March 27, 2020
Having a (kind of) black male win the presidential elections was good for the mood of black males.
It may feel like an eternity ago at this point, but Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election victory over John McCain was a historic moment for all of America, and especially for African-Americans. Now, 12 years later, researchers from Rice University have found that the ascent of the first black man to the nation’s highest office greatly improved the mental health of African-American men all over the country.
Typically, sociologists tend to focus on how tragedies and negative events influence people’s lives and health, but the team at Rice University wanted to focus on a positive moment for a change of pace.
“This is one major reason we pursued this study — we wanted to know if there were any health implications from this momentous occasion in U.S. history,” comments lead researcher Tony Brown, a professor of sociology at Rice, in a release.
Using a nationally representative survey of 400,000 U.S. adults, the study’s authors examined the mental health of African-Americans 30 days before the 2008 election and 30 days after the results were announced. In short, the election resulted in a statistically significant uptick in positive mental feelings among black men.
Here’s one of the survey questions: “Now thinking about your mental health, which includes stress, depression and problems with emotions, for how many days during the past 30 days was your mental health not good?”
Before the election took place, the average black male respondent reported four days of poor mental health per month. After the election, the average number dropped to three days.
The really interesting thing to look into here isn’t really how black males in America feel when they have someone they view as their own lead America — pretty much everyone already assumed that they’d feel better because of it.
What would be really interesting would be to look into how white men feel when they have someone they view as an outsider lead the country that their ancestors built.
White men built America, and now hostile foreigners with diverse skin colors are in all of these positions of authority lecturing whites about how evil they are for building great countries in which people of color want to live.
What is the psychological effect of that?