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.)
PS: I kind of resent the question in this poll, for two reasons:
- 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: