Racist America voices its concerns in a new poll:
September 19, 2001 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Racist America voices its concerns in a new poll: The Gallup Poll not only found that 58 percent of Americans backed more intensive security checks for Arab plane passengers and 49 percent supported special IDs, but also that 35 percent said they trusted Arabs living here less and 32 percent think Arabs living here should be put under special surveillance as were Japanese-Americans following Pearl Harbor.
posted by skallas (24 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble

Judging from Bill Maher's comment below, they musta called his house too...

"Political correctness, in my view, was always about pretending that certain things were when they weren't, and we pretended, for example, that the next terrorist could just as easily be Swedish…Well, we can't afford that anymore, can we, folks? I mean, the people who hate us aren't Swedish; they're not even North Korean. The people who hate us are the ones who blew up those planes and the ones who do it next time, and it could be even worse, they're going to be from the same group, so don't we have to change our ways and put political correctness out to pasture?"
posted by justkurt at 10:13 PM on September 19, 2001

I for one would love to see the way the questions were asked. And where and when.

See, parts of America were Talibanning long before them Afghans got theirs up and running. A poll like this could just underscore that and verify it, if phrased and placed properly.

(You know, it seemed like we we were on our way to getting rid of race hatred there, just for a fleeting minute. We were almost really on our way to harmony and enlightenment and all that crap.

Oh well.)
posted by chicobangs at 10:21 PM on September 19, 2001

This sounds like a sporadic poll taken from a group of 30 people and nothing more. To put things in perspective, Arab americans--and people who would be mistake for them--are not be rounded up or harassed by the government. So whatever Joe Schmoe says on the street... Whatever... The government is not locking down on Arab Americans...

George W. could use a kick in the head for using the word "crusade" to decribe what the U.S. will be doing in the mid-east.

And Bill Maher? Asshole. "...just as easily be Swedish"!??!?!? What the truck? What about Timothy McVeigh? He was an American trained by the American military.
posted by RoyalJack at 10:27 PM on September 19, 2001

Huge slant in the headline. Why? The Zogby poll mentioned in the article had a considerably more positive outcome. The Gallup findings may indeed be reflective of actual public opinion, but you might want to look at the history of the polls the organization conducted on behalf of CNN and Time in the 2000 election before you go doing this again. Their "instant" and "tracking" polls were among the very worst, and at times absolutely appalling. We're talking swings of 19 points in one day.

Whatever hte case, among the things missing from the article: Exact question wording, sample size, time of calls, etc. Trust no poll article until you see these things reported. And please don't post them with loaded phrases for the link. Thanks.
posted by raysmj at 10:35 PM on September 19, 2001

In the article, a key phrase was omitted which can be found on the Zogby International website:
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted a few days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon...
posted by JParker at 10:38 PM on September 19, 2001

While the article cited certainly doesn't discuss its methods or sample size (which DOES affect everything, yes), I see absolutely no problem with the (inflammatory but true) link text for this. If this sample size IS only thirty people AND the margin of error is +/-30 points, these points of view endorsed are still absolutely disgusting, and yes, racist.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:40 PM on September 19, 2001

The general public (here) sure is. There are motels near Oakhurst that are run by Arabs, and they're being vandalized to extremes, along with the rest of the "brave" people who are calling these places threatening to drive cars and trucks through their businesses. Come on! Not all Arabs were involved in this! My sister works in a hospital, and the number of Arabs coming in with broken limbs and other injuries from beatings are really starting to go up there too.
posted by Katy Action at 10:42 PM on September 19, 2001

RJ: Sure, any racism is disgusting, but if the sample is not accurate, you can't tar all of America as unrepetantly racist. If you're referring to a segment of America, that's a different story. But it needs to be made clear. Oh, and yeah, it's the US freakin' A Today and not Time. Woops.
posted by raysmj at 10:47 PM on September 19, 2001

Yup, seems like everybody's forgetting about the Timothy McVeighs still out there. How about the white supremacists that were plotting to blow up sites in Boston just this last April. Sorry I don't have a link. (Nothing's working. Damn NIMDA?) Boston Herald did have the article according to Google.
posted by omen68x at 10:50 PM on September 19, 2001

I'm surprised that everyone is surprised.
posted by GrooveJedi at 11:10 PM on September 19, 2001

skallas: It doesn't matter if other newspapers don't provide the information. Without it, I never trust a poll. They're worse than useless without sample size information and the like. And I'm far from the only person to argue for this. It's a constant feature of media criticism publications and even criticism broadcast by media outlets themselves (this reached an apex in the 2000 elections, seemed to me, given the at-times alarming disparity in poll results), as well as a subject long addressed by communications and social science academics.

As your second post, good. I was hoping the answer was no, but "we've become the new Taliban" wasn't very reassuring.
posted by raysmj at 11:11 PM on September 19, 2001

I've taken a Gallup poll before. It was a few years ago. It was something about minorities and drinking. I do remember feeling that the way the questions were asked were very leading (and somewhat racist). It was in such a way that how you answered could be misconstrued. Personally, I think that they just look for ways to get the attention of the public. I've never trusted polls since then and barely did even before that. I do wish that they would post the actual questions (word for word) and the questions leading to those questions, but I doubt that'll ever happen.
posted by omen68x at 11:15 PM on September 19, 2001

omen: Polling Report publishes all the questions, in detail, complete with information about sample sizes and the like, every day. The information is seldom posted fresh -- there is instead usually a delay of a day or two. You can also compare and constrast poll results.
posted by raysmj at 11:22 PM on September 19, 2001

Your point is well taken, raysmj. There have been numbers and b.s. floating around the internet for the last 8 days like crazy. Well, as always. Ha.

I'm still totally revolted though, especially with the additional information skallas dug up at Gallup. It's even more disheartening than I first thought.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:22 PM on September 19, 2001

raysmj, thanks for the info. The site's returning 404 right now. (NIMDA?) Too bad I don't remember the questions anymore so I could compare.
posted by omen68x at 11:28 PM on September 19, 2001

skallas, surely the elapsed time between the actual bombing and the questions has to be a factor. Stick a microphone in the face of someone watching the buildings burn and ask, "how 'bout them Ay-rabs?" and you're going to get a different answer than if you wait a week, give people a chance to emotionally digest the scope of the tragedy and understand the efforts that are being made to discover the culprits. Not to mention seeing the backlash and being appalled at the behavior of some of our so-called freedom-loving citizenry. I don't think that it's as cut-and-dried as, "Either you believe in equal rights or not. If you're that easily persuaded than you probably have race issues." People who don't know who to get angry at can be angry nonetheless. Civilized people who believe in equal rights don't act on those feelings, and that's the line that separates generalized anger from racism. Unless you're the thought police, in which case we probably need to build more prisons.
posted by JParker at 11:29 PM on September 19, 2001

> Racist America voices its concerns in a new poll

Give them back their coolers and maybe they'll go in peace.
posted by pracowity at 11:49 PM on September 19, 2001

skallas: Might want to cool down yourself. I've repeatedly and fairly consistently jumped on poll results on metafilter - or at least pointed out the problems with polls and their presentation - for the same reasons as listed above, regardless of results.
posted by raysmj at 12:06 AM on September 20, 2001

"There's a great "King of the Hill" episode in this one, once the war's over."

"Is it possible to watch lap after boring lap without getting drunk?"

"mullet haven"

These statement are from a previous thread. If we can categorize these people by stereotypes, why not Muslims? Surely muslims must be gun-toting zealots who love to kill.

The hypocrisy of MeFi shines through.
posted by ttrendel at 12:10 AM on September 20, 2001

Racism is a really big problem in the US. It has been for years IMHO.
posted by jusx at 12:21 AM on September 20, 2001

Republika Online in Jakarta ran a poll of their readers, asking who they thought was responsible. 34.5% said "Jewish Extremists". And this from a newspaper readership who is supposedly educated, prosperous and intellectual. I bet if you examine the situation globally, you'll find that the U.S. comes out looking pretty darn good, and other countries are much more likely to fall into irrational racism.
posted by gimonca at 7:16 AM on September 20, 2001

Yup, seems like everybody's forgetting about the Timothy McVeighs still out there

nah, we killed him. everything's better now.
posted by tolkhan at 9:29 AM on September 20, 2001

The hypocrisy of MeFi shines through

Its one thing for the dominant race to pick on each other and a completely different thing for the dominant majority to punish a minority.

also, isn't it one thing to be doing something in jest and another to be doing it because you actually don't like someone? really, i enjoy a good queer joke and invite everyone to tell me one, but get in my face Fred Phelps-like and i'll go all Highlander on your ass. well, i may not cut off your head, but i wouldn't just stand there crying about being offended.

people are too sensitive. fight hatred, not humor (good god, i'm spouting sound bites).
posted by tolkhan at 10:01 AM on September 20, 2001

The Gallup question about exchanging personal freedom for security was the most frightening. Was the Taliban not about providing stability by stealing freedoms?

We see America still has race problems. Perhaps in penance for old Japanese concentration camps; America can sponsor a new dilution program. Spread minorities out evenly so that our NASCAR citizens will learn to live with their Arab country-men.
posted by markluffel at 9:29 PM on September 26, 2001

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