Public opinion research relevant to black male achievement is an area rich with investigation, and dozens of books could easily be written summarizing each of the topics identified in this review. Indeed, hundreds of studies informed this analysis. Rather than cite every study or every statistic on a particular measure, the report highlights key themes and ideas for communicators to keep in mind, illustrated by targeted statistics.
Topos reviewed original data from more than 100 public opinion surveys, as well as survey analyses published in academic journals. In addition, qualitative research studies were also examined for the very specific purpose of understanding prescriptive communications recommendations. The studies included in this review were conducted by reputable, nationally known research organizations and media outlets, and meet best practices for quality including appropriate sample size and methodologically sound design. All of the data examined are publicly available.
The analysis relies most heavily on research conducted in the past five years, though some long-term trends are included, for three reasons: 1) many historical reviews of changing perceptions of race are readily available; 2) historical trends are very useful, but limited in providing actionable insights for developing strategy in the current environment; and 3) the election of the nation’s first African- American president brought significant attention to issues of race, making it prudent to emphasize recent survey findings as much as possible.
To be actionable for advocates and other lay readers, this paper is necessarily brief and strategic, and undoubtedly raises new questions for researchers. The interpretations expressed are the authors’ alone.