The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information

 TeasersGene Expression Blog

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
🔊 Listen RSS

Reihan Salam has a post up on the alignment of racism and political orientation. He begins:

Recently, Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s UP with Chris Hayes, made the following observation:

It is undeniably the case that racist Americans are almost entirely in one political coalition and not the other.

Chris is a good friend of mine, and we grew up in the same milieu. I can attest to the fact that the view he expressed is very widely held in the circles in which we both travel….

Salam then links to Alex Tabarrok, who uses party identification data to indicate that actually racism is split between the two groups, while John Sides suggests that there is a definite lean toward Republicans being more racist, using a few indicator variables. Overall I think Sides is about right, all things equal conservatives are more racist than liberals. At least in the modern context of the two ideologies.* I say conservative/liberal rather than Republican/Democrat, because my experience with the GSS data set is that ideology is a more powerful predictor of social views among whites. This holds true with the variables which Tabarrok and Sides query from what I can see; the gap between Democrats and Republicans is smaller than between liberals and conservatives. Why? There are still a non-trivial number of self-identified conservative Democrats in this country, as well as very well off socially moderate Republicans who vote their economic interests.

Before further analysis, I do want to admit one thing: “racism” is a subjective term to a great extent. I say this because there are very few Americans left who will defend legal segregation and white supremacy. At the other extreme there are some Democrats and liberals who would claim that opposition to affirmative action is racism. That seems too far. Between the two are a whole host of views ad positions, and there is dispute where to draw the appropriate line. But no matter where you draw the line there does seem a robust difference between white liberals and conservatives. The only key issue is that the difference, even if consistent, is often not very great. Sides and Tabarrok seem to have the right of it in relation to Hayes.

What I think is going on with Hayes’ assertion is similar to what’s going on with social conservatives who talk about “pro-family” views and attitudes. Very few liberals are “anti-family” (though some Leftist radials arguably are, insofar as they want to overturn normative understandings of the American family). And yet similarly very few conservatives are “pro-racism.” Rather, the terms have become implicit code among conservatives and liberals for opinions on a wide range of family and race related issues. Even if conservatives don’t live the pro-family agenda (e.g., Newt Gingrich), they believe in it. Similarly, even if white liberals live among, socialize, and marry, other white liberals, they believe in a particular vision of race relations. More concretely, conservatives who label themselves pro-family support a suite of policies which they presume support the values of families, even if their own families are a shambles. Liberals who oppose racism in Vermont or rural Oregon do so through their support for particular policies which they believe foster national racial equality.

But to some data. Replicating John Sides’ results with ideology, for non-Hispanic whites after the year 2000:

But I wanted to take the analysis just a little further than Sides. First, what about segregation in one’s personal life?


I did find a variable where there was a strong difference between whites by ideology:

These results prompted me to look for some literature in this domain. Here’s what I found, Is Love Colorblind? Political Orientation and Interracial Romantic Desire:

As shown in Figure 2, the probability that a White participant at 1 SD toward the liberal end of the spectrum would say “yes” to a Black speed-dater was approximately 26%, whereas the probability that a White participant at 1 SD toward the conservative end of the spectrum would say “yes” to a Black speed-dater was approximately 16%.

I think these results encapsulate the truth which Chris Hayes’ elided: a tendency toward racial whites consciousness, whether explicit or implicit, increases the odds that one is conservative (and vice versa), but it does not guarantee that one is conservative.

* There was a time in the 19th century where being racialist was the more progressive ideology.

• Category: Science • Tags: Data Analysis, GSS, Interracial, Racism 
🔊 Listen RSS

I would say The Mismeasurement of Man is one of the most commonly cited books on this weblog over the years (in the comments). It comes close to being “proof-text” in many arguments online, because of the authority and eminence of the author in the public mind, Stephen Jay Gould. I am in general not particularly a fan of Gould’s work or thought, with many of my sentiments matching the attitudes of Paul Krugman in this 1996 essay:

….Like most American intellectuals, I first learned about this subject [evolutionary biology] from the writings of Stephen Jay Gould. But I eventually came to realize that working biologists regard Gould much the same way that economists regard Robert Reich: talented writer, too bad he never gets anything right. Serious evolutionary theorists such as John Maynard Smith or William Hamilton, like serious economists, think largely in terms of mathematical models. Indeed, the introduction to Maynard Smith’s classic tract Evolutionary Genetics flatly declares, “If you can’t stand algebra, stay away from evolutionary biology.” There is a core set of crucial ideas in his subject that, because they involve the interaction of several different factors, can only be clearly understood by someone willing to sit still for a bit of math. (Try to give a purely verbal description of the reactions among three mutually catalytic chemicals.)

But many intellectuals who can’t stand algebra are not willing to stay away from the subject. They are thus deeply attracted to a graceful writer like Gould, who frequently misrepresents the field (perhaps because he does not fully understand its essentially mathematical logic), but who wraps his misrepresentations in so many layers of impressive, if irrelevant, historical and literary erudition that they seem profound.

Yes, I am aware that some biologists would disagree with this assessment of Gould’s relevance. But I remain generally skeptical of his arguments, though over the years I have become more accepting of the necessity of openness to a sense of ‘pluralism’ when it comes to the forces which shape evolutionary processes. And certainly there is interesting exposition in a book like The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, but there was no need for ~1500 pages (Brian Switek did fine with a little over ~300 pages in covering similar territory as the first half of the book). Whatever valid positions Gould staked out in opposition to excessive adaptationist thinking on the part of the neo-Darwinian orthodoxy of the mid-20th century, his penchant for self-marketing and repackaging of plausible but not particularly novel concepts was often destructive in my experience to the enterprise of a greater public understanding of science.

When I was in 8th grade my earth science teacher explained to the class proudly that he was not a “Darwinian,” rather, he accepted punctuated equilibrium. One must understand that much of his audience was Creationist in sympathy because of the demographics of the region, but I was frankly appalled by his explicit verbal rejection of “Darwinism,” because I knew how the others would take it (my best friend in the class was a Creationist and he kept chuckling about “monkeys turning into men” throughout the whole period). I remained after to further explore this issue with my teacher. I expressed my bewilderment as best as I could, and it came to pass that my teacher explained that he had arrived to his skepticism of the rejected model of Darwinism via the works of Stephen Jay Gould. With his silver tongue Gould had convinced him that the future of evolutionary science lay with punctuated equilibrium, which had already overthrown the older order. A 13 year old can only go so far, and so I moved on.

But this incident made be very suspicious of Gould’s influence on people from that point onward, and I became even more skeptical after I found out that the sophistic proponent of what later become Intelligent Design, Phillip E. Johnson, was mining his more rhetorical jeremiads against Darwinism like it was Tombstone in the 19th century. To his credit Gould delivered an aptly savage review to Johnson’s Darwin on Trial for his lawyerly misrepresentations, but Stephen Jay Gould himself sowed the seeds for this by portraying himself to the public as the scourge of the priests of the Church of Darwin. His contributions to the broader canvas of evolutionary biology (that is, outside of his academic specialty in paleontology) are probably as substantive as Richard Dawkins’ ideas are to the understanding of the role of religion in society. Gould was an intellectual polemicist of the first order.

This goes back decades. In the 1970s he was a member of the Sociobiology Study Group, whose intellectual weight helped lead to a groundswell of activism against E. O. Wilson’s project of a biologically informed approach to social science. Eventually Wilson was accused of genocide and doused with cold water at the 1979 AAAS meeting (Gould disassociated himself from that sort of “infantile” behavior, but in Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate it seems clear that Wilson believed that the Harvard professors who saw dark intentions behind his project of fusing social science with biology helped foster the atmosphere of intimidation).

This is all a long way of saying that I give Gould his due and acknowledge his influence on the ideas of Elisabeth Vrba. But when he steps outside of the domain of paleontology in general I dismiss appeals to Gouldian authority, whether it be in evolutionary biology on a grand philosophical scale, or the triviality of human races as biological entities.

And so we come to a paper in PLoS Biology, The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias. Now, let me make one thing clear: the authors are not racists. They make that clear repeatedly; they abhor racism. But they also abhor falsity. They find that Stephen Jay Gould’s claim that Samuel Morton’s cranial measurements of 19th century skulls were influence by his bias due to his belief in the superiority of the white race is false. Why? While Gould reanalyzed the data, the authors measured the original skulls (or more precisely, half of the original skulls). Here’s the abstract:

Stephen Jay Gould, the prominent evolutionary biologist and science historian, argued that “unconscious manipulation of data may be a scientific norm” because “scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth”…a view now popular in social studies of science…In support of his argument Gould presented the case of Samuel George Morton, a 19th-century physician and physical anthropologist famous for his measurements of human skulls. Morton was considered the objectivist of his era, but Gould reanalyzed Morton’s data and in his prize-winning book The Mismeasure of Man…argued that Morton skewed his data to fit his preconceptions about human variation. Morton is now viewed as a canonical example of scientific misconduct. But did Morton really fudge his data? Are studies of human variation inevitably biased, as per Gould, or are objective accounts attainable, as Morton attempted? We investigated these questions by remeasuring Morton’s skulls and reexamining both Morton’s and Gould’s analyses. Our results resolve this historical controversy, demonstrating that Morton did not manipulate data to support his preconceptions, contra Gould. In fact, the Morton case provides an example of how the scientific method can shield results from cultural biases.

In their measurements they found that there were errors in Morton’s methods: but they were not systematically biased in the direction which his preference for white racial superiority would have led him to. On the contrary, if anything his errors went in the other direction. The prose in the paper is pretty straightforward, eminently polite, and charitable to Gould in light of the fact that he is no longer with us and able to respond forcefully. Here’s Box 2 for a flavor:

Box 2. Did Morton manipulate his samples? Gould states that “as a favorite tool for adjustment, Morton chose to include or delete large subsamples in order to match grand means with a priori expectations”…This criticism stems from the fact that each of Morton’s broader racial samples (e.g., “Indian”) were composed of multiple population subsamples, typically with differing mean cranial capacities. Thus it is possible to alter the overall “race” means by manipulating their constituent subsamples, and Gould charges that Morton did just that in order to obtain the results he expected.

For example, Gould compares the cranial capacities in Morton’s 1839 and 1849 publications and finds that “Morton’s Indian mean had plummeted to 79 in3.… But, again, this low value only records an increasing inequality of sub-sample size. Small-headed (and small-statured) Peruvians had formed 23 percent of the 1839 sample; they now made up nearly half the total sample”…However, the “Indian” mean was 79.6 in3 in Morton 1839 and 79.3 in3 in Morton 1849, so the “plummet” Gould refers to was all of 0.3 in3. More importantly, Morton in 1849…explicitly calculated his overall “Indian” average by taking the mean of three subgroups: Peruvians, Mexicans, and “Barbarous Tribes”—this is readily apparent in Morton’s table reprinted in Gould…As such, the percentage of the overall “Indian” sample composed of Peruvians is irrelevant to the overall mean, as it is only the Peruvian average which impacts the overall value. The Peruvian average changed by less than 1 in3 from Morton 1839 (n = 33) to Morton 1849 (n = 155).

Clearly, Morton was not manipulating samples to depress the “Indian” mean, and the change was trivial in any case (0.3 in3). In fact, the more likely candidate for manipulating sample composition is Gould himself in this instance. In recalculating Morton’s Native American mean, Gould…reports erroneously high values for the Seminole-Muskogee and Iroquois due to mistakes in defining those samples and omits the Eastern Lenapé group entirely, all of which serve to increase the Native American mean and reduce the differences between groups.

And so it goes on. The authors are concerned that Gould’s “proof” of Morton’s bias is now a case study in many universities. But the bias is probably not there. And so it is with many of Gould’s assertions and poses in my opinion. The thickness of his prose may persuade the many, but persuasion by bluff does not entail correctness.

Humans are creatures of bias, and we are shaped by our age. I recently reread an old edition of Descent of Man on my Kindle and I definitely glossed over some racist assertions by Charles Darwin (and I’m certainly one who has a low outrage threshold, whatever the opinion). Darwin may have been a liberal of his age, but he was still a man of his age at the end of the day. This does not negate his greatness as a scientist. Reality is. We may see through the mirror darkly, but there is something on the other side beyond our imaginings. Darwin, for all his flaws that we perceive in our own time due to the values which we hold dear and essential, nevertheless grasped upon a critical fragment of objective reality. Whatever chasm which time imposes because of the waxing and waning of cultural values, we are anchored within the same stream of objective reality and the truths which undergird that reality. I caution against excessive reliance on one paper, one figure, on result, because of the darkness through which we muddle. But reality does exist, and we sometimes need to set aside expectation or preference when we go about ascertaining its true shape.

🔊 Listen RSS

One of the aspects of fiction is that it serves as a Rorschach test. Over at Slate Nina Shen Rastogi has a post up, Is “Game of Thrones” Racist?:

The Dothraki are dark, with long hair they wear in dreadlocks or in matted braids. They sport very little clothing, bedeck themselves in blue paint, and, as depicted in the premiere episode, their weddings are riotous affairs full of thumping drums, ululations, orgiastic public sex, passionate throat-slitting, and fly-ridden baskets full of delicious, bloody animal hearts. A man in a turban presents the new khaleesi with an inlaid box full of hissing snakes. After their nuptials, the immense Khal Drogo takes Daenerys to a seaside cliff at twilight and then, against her muted pleas, takes her doggie-style.

They are, in short, barbarians of the most stereotypical, un-PC sort. As I watched, I kept thinking, “Are they still allowed to do that?”

I wasn’t the only viewer who found the depiction of the Dothraki uncomfortable, to say the least. Time’s TV critic James Poniewozik, noting that the Dothraki seem to be made up of a “grabbag of exotic/dark/savage signifiers,” wondered if it was “possible to be racist toward a race that does not actually exist.”

First, the author immediately notes that for every swarthy barbarian there is a depiction of another trope, the Evil Blonde Guy. Nina Shen Ragosti’s read the books. She knows that though initially you encounter a story which is framed in black-white Manichean terms that is the norm in the more juvenile sectors of epic fantasy, the development of the characters, and your perception of the world which they inhabit, quickly slouches toward many shades of gray.

The television show may be different, I don’t know. In any case, if you read the books I think you might seriously wonder what George R. R. Martin has against blondes! Not only is the family which is at the center of the web-of-evil-intent-and-action boldly blonde, but within the “good family” (the Starks) depth of character and nobility of purpose are usually aligned with the brunettes (petulant Sansa vs. persevering Arya, good-hearted but ultimately naive Rob vs. brooding but predestined Jon). The main caveat is that Martin is one who often sets up expectations which he turns upside down, so any coarse generalization may eventually land on the wrong side of the ledger.

There are several broader issues in the bigger picture in terms of the reaction of people to epic fantasy and speculative fiction. First, in a world where most people praise multiculturalism and diversity there seems to be a tendency to blanch and recoil when faced with genuine divergence of viewpoint and variance of behavior. In our own world many attempt to reframe differences of value as ultimately due to material conditions (e.g., intolerance is rooted in poverty, etc.). This misses the reality that despite our common humanity grounded in human universals which makes communication across the chasm of culture possible, there are also deep abiding incommensurable values even among extant societies! People recoil from a depiction of barbarism, but we have barbarism in our day! Sometimes I get a sense that the discomfort that people have with the depiction of barbarism in fiction is that it smashes the delusion that cultural diversity can be reduced to variety of dress, dish, and language. This was how cultural diversity was preserved in the former Soviet Union. One of the main criticisms of fantasy is that it is too often a simple and unsubtle morality play. The world of A Song of Ice and Fire in contrast has rich texture, but we need to be cautious about ruining our enjoyment by projecting our own contemporary preconceptions as we explore it. We need shift between enjoyment of the development of individuals with whom we identify, along with moments of epoche to take in the landscape without preconceptions.

Second, there are fantasy works which have veiled or unveiled anti-white sentiments you can find out there if you want to balance the scales. Ursula K. Le Guin has copped to this as one of her agenda’s in the Earthsea stories. It’s even more explicit in Judith Tarr’s Avaryan novels. Here’s a representative selection from Avaryan Resplendent:

Vanyi’s cheeks were burning. No doubt they blazed scarlet. It was all the color they ever had. Corpse-woman, people called her here, because she was as white as new milk, and they were all black or brown or ruddy bronze. Even the Asanians were, at worst, old ivory.

The are references to the “maggoty pallor” of people who seem equivalent to white Europeans in Tarr’s secondary world in A Fall of Princes. Judith Tarr herself is a white American from what I know, so I doubt she’s pushing a deeper agenda, but just changing the terms of her secondary world in a manner which makes it atypical for Western fantasy.

But the bigger issue is that authors can not help but inject their own perception of the world and biases into their works. Otherwise they’d be computers lacking real A.I. I’ve noted before that it’s pretty clear that Brandon Sanderson is a theist, or is speaking from a theist point of view, in his fiction. He has admitted as much. More precisely there seems to be a Mormon inflected aspect in his Mistborn series. Conversely, Ursula K. Le Guin’s atheism seems to have influenced the lack of theistic religion in Earthsea as anything but a deviation or abomination (in interviews she soft-pedaled the propagandistic nature of her execution of intent, but I think I’m being accurate).

There’s an easy way to even out the problem of Eurocentrism in fantasy fiction: more colored people should write. David Anthony Durham is a black fantasy writer. I don’t think his race influences his Acacia series too much. He does utilize the Evil Bonde Guy trope, but so do fantasy authors in general (see David Coe). One might suggest though that he gives a little more detailed description to the African equivalent populations in his secondary world than one might usually find in epic fantasy, which I found interesting even if it was marginal to the main story arc. Black science fiction writer Steven Barnes wrote an alternative history duology starting with Lion’s Blood which could, it is argued, be an Afrocentric “what-if.”

Much of fantasy literature draws from epic myths. J. R. R. Tolkien’s own work was an attempt to create an epic myth for the English people, because their own had been lost, unlike the Scandinavians or Irish (rather like the Kalevala). Most “high cultures” have an extensive epic myth tradition which can be mined, so authors who want a non-Northern European milieu have a lot they could work with. David Drake used a hybrid of Sumerian and medieval European motifs in Lord of the Isles.

Less criticism. More creation!

• Category: Science • Tags: Culture, Fantasy, Fiction, Racism 
🔊 Listen RSS

Big Think has a post, Do Women Value Ethnicity Over Income in a Mate?:

The results are striking. An African-American man would have to earn $154,000 more than a white man in order for a white woman to prefer him. A Hispanic man would need to earn $77,000 more than a white man, and Asian man would need, remarkably, an additional $247,000 in additional annual income.

So do women value ethnicity over income in a mate? They certainly seem too. If income was the more important factor in mate choice these numbers would be small; it would take very little additional income to entice a woman to date a man of a different race. The fact that the numbers are so large suggests that a man’s race is significantly more important that his income.

And men? Well the problem is that men don’t seem to care about income at all. So even though their behaviour suggests they care less about their partner’s race than women do, the income needed to encourage them to make the trade-off between races is incalculably large. To really estimate how much men care about race you would have to find a different measure, like perhaps physical beauty.

First, there has been research controlling for physical beauty. So the white male disinclination toward black females can be accounted for mostly by the fact that they aren’t as physically attracted to them. When you limit the sample of black women to those which they are physically attracted to the discrepancy mostly disappears. In contrast, when you similarly constrain the samples of black men which white women judge as attractive the discrepancy in dating preference remains (the same when you do so for Asian men).

All this is not new. I blogged this two years ago, and have gotten bored with the topic (there a regular series of papers which confirm the finding in different circumstances). The sex difference in race preference in the dating literature seems relatively robust. Women care about the race of their partners far more than men, all things equal (in fact, much of the literature suggests men are not concerned about race very much when you control for other background variables). If a site brands itself as “Big Think”, it would be nice to add some value.

I’ll offer a hypothesis in keeping with Ann Althouse’s rule-of-thumb in regards to discussing sex differences in polite company: make sure to make it seem as if women are superior in some fashion. Perhaps women simply have a lower time preference? That is, they’re thinking of long-term consequences. Interracial divorce rates are higher, so women may be making implicit calculations as to the probable success of a relationship as opposed to the short-term benefits of a pairing which men fixate upon. Additionally they may be more liable to “think of the children.” Though I’m generally skeptical of the social science research in this area which indicate that mixed-race children experience stress because of their background, there are plenty of high profile media accounts of people of mixed-race and their “struggles” with their identity. This may shape perceptions of the quality of life of the children. In other words, women aren’t being shallow at all, race is an excellent proxy for all sorts of social-cultural variates which might effect the outcomes of a relationship success, and also the fullness of life which their offspring may experience. Women are then in this model being prudent by using a coarse variate, race, as a proxy for the multi-textured reality of how race is lived in America, and how it matters deeply in the lives of human beings.

To test this sort of model we need data from other societies. There are confounds in this analysis in the USA because Asians, for example, are a small minority who as a matter of necessity can’t really limit their dating pool as much as whites. Additionally, it would be useful to take a fine-grained look at Hispanic dating patterns. About ~50% of Hispanic/Latino Americans identify as white, ~40% as “other”, while ~10% a mix with a substantial number of blacks. The race preference may be mostly a function of perception of cultural values, in which case you’d see that Hispanics don’t exhibit any sex bias in race at all. Then it would not be a matter of women being more racist, but being far less cosmopolitan! Oops, I mean that the low time preference is not operating through a racial proxy but a cultural proxy which is correlated with race. In other words, women are culturally sensitive, while men are culturally insensitive.

🔊 Listen RSS

A few weeks ago there were a bunch of stories on how white the audience was at Glenn Beck’s rally. That’s empirically true, and the Tea Party movement as a whole is overwhelmingly white. So is the American conservative movement. This in a nation which is ~65% white in a colloquial sense (i.e., white Hispanics are excluded from the class of “white”). It makes one’s eyebrows go up I suppose when you see a very unrepresentative set of people. But what irritates me about media observation of this statistical reality is that the elite media is also disproportionately white. Much of the elite media and the up & coming pundit class reside in a majority black city, but if you check out their Facebook photos or flickr accounts you would be totally surprised at the fact that they reside in a “Chocolate City.” Why are the social circles of elite media types, liberal or conservative, not representative of the city in which they reside? There are pretty clear reasons of confounds of class and socioeconomic affinity with race. The demographics of one’s social circle don’t necessarily lead one to prima facie accusations of bias, rather, they’re embedded in a set of causal assumptions and conditionals. So, from a liberal perspective the whiteness of the SWPL milieu is situational, while that of the right-wing milieu is essential. The demographics of conservative political movements themselves are interpreted through a particular historical frame of racism for most liberals implicitly. In contrast, the white demographics of elite liberals, including the Netroots, are often “contextualized” as emerging out of a whole range of historical and social processes, which if not just in and of themselves, are structural factors which elite white liberals are not responsible for and are attempting to change.

It seems a pretty robust social science finding that white liberals have less racialist sentiment than white conservatives. My main beef, as a non-white conservative, is that a quantitative difference of degree gets collapsed into a qualitative difference of kind. Transforming a quantitative variable into a dichotomous categorical one totally changes the inferences one makes from facts. The whiteness of conservative movements and classes then entails the casting of particular aspersions, while the whiteness of liberal movements and classes tends to go under the radar as having a sociological cause out of the control of white liberals.

To explore the quantitative, as opposed to qualitative, difference between white non-Hispanics of varied political stripes I decided to look at the GSS data set. There are a variety of questions on racial issues, though I focused on the ones related to white opinions/attitudes/relations with blacks since they are more numerous. For example, in 1974 23% of white liberals and 36% of white conservatives favored a law banning interracial marriage. In 2002 the values were 8% and 13% respectively. In both cases you can see that white conservatives have more racialist feeling, but the difference is not dichotomous, but one of degree. Below is a table of responses to a set of questions by white non-Hispanics in the 2000s. I broke out the data set by liberal and conservative, and Democrat and Republican. Additionally, in addition to the raw frequencies I also calculated absolute and relative differences between liberals and conservatives and Democrats and Republicans.

Ideology Party Ideology Party
Response Lib Con Dem Repub Abs Gap Rel Gap Abs Gap Rel Gap
Favor law against racial intermarriage
Yes 7.3 13.6 12 10 -6.3 0.5 2.0 1.2
Black person over for dinner recently
Yes 46.7 39.2 36.5 41.5 7.5 1.2 -5.0 0.9
Would vote for black president
Yes 96.4 93.8 93.3 95.4 2.6 1.0 -2.1 1.0
Whites hurt by affirmative action?
Very likely 14.5 22 15.9 21.8 -7.5 0.7 -5.9 0.7
Somewhat likely 48.1 50 49.2 52.4 -1.9 1.0 -3.2 0.9
Not very likely 37.4 28 34.9 25.8 9.4 1.3 9.1 1.4
Close relative marry black
Strongly favor 17.9 9.5 14.3 9.7 8.4 1.9 4.6 1.5
Favor 11.8 12.7 12.5 12 -0.9 0.9 0.5 1.0
Neither favor nor oppose 50.3 37.4 43.8 41.7 12.9 1.3 2.1 1.1
Oppose 10.2 19.9 13.1 19.3 -9.7 0.5 -6.2 0.7
Strongly oppose 9.7 20.6 16.2 17.4 -10.9 0.5 -1.2 0.9
Have conditions improved for blacks
Improved 60 72.7 64.6 73.9 -12.7 0.8 -9.3 0.9
Gotten worse 4.8 3.6 3.7 3.5 1.2 1.3 0.2 1.1
About the same 35.2 23.7 31.7 22.6 11.5 1.5 9.1 1.4
Has most in common with
Whites 16 16.5 16.5 17.9 -0.5 1.0 -1.4 0.9
Blacks 20.7 11.9 18.5 15.4 8.8 1.7 3.1 1.2
Jews 22.5 20 22 19.9 2.5 1.1 2.1 1.1
Hispanics 10.1 17.7 9.6 17.4 -7.6 0.6 -7.8 0.6
Asians 5.4 12.4 7.3 9.8 -7.0 0.4 -2.5 0.7
Equal in common to all 21.2 13.2 19.9 13 8.0 1.6 6.9 1.5
Nothing in common with any 4.1 8.3 6.2 6.6 -4.2 0.5 -0.4 0.9
Number of blacks one is acquainted with
0 19.4 26.8 24.3 25.4 -7.4 0.7 -1.1 1.0
1 7.2 9.3 13.8 6.9 -2.1 0.8 6.9 2.0
2-5 37.1 35.5 33.1 37.2 1.6 1.0 -4.1 0.9
6-10 11.8 11.8 11.6 13.3 0.0 1.0 -1.7 0.9
More than 10 24.5 16.6 17.1 17.2 7.9 1.5 -0.1 1.0
Number of blacks one trusts
0 36.3 47.7 40.9 46.6 -11.4 0.8 -5.7 0.9
1 16.9 16.4 21.3 14 0.5 1.0 7.3 1.5
2-5 32.3 25.9 24.4 28.2 6.4 1.2 -3.8 0.9
6-10 9.4 4.9 8.1 5.5 4.5 1.9 2.6 1.5
More than 10 5.1 5.1 5.3 5.7 0.0 1.0 -0.4 0.9
Number of blacks in neighborhood
0 52.4 61.5 55.4 59.3 -9.1 0.9 -3.9 0.9
1 12.7 10.2 12 9.3 2.5 1.2 2.7 1.3
2-5 22.3 20 20.7 21.2 2.3 1.1 -0.5 1.0
6-10 2.6 4.6 1.7 4.6 -2.0 0.6 -2.9 0.4
More than 10 10 3.8 10.1 5.7 6.2 2.6 4.4 1.8
Number of black family members
0 77.7 83.7 80.1 81.8 -6.0 0.9 -1.7 1.0
1 11.3 13.4 10.4 8.9 -2.1 0.8 1.5 1.2
2-5 8.5 2.9 5.8 9 5.6 2.9 -3.2 0.6
6-10 0.8 0 0.6 0 0.8 0.6
More than 10 1.7 0 3 0.3 1.7 2.7 10.0
Number of blacks in voluntary associations one involved with
0 41.2 43.4 40.8 42.7 -2.2 0.9 -1.9 1.0
1 11.2 8.2 10.3 7.4 3.0 1.4 2.9 1.4
2-5 28.4 26.6 26.3 25.9 1.8 1.1 0.4 1.0
6-10 9.2 8.3 9.4 10.9 0.9 1.1 -1.5 0.9
More than 10 9.9 13.4 13.2 13.1 -3.5 0.7 0.1 1.0
Number of blacks in current or previous work
0 23.5 33.3 26.3 30.6 -9.8 0.7 -4.3 0.9
1 11 8.2 14.6 8.6 2.8 1.3 6.0 1.7
2-5 28.3 25.9 29.2 24.5 2.4 1.1 4.7 1.2
6-10 16.2 11.6 11 12.3 4.6 1.4 -1.3 0.9
More than 10 21 20.9 18.9 24.1 0.1 1.0 -5.2 0.8

To replicate:


Column: POLVIEWS(r:1-3″Liberal”;5-7″Conservative”) PARTYID(r:0-2″Democrat”;4-6″Republican”)

Selection Filters: RACE(1) HISPANIC(1)

For those who don’t know the GSS URL:

The question of Hispanic or non-Hispanic status was only asked starting in the year 2000, so the data are all constrained to the aughts. I know tables are kind of hard to read, but I wasn’t sure as to the best way to visualize the results. But if someone wants to try, or has some ideas, here’s the data as a csv.

I’ll let readers engage in interpretation, but be warned that if it’s obvious you didn’t read the table your comment may not be published, or, I’ll just delete it. The only thing I want to add is that it isn’t a surprise that the political party division is narrower than the ideological one. Republicans are the conservative party, but there are wealthy social liberals within the party, while Democrats have some downscale socially conservative types.

Note: Sample sizes are small in some of the cases above, so don’t necessarily draw too much of an inference if the absolute value difference is marginal. That’s why I looked at a lot of questions.

• Category: Ideology, Science • Tags: Culture, Data Analysis, GSS, Politics, Racism 
Razib Khan
About Razib Khan

"I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. If you want to know more, see the links at"