Posted Dec. 13, 2007 – By and large, Blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans don’t trust one another. In fact, they view White folks with less suspicion than they do one another, a new poll by a coalition of 700 ethnic media outlets reveals.
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African Americans believe that Hispanics are taking their jobs, Hispanics and Asians blame Black folks for too much crime, and Blacks and Hispanics say that Asian businessowners are always dissing them. The rumpus of “racial tension” is rooted in mistrust, suspicion and stereotypes, the survey reveals.
The good news, though, is that, despite the obvious negative implications, nearly as many respondents rejected such a cynical perspective. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed by New America Media consider the tension to be a serious problem in America. Still, a significant portion cling to longstanding stereotypes.
For instance 44 percent of Latinos and 47 percent of Asian Americans reported feeling “generally afraid of African-Americans because they are responsible for most of the crime"; more than half of African-Americans feel threatened by Hispanic immigrants, feeling that "they are taking jobs, housing and political power away from the Black community."
But, 45 percent disagreed with the negative attitudes toward Blacks, and only 34 percent of Asians believe Hispanics are nudging them out of jobs and homes.
The mixed results, says pollster Sergio Bendixen, "reflect the extent to which the poll is capturing not a static picture, but a racial landscape in flux." All three groups said they were "more comfortable doing business" with Whites than with any of the minority groups. But nobody trusted anybody like they trusted themselves.
Most of those in each group said that most of their friends, neighbors and cordial acquaintances look like them. But amid all the ill feelings toward other people of color, there’s a strong ray of hope – which appears to come from young people in California.
A survey conducted a year ago for New America Media found that young people in the Golden State are the group of Americans who paid the least attention to race. Not only had 65 percent of them dated outside their own race, but they were not as preoccupied with race, it showed.
"Black and Latino and Asian meant nothing to them," Bendixen said. "They were much more likely to define themselves in terms of music and fashion. They're colorblind. We're moving in that direction, but very, very slowly."
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