"Have Black Americans undergone some accelerated ideological mutation?"
Barack Obama has proven to be a warmongering thug for global capital, many times over. The question is: Have African Americans, his most loyal supporters, joined the bi-partisan War Party, rejecting the historical Black consensus on social justice and peace (or, at least, the "peace" part)?
Ever since national pollsters began tracking African American public opinion, surveys have shown Blacks to be consistently clustered at the left side of the national political spectrum. More than any other ethnicity, African Americans have opposed U.S. military adventures abroad, by wide margins. Indeed, the sheer size of the "blood lust" gap between the races indicates that the Black international worldview differs quite radically from white Americans and, to a lesser but marked degree, from Hispanics.
That is, until the advent of Obama.
A Washington Post/ABC poll conducted between August 28 and September 1 showed 40 percent of African Americans supported President Obama's threats of airstrikes against Syria -- two points more than whites and nine percent more than Hispanics. Majorities of all three groups opposed bombing Syria -- 56 percent of Blacks, 58 percent of whites and 63 percent of Hispanics -- but African Americans were, for the first time in polling history, the most bellicose major ethnicity in the United States.
A Pew Research poll from the same period showed Blacks somewhat less supportive of airstrikes, with only 22 percent of African Americans and 29 percent of whites in favor. Fifty-three percent of Blacks and 47 percent of whites were opposed (Hispanic data were not made available.) However, about one-quarter of both Blacks and whites were allowed to choose "undecided" in the Pew survey, without which option the results would likely have been more in line with the Washington Post/ABC poll, with large numbers of Blacks aligning themselves with Obama.
There is no doubt that this apparent decline in Black aversion to U.S. foreign aggressions has everything to do with the color (and party) of the commander-in-chief. For all the right historical reasons, African Americans have always been highly skeptical of U.S. motives abroad. With Obama nominally in charge, such righteous Black skepticism of "American" (meaning, white) motives is less operative.
"This apparent decline in Black aversion to U.S. foreign aggressions has everything to do with the color (and party) of the commander-in-chief."
Only ten years ago, a Zogby poll revealed the vast chasm that existed between Blacks and the two other major ethnic groups on issues of war and peace. The Black Commentator for February 13, 2003, reported:
"An Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Zogby America poll released this past weekend shows that less than a quarter of Blacks (23 percent) support Bush's war against Iraq, versus 62 percent of the white public. 64 percent of Blacks surveyed "somewhat or strongly oppose" the planned attack, while 13 percent "aren't sure' what to think.
"The bloodthirstiness of white American males is astounding: 68 percent of men surveyed are gung ho, indicating that the white male pro-war cohort soars somewhere in the high seventies. Less than half of all women favor war.
"Hispanics polled nearly as warlike as whites. When asked the general question on war, 60 percent support it.
"The lack of empathy with Iraqis as human beings marks white American males as a collective danger to the species. Zogby pollsters asked: Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it meant thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties? A solid majority of white men answered in the affirmative, as did more than a third of white women. Only seven percent of African Americans favored a war that would kill thousands.
"Hispanics lost some of their bloodlust when confronted with the prospect of mass Iraqi civilian casualties; only 16 percent are willing to support such an outcome."
The fact that only a marginal proportion of Blacks (7 percent) favored an invasion in which thousands of Iraqi civilians would die -- less than half the proportion of Hispanics and a small fraction of white belligerents of both sexes -- speaks to African Americans' relatively deep empathy for other peoples as well as their disdain for U.S. militarism. It is central to the African American political-cultural legacy.