Despite being relatively rare, African-American Republicans are diverse in their political thinking and reasons for being part of the GOP.
Public opinion surveys generally find that about 7 to 10 percent of blacks identify themselves as Republicans. In addition, only 2 percent of Republicans identified themselves as black in a 2012 nationally representative survey done by the Pew Research Center.
Identity is often thought to drive political behavior. For example, an LGBT activist is likely to vote for liberal policies and a National Rifle Association member will probably stand for more conservative ideas.
But political demands also shape the way individuals think about their identities, says Corey D. Fields, an assistant professor of sociology at Stanford University and author of a new book, Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans (UC Press, 2016). He explains why it’s wrong to lump the thinking of all black members of the GOP into a single basket.