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Focus Group Report: Black Americans on Vice President Harris and Teaching Black History

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.
Key takeaways
  • Many struggle to evaluate Harris, with many giving her a grade of “incomplete.”
  • Yet they want her to succeed.
  • Participants criticized what they perceived as an overly superficial approach to teaching Black history and express a desire to have schools teach “real history,” even if it makes some people uncomfortable.


Vice President Harris Rated Favorably By Democrats And Black Americans

President Biden’s approval rating among all Black Americans declined 10 points over the course of 2021 (from 86% to 76%); among those under the age of 35, approval has declined 25 points since this time last year (from 88% to 63%).

Harris’ Record Is Largely Unknown, Even When Discussion Reveals Awareness Of Issues In Her Portfolio

Harris Being The First Black Female Vice President Is Important; Participants Want To See More From Her

Participants Expand On The Symbolic Importance Of Kamala Harris

Most Lament How Black History Is Taught In Schools, And Believe It Should Be Part Of The Curriculum Year-Round

Participants Want To Normalize Teaching Black History As U.S. History In Classrooms

Many Say Black History Education Should Go Beyond The Struggle For Equality

Others Suggest “Real” History Makes White People Uncomfortable

Participants Explain Black Youth Miss Out When Curricula Are “Watered Down”

About The Study

This release features findings from three focus groups conducted on January 25, 2022 with Black voters in three states: in Michigan with less politically engaged men (most of whom were in our February 2021 group), in Georgia with younger Democratic men, and in Texas with younger Democratic women. Qualitative results are not statistically projectable.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org