Poll Explores Racial Tensions Among Minority Groups

Blacks, Hispanics and Asian Americans are both optimistic and concerned over race relations

New America Media, News Report, Christine Senteno Posted: Dec 13, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The first-of-its-kind poll on race relations between blacks, Latinos and Asians, released yesterday in Washington, D.C., revealed that while ugly stereotypes still hold strong between groups, a majority of those in each group said they should put aside their differences to work toward building better communities.

All groups polled said overwhelmingly that racial tensions in the nation are a very important problem.

The poll shows that high levels of segregation still exist which underlie and support negative stereotypes. More than 75 percent of blacks and Latinos attend religious services with their own kind. More than 65 percent of blacks and Latinos went to school with those of the same ethnicity or race. More than 50 percent of all three groups say most of their friends are of the same race.

Latinos (44 percent) and Asians (47 percent) said they are generally “afraid of blacks because they are responsible for most of the crime.” Blacks (51 percent) and Asians (34 percent) said Latino immigrants are taking away jobs, housing and political power from the black community. Latinos (46 percent) and blacks (53 percent) said Asian business owners do not treat them with respect.

“The sponsors of the poll strongly believe the best way to move forward is by identifying the problems and initiating a dialogue that can bring ethnic groups together in their fight for equality and against discrimination,” explained New America Media Executive Director Sandy Close.

Pollster Sergio Bendixen, who conducted the nationwide survey of over 1100 blacks, Asians and Latinos in seven different languages, said the poll highlights the need for ethnic media to play a bigger role in facilitating this dialogue. “The study indicates that a majority of the African Americans and a significant percentage of Hispanics and Asian Americans consider the coverage of problems related to race in the ethnic media to be irresponsible,” Bendixen noted. “At the same time, overwhelming majorities of the three groups think that the ethnic media have a responsibility to do everything in their power to improve race relations.”

Mainstream media coverage of race relations was not much better, according to those interviewed. Sixty-six percent of blacks surveyed said the coverage of problems related to racial tensions by mainstream media was irresponsible, followed by Latinos at 43 percent and Asians at 30 percent.

Other findings showed that groups with a higher immigrant population expressed a far greater optimism about achieving the American dream. A majority of Latinos (74 percent) and Asians (64 percent) believes that if you work hard, you will succeed in the United States. In contrast, more than 60 percent of blacks said they do not believe the American dream works for them.

These findings show that the immigrant brings optimism to the mix while blacks bring a hard-won realism, Bendixen said.

Yet the poll also found important commonalities between the three groups: All of the poll respondents shared values of patriotism, spirituality, and spending time with family over making money.

And despite racial tensions, the poll revealed a strong sense of optimism among all three groups. Respondents overwhelmingly shared the belief that they should put aside their differences to work together on issues that affect their communities, that racial tensions will get better in the next 10 years and that the United States would be better off if their were more ethnic groups in positions of authority.

Author Richard Rodriguez pointed out that other ethnic groups see blacks as the pathfinders of civil rights issues; their battles have benefited all ethnic groups. Asian parents, meanwhile, are admired for their strong participation in their children’s education. “In a time when womanizing politicians are talking about family values,” Rodriguez said, “the immigrant brings real family values to the mix.”

“This leaves some possibility for groups to learn something from one another,” he added.

The younger generation, meanwhile, presents even more reason for this optimism. Young people increasingly identify themselves as “Blaxicans” and “Negropanese,” for example, said Rodriguez, reflecting a constantly evolving notion of race. Unlike in earlier generations, a majority of young people today (65 percent) have dated outside of their race.

Megan Malabunga, 16, is one example. A Pacific Islander from Los Angeles, Malabunga says she has Filipino friends and black friends, and her boyfriend is Latino. She says race or ethnicity aren’t factors in choosing her friends; she hangs out with most of her friends because they dress the same way as she does.

Chris Wailoo, a 44-year-old black professional and an immigrant who lives in Washington, D.C., says he thinks working together with other ethnic groups is a great thing but he does not believe it is going to be easy. Generally speaking, he said, blacks do not agree with Lou Dobbs’ immigration rhetoric, and yet he did not see many blacks at the immigration marches.

New America Media’s poll was co-sponsored by nine founding ethnic media partners: Asian Journal, Asian Week, Korea Times, Philippine News, La Opinion / Impremedia, Nguoi Viet News, Sing Tao Daily, Sun Reporter, and World Journal.

The sample was designed to be representative of the adult population of the three major racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Hispanic respondents were interviewed in English or Spanish, and Asian American respondents were interviewed in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese or Tagalog.

Related Articles:

Ethnic Media Take On Race Challenge

Richard Rodriguez: Race Poll Sign of Hope and Despair

Deep Divisions, Shared Destiny - A Poll of Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans on Race Relations

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User Comments

Luis Martinez on Dec 17, 2007 at 04:51:59 said:

This survey reports what everyone new anyway that all people regardless race (including law abiding black people) believe that black people in general disproportionately support and commits violet crimes. White fears of black crime is universal because it touches us all.

suzy kwan on Dec 16, 2007 at 14:15:25 said:

i came from what was once called burma. my family was the wealthiest ethnic chinese family in burma and my father owned 7 factories employing a thousand burmese. our family had to escape to america when the burmese government and people began to commit genocide against ethnic chinese because the peasants from china protested against the burmese government and as a result all chinese were expunged from burma - peasants were murdered in the streets including pregnant women, as most of the wealthy ethnic chinese took their gold and boarded boats to singapore or hong kong to escape with their lives.

to this day i feel lucky to be in america - our sponsors were american missionaries who were acquainted with american neighbors who were living in our gated community of mansions. i still trust and admire whites the most - appreciate african-american talent and outspokeness, but I still blame the poor for making my family lose its fortune. to this day i dislike peasant chinese who are being smuggled into the u.s. and poor mexicans who sneak across our borders because they are uneducated and a burden to society.

racial stereotypes are often reflective of the history of any particular race, ethnic group or socio-economic class because they have had common experiences. Just because there are racial or ethnic stereotypes dosen't automatically make them false.

John Elberling on Dec 16, 2007 at 12:20:23 said:

unfortunately, the way i learned of this important and brave survey was reading the Huffington Post\'s incredibly ugly second hand summary of the NY Times article about it - \"New Study Says Hispanics And Whites Are Acting White\". it\'s on the HP joke page, 23/6, and we are supposed to get this is a humorous parody. but it\'s just plain ugly.


NAM need to formally hold Huffington Post accountable for this shameful rip off and trivialization of its important work.

paul meyers on Dec 16, 2007 at 12:01:33 said:

my idea about living a full life is to be inclusive - to live life to it's fullest. why limit life to one race, one music, one type of food, one idea of anything? that's the main set back i've found among the vast majority of people i've met - they want the safety of being islands in the vast ocean of humanity and all "left behind" will suffer and wish they could die.

john antony on Dec 16, 2007 at 11:59:36 said:

Human disparities are a fact of life that has driven nations to war, genocide, and great inhumanities. Racial stereotyping has become a social buffer to keep the races apart- thus minimizing theie contact that also results in lessening their contact and conflict. We know that familiarity breeds contempt and were there to ne greater interracial contact, there would come increased levels of cnflict - just waiting for a spark to light riots.

Alfred W. Blumrosen on Dec 13, 2007 at 14:45:27 said:

From 1988 to 2001, my late wife Ruth and I analyzed the annual reports of employers filed with the EEOC to identify serious intentional job discriminators. One of the surprising findings was that
“More than seventy five percent of the two million affected minority and female workers were employed by forty “equal opportunity” discriminating industries, who affected everyone: White Women, Blacks, Hispanics and Asian Pacific Americans. There is a thread of discrimination that runs through these industries that simultaneously discriminate against all minority groups and women, and most likely, reflects unsound policies that affect white workers as well. The bottom line is that these forty industries, of the 200 examined, account for 75% of affected workers who are women, 79% of Black affected workers, 73 % of Hispanic affected workers and 84% of Asian Pacific affected workers.” [Extract from report to the US Civil Rights Commission, Dec. 13, 2003]
The Bush Administration cut off our access to the EEO1 data, so we do not know what happened during the most recent years. Our report, THE REALITIES OF INTENTIONAL JOB DISCRIMINATION IN METROPOLITAN AMERICA-1999, is available at EEO1.com. Our data makes clear that most of the statistically vivid intentional job discrimination is engaged in by establishments that discriminate against all the groups your organization supports; and they should all work together against those practices.




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