The African-American community is comprised of 34 million people, and makes up approximately 12.8 percent of the American population (Barker, Jones, Tate 1999: 3). As such, it is the largest minority group in the United States. Yet, politically, the black community has never been able to sufficiently capitalize on that status in order to receive the full benefits of life in America. Today, African-Americans, hold less than 2 percent of the total number of elected positions in this country (Tate, 1994: 3) and the number of members within the community that actually partake in voting continues to drop. In spite of these statistics, as of 1984, a telephone survey found that 70 percent of Black Americans polled "strongly felt that the Black vote could make a difference in who gets elected at both the local and national levels, including… president" (Tate, 1994: 6). The black population still believes that voter participation can effect change in the government, and 75 percent believe that whatever happens to the group affects them personally, and so it is necessary to have a government that is sympathetic to the state of African-Americans in the United States.
As a result of this perceived common interest, one could say that the American black community constitutes an interest group of sorts, -- a group of people that share the same interests and are working toward common goals -- at least to a certain extent. At the very least, they have the potential to be an interest group, because although the majority of blacks feel that their future is tied to that of the entire race, there is a growing divide between blacks of different social classes, as well as a lack of or...
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Barker, Lucius J., Mack H. Jones, Katherine Tate. African Americans and the American Political System 4th ed. Simon & Schuster: United States of America. c1999.
Berry, Jeffery M. The Interest Group Society. Little Brown and Company Limited: Canada, United States of America. c1984.
Carmines, Edward G. and James A. Stinson. Issue Evolution. Princeton University Press: Princeton c1989.
Tate, Katherine. From Protest to Politics: The New Black Voters in American Electorate. First Harvard University Press: United States of America. c1994.
Walters, Ronald W. Black Presidential Politics in America: A Strategic Approach. State University of New York Press: United States of America. c1988.
Weiss, Nancy J. Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ. c1983.
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