Eight of 10 African Americans believe that the Black Lives Matter movement is effective but feel it could have even greater impact if it wasn't so splintered and instead led by a national spokesman like former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, according to a new survey.
The poll from Northwestern University's Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy also found that a majority of blacks want the group to focus itself on core issues.
Our 1st survey results: How African Americans view effectiveness of #BlackLivesMatter & impact of @Kaepernick7' https://t.co/3zjbFsWrjr pic.twitter.com/TT0lCusCXS— CSDD at Northwestern (@CSDDatNU) October 18, 2017
"There are two trends in the data that suggest that they also see room for improvement. First, a large majority believes that the movement should focus its efforts on two issue areas -- challenging police brutality and racial profiling (49 percent) and improving race relations (25 percent) -- over all other issues," said the survey analysis provided to Secrets.
A key finding was the call for a national leader, with Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers field commander, credited with starting the take a knee movement in sports, leading pack.
"Kaepernick's popularity is not surprising in light of the fact that President Trump's criticism of the ‘Take A Knee' protests that he started in the NFL has thrown him into the national spotlight in recent weeks," said Alvin Tillery, associate professor of political science and director of the CSDD at Northwestern.
And maybe having a national leader would expand the movement, which a majority said is not active in their areas, and involve more people.
"The most important finding in the survey is that African-Americans are not taking part in protests, organizing meetings and fundraising activities related to BLM in their local environments in anywhere near the rate that most had assumed," Tillery said. "These numbers provide an impetus and an opportunity for BLM activists and the nonprofits and politicians that support their work to take stock of what is happening and course correct."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org