True to their Roots Broadening the Perspectives of what is Black 23
  24. 24. Marketing to BBBs 24 Unlike other ethnic groups who have made economic and social progress in America, the cultural parameters of African Americans remain intact. Mendelsohn’s study on Affluents notes that seventy-five percent (75%) of blacks respond affirmatively to the question "my cultural or ethnic heritage is a very important part of my life" which sharply contrasts to the 32% of white affluents What we find with BBBs is that they are broadening the parameters of the content of African American culture by exploring personal concerns and approaching new content with our unique process So what is new for BBBs is that everything is fair game What is AA culture about BBBs is how we approach everything: the way we do what we do
  25. 25. There is a New Understanding of Black Consumers The hurdles of our past are no longer barriers We now see a life without limits And as we explore being the master of our destinies we are open to exploring a new consumer world 25 It is not too strong a statement to say that we have freed ourselves to explore who we are and be ourselves at last...for the first time None of us think that the past is gone or doesn‟t still exist It is just that now WE don‟t believe in its power to limit us Because, as we have freed ourselves of the idea that the past is destiny, we are now able to be the captains of our souls Make sure that your brand is on the tour...