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Ten questions about race

 
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 04:40 am
aidan wrote:
snood wrote:
Quote:
I don't think there was any right or wrong answer to any of these questions- it was simply asked what you think- what is your opinion. How can that be right or wrong, unless you yourself insert bias or pressure on yourself to say what you think other people want you to say?


It displays an alarming amount of naivete to ask how simply asking a question can be biased in itself.


Yeah, well, there is that...I won't say I'm not naive- in that I believe I have the right to give my opinion and I extend that same right to others - even if their opinion is different from mine.

If someone is uncomfortable giving their opinion, based solely on what it happens to be, I believe it's because there's some other environmental or social or cultural factor at play.
I usually ask questions because I want to know the answer- and if it's an opinion- because I'm interested in that person's honest opinion.
I don't ask questions I think I already know the answer to- and I don't ask people for opinions unless I'm interested in that person's opinion- not what I think or hope it should be- I already know that.


Whatever it is you just said, my point remains that bias in the wording of tests is fairly commonly accepted as something that goes on...
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aidan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 05:05 am
Yes, and my point is that there is also bias inherent in the reading of questions by each individual reader. And if the reader feels that he or she is in an environment in which their opinion may or may not be unbiasedly received - that may impact their answer and indeed their feelings about the question.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 05:14 am
I read each question with qualifiers, then answered in a way that sort of reflects some of my thoughts. The subject matter is much too complex to be covered in this kindergarten context, though, and I expect I would get in arguments with both left and right to go further. I generally just dip in and out of this type of thread, because I don't have enough time to invest backing up my opinions against all comers. Few opinions are altered in the end anyway.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 06:57 am
Thomas wrote:
PS: I kind of resent the question in this poll, for two reasons:
  • It reduces racial problems in America to problems between whites and blacks. This doesn't even capture half of the phenomenon. When I moved to the US, one of my first and profoundest "Aha!" experiences was to discover the pronounced New Jersey subcultures of Mexicans, Indians, and Chinese, all of which are victims of prejudice by the same kinds of people who are also prejudiced against Blacks. Like so many contributions to the debate about racism, this one totally ignores all aspects of racism other than white vs. black.


This cannot be emphasized too much. In addition, there is the huge problem of Amerindians and how they live (which often ain't too well) whether they are on reservations, or in urban "Indian" ghettos.

Quote:
I'm not impressed.


Neither was i.
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rabel22
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 11:16 am
5 A's and I wont know who I'll vote for until I am in the voting booth.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 01:10 pm
aidan wrote:
I don't think there was any right or wrong answer to any of these questions- it was simply asked what you think- what is your opinion. [..] And Nimh said that he welcomed people to explain their answers which gave room to extend the boundaries and constraints the wording of the questions might impose.

Right. I'm not out to judge, I'm out to understand, and to some extent to map. I think the results of the original poll provided a useful kernel or element (in a much larger whole) for understanding people's political impulses and choices.

(Not that all the primary season's choices can be reduced to race; I said "kernel" and "element").

I was curious what the answers would be when the question were transferred here. Thank you all for participating, and I hope more people still will of course.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 01:54 pm
Chai wrote:
I'm still trying to figure out why voting A on some of those questions was supposed to be a bad thing.

It wasnt. The poll was just meant to find out to what extent people felt any extent of negative feelings that have to do with race. In order to map out to what extent the prevalence of those feelings corresponded with political choices.

You can have good reasons or bad reasons for opinions that express a certain resentment about this or that current policy or norm on race. Obviously some of the questions refer to socially taboo opinions, while others refer to commonplace and mainstream opinions. There is no implication that anyone who answers A on any given question must be a racist.

There is no judgement at the end of the poll; just a better understanding of the extent to which issues concerned with race are prevalent in the population, and may have determined election results.

(One criticism is that this poll focuses specifically on possible negative feelings of white people. But the reason for that is purely pragmatic. Newsweek is a news medium and thus interested primarily in the issues that are making the news. And making the news in mid-May were questions about to what extent negative feelings to do with current race relations, or race politics or policies, were impacting the vote of white voters. So thats what they did a poll on.)

Thomas wrote:
PS: I kind of resent the question in this poll, for two reasons:
  • <snip>
  • The poll also annoys me by failing to differentiate between people who oppose quotas and preferences for Blacks and those who actively resent Blacks. There's an important difference between answering "A" to question 1 and answering "A" to question 10. The poll pays no attention to this difference.

That doesnt make sense to me. Of course the poll pays attention to that; the whole point of the poll is to count the number of opinions people have, and to distinguish between people with, say, three or four A)s and those who have ten.

The poll is intended to pinpoint the prevalance of exactly this differentiation of opinions. People who have, say, two or three or four A's are likely to be people who just oppose certain policies or norms that came with the era of affirmative action and the like; people who have seven As likely do feel some resentment about the treatment of whites vs that of blacks, even if they dont believe that one race is inferior to the other or such outright racist convictions; while people who have 10 A's are probably indeed racist. (Read on before you start replying please :wink: )

Since humans are complex and unpredictable beings, the combination of answers may be all over the map, so it's impossible to in advance define an A) to one question as racially charged and an A) to another as value-neutral. Some people who oppose affirmative action may do so from libertarian conviction, for example, while others who complain about it do complain out of some racial resentment. Or to go way to the other end of the scale, some people who dont want their daughter to date a black person may do so because they are against race mixing out of principle; others may just be acting out of some negative personal experience.

Whether the question is one that goes very far, or not very far at all, the pollster still can not identify which motivation is which just by that one A). But by integrating such questions in a broader poll that includes a range of questions of various intensity about race, you can deduce from the total count to what extent a disagreement with one or the other policy, value or principle is just that, or indicative of some broader feeling of racial resentment.

The poll itself could not possibly define which questions could signify racism and which could merely signify disagreement with this or that government policy in advance. That would be foolish because of the above, how people dont stick to such neat categorisations of response. But also of course because it would make the results useless, practically instructing people which questions are "OK" to answer A) to or not. You would certainly dismiss a poll that did so out of hand.

It's only in an overall end count that you can estimate general patterns. The extent to which people answered A) nil, three, six or nine times suggests distinctions between racism, racial resentment, mere disagreement with some prevalent values or policies, and complete comfort with the most liberal beliefs on the subject.

Hell, and even then the estimation cant be applied to any individual's answers: it's not some kind of ultimate truth test to smell out how racist you are. Who knows what individual circumstances may lead this or that racist to still answer B) ten times, or may lead someone who is not racist to still end up with eight A)s. The results are meant to be read collectively; eg, if Hillary or McCain voters heavily concentrate around a mark an X number of a)s up from those of another candidate, you can guess to what extent matters of race played a role in their overall choice.

The reproduction of the poll in a setting like this forum's of course precludes any such systematic evaluation of the results like that; consider it just an attempt to satisfy my curiosity. :wink:
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 01:59 pm
rabel22 wrote:
5 A's and I wont know who I'll vote for until I am in the voting booth.

Thanks for taking the poll, Rabel! The poll's imperfect, of course, but I find it interesting. Same goes for everyone answering it, of course!
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 02:06 pm
nimh wrote:
Since humans are complex and unpredictable beings, the combination of answers may be all over the map, so it's impossible to in advance define an A) to one question as racially charged and an A) to another as value-neutral.

I think this is where you're kidding yourself. There are four questions in the survey that clearly reveal you as a racist when you answer "A" (7-10). There are six questions that don't (1-6). Therefore it irks me that "5-10 As" are grouped into a monolithic category. Is that so hard to understand?[/quote]
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 02:13 pm
Thomas wrote:
There are four questions in the survey that clearly reveal you as a racist when you answer "A" (7-10). There are six questions that don't (1-6).[..] Is that so hard to understand?


I may be totally wrong, but werent you an engineer or a mathemtician or some such thing by profession? It's showing Smile

No, seriously -- I think thats far and far too rigid a take. You do interpret this poll as some kind of truth serum or smell test: if you answer any of the questions 7-10, then ergo, you're racist. Doesnt work like that in real life, alas. Or luckily, perhaps...
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 02:53 pm
It's a bullshit survey, and bears no relationship to real life.
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Francis
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 02:56 pm
Setanta wrote:
and bears no relationship to real life.


Yes, Bear has no relationship with "real life".. Twisted Evil
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 02:57 pm
I believe they're divided on religious issues . . .
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hanno
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 03:17 pm
rabel22 wrote:
5 A's and I wont know who I'll vote for until I am in the voting booth.


I'm all about that - behaving in a manner they can't predict->exploit - but if, and I'm not sure it's so, if you don't have strong/distinct feelings one way or the other, as has been the case with me on many occasions, could you see the benefit in just sitting it out? I mean, you either want to send a message or you don't, it could be any little way you can make your mark even if it's no big deal works for you, but if you vote for one of the populists, suddenly you're on their radar screen, they're going to think for what it's worth as part of the mob, that they've got your number and act in an accordingly more pernicious manner...

My vision, and this is even beyond Libertarianism since after they've been in for a while thereto, albeit in a more limited capacity, there will be thieves in the house, is for there to be a conscientious non-voting demographic. We know en masse, with 2-3 choices getting publicity that we're a model-able system. I mean, why take the lesser of two evils when you can make them both worry about what you're thinking? You don't got to testify against yourself in court why turn yourself in to play 'let's make a deal' with your own ass? Instead, let it be like, yeah, 'Pete got the majority vote, but there's 10 times enough unmobilized to topple him if he gets on their radar screen by screwing up' and on the same note, let them know that neither has the right idea for everybody, per se. It might be a downright elegant move if, like me, it makes you nauseous to square other Americans vibe no matter what it might be - not to mention if you like to strike fear and awe in other nations, like our helpers to the south and Europe, where people would gargle a nut-sack for a say in the USA, by way of our high-octane cynicism...

I don't want to toot my own horn, but could be the way to save Democracy as we have it.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 03:23 pm
nimh wrote:
I may be totally wrong, but werent you an engineer or a mathemtician or some such thing by profession? It's showing Smile

Let's just say I've been called worse. Smile
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ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 03:27 pm
I found the survey lame at best and was mentally slapping myself for even finishing it.

0.5 A out of 10 - to speak to that for a paragraph or two, I think it is nuts that a major world university system (UC) has so few of one minority in its student body. The reason for that is complex, but has in some part to do with the lack of across the land excellence in the public school system. Further, I always understood in cases of nods to a person of this minority, they were qualified, they just didn't beat out all other qualified applicants.
I also understand disgruntlement about that from people of other ethnicity. I can understand the change in "to be considered" some other words like 'disadvantaged', but am still resistant.

I prefer support for all from an early age, and enough universities to have space for all who qualify, and a lack of any need to boost any group, be they of one ethnicity, children of alumni, (sports phenoms? dunno, probably), or "generally disadvantaged". Even more astounding, I like my state universities free, like mine was when I went there for some small fee, the only way I could have gone as my father was unemployed most of those years.

(Slips off of soap box)


Nimh's explanation of the poll's usefulness on page 3 helped me past 'This is Lame!' a bit, to say, instead of entirely lame, I think it could have been more thoughtfully and inclusively constructed, with much more nuanced choices.
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Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 11:20 am
I don't think as many respondents would have taken the survey in some countries, such as some Latin American countries, since race and social class are very much intertwined. The fact that the U.S. allows anyone to become filthy rich does not mean there are no social classes in the U.S. And, some people, due to being socialized to put emphasis on one's social class, cannot think of some groups as true equals - polite, civil interaction, but not really an equal in the social sense, I believe.

But, as Americans, we are supposed to deny social class, and treat all people as equals. I don't think that is being honest about the dirty little secret of social class.

Perhaps, this adds to why some people can only feel comfortable as a registered Democrat, and others only as a registered Republican. On some gut level, I believe the two parties reflect one's attitude towards social class - it exists, or it should be denied as existing.

The question might then be, if social class does exist, can a good education, making a goodly quantity of money, act as a deodorant for one's social class? (Using the British model, that one is born into the social class of one's father - an upper class man is allowed to marry beneath his class, and the children of the marriage have the father's class standing.)

Anyway, since one's attitude relating to race could incorporate one's feelings about social class, the results of this survey can lead to false correlations, and therefore prove nothing that one may think the results prove.
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hanno
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2008 02:38 pm
Bohne wrote:
I had four A's also.

I used to have a black boyfriend.
Whenever anything went wrong, it was because of racism.
The fact that he could not hold on to a job was NEVER due to his unpunctuality and arrogance.
His brother (also black, obviously) held a management job, apparently without any discrimination problems.

I think there is still discrimination, no doubt, but I think in some cases that I know, racism is too easily used as an excuse for everything.

I think a black American President would be awesome, though!


I hear ya - I used to think any which way it happened it would be awesome when a non-white/male candidate finally made it. But then I'm thinking, look at Martin Luther King, he gets the recognition, and rightly so, but one must wonder, can we all dig it all of a sudden or is some of it differential, like as opposed to Malcolm X (a historical figure I'm all about), because he was easier to take... He wasn't wrong, but he died in 68, The Stones played 'Under My Thumb' at the Altamont, suddenly little whites and little blacks are listening to different music again.

Some people, I think, want racial discord to live on ad-perpetuum, and would take a half-step gladly to have something to bitch about instead of a resolution. Like I heard the other day on MSNBC someone thinks Barack would be a good one to gracefully do-away with affirmative-action. Not that I'm for AA, but is this to be like how sometimes we prefer gender-specific doctors to administer less-impersonal procedures? The risk would be to brush race under the carpet, keep jiggling things around to keep everyone un-dissatisfied rather than get past it and make it a part of our national fabric once and for all.
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snood
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2008 09:00 pm
And in keeping with that spirit of getting past race, your avatar is a known racist.
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Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2008 09:28 pm
snood wrote:
And in keeping with that spirit of getting past race, your avatar is a known racist.


So's yours.
0 Replies
 
 

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