Black happiness is on the rise. Or so it seems. Is it because of Barack Obama? Or is something else at play in the land of societal equality and community equilibrium? Last week, The New York Times tried to quantify the new “Black Satiety” in the following graphic:
A new study has found that there is one big realm in which black Americans have made major progress: happiness.
White Americans don’t report being any more satisfied with their lives than they did in the 1970s, various surveys show. Black Americans do, and significantly so.
…The share of whites, for example, telling pollsters in recent years that they are “not too happy” — as opposed to “pretty happy” or “very happy” — has been about 10 percent. It was also 10 percent in the 1970s.
Yet the share of blacks saying they are not too happy has dropped noticeably, to about 20 percent in surveys over the last decade, from 24 percent in the 1970s.
Not to be left undone, last week, Newsweek also took a look at the new data on Black Happiness:
Of course, it’s not that simple. Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., believes it is about expectations: “Black women are where white women were in the 1960s—they can look back at just how bad their mothers and grandmothers had it. They are optimistic about how far they can go in comparison to the past. But the more gains you make, the higher your expectations are, and when progress stagnates, you feel frustration.”
What’s your take on this?
Are American Blacks “happier” than they were a generation ago? Or is the White majority just getting duller and sulkier and less confident in the public square?
Are we over-valuing the notion of “happiness” in the world today? Can we find happiness in our work, or only in our play?