Saturday, August 04, 2007

Indian Americans are least supportive of free speech; Mexicans are 2nd worst: A reader named "hicsto" claims that free speech is a male, northwestern European (MNWE) phenomenon; Jews don't support it as much; and as the influence of MNWEs declines, so will the freedom to speak freely. What do the data tell us (about the American context, anyway)? General Social Survey respondents (all Americans) were asked if a person who believed blacks were inferior should be allowed to speak in public. This is the percent of men by ethnic background who said yes (groups with at least 50 respondents are included with two noted exceptions):


Percent in favor of allowing someone speaking in public about black inferiority

Japanese 82.5 (N=28)
Swedes 78.9
Hungarians 77.8
Scots 74.3
English/Welsh 74.2
Filipinos 72.5 (N=40)
Irish 72.3
Poles 71.0
Danes 70.5
French 70.3
Jews 69.8
Germans 69.8
Norwegians 69.3
Czechs 68.3

USA 67.5

French Canadians 67.2
Austrians 67.2
Italians 66.5
Russians 62.7
Spain 60.8
Chinese 60.0
Dutch 59.1
Blacks 58.8
American Indians 59.5
Puerto Ricans 58.5
Mexicans 49.1
Indians 46.1

Support for free speech among whites may be higher as we move north and west, but the pattern is not perfect. Jews are in the top half of the table, and clearly are not less supportive than other whites. Among non-whites, East Asians are split with Japanese and Filipinos toward the top and Chinese in the bottom half. Other non-whites congregate at the bottom, with the very large immigration group of Mexicans bringing anti-free speech values with them. One's attitude toward free speech is a good indicator of assimilation to mainstream American values, and Mexicans are almost ten percentage points behind blacks on a question about black inferiority!

11 comments:

tommy said...

Another strange gap: the divide between Swedes and Norwegians.

hicsto said...

Jews are in the top half of the table, and clearly are not less supportive than other whites.

Jews aren't white and the survey hardly establishes support for free speech as a general principle. Suppose it had been:

"Percent in favor of allowing someone to criticize Jews in public."

What would have happened then? And what about organized Jewry? Is Abe Foxman a champion of free speech? Did any Jewish organizations in the US or abroad criticize David Irving's imprisonment for an opinion? Where did the laws he and many others are imprisoned under come from? Who established free speech in the first place?

Another strange gap: the divide between Swedes and Norwegians.

It may be because Norway was occupied during WW2, Sweden wasn't.

SFG said...

Do you have the results for allowing someone to criticize Jews? I'd be curious to see how much it changes.

Anonymous said...

Re: hicsto's objection I am not surprised by the result. NW Europeans seem more open to free speech, however it was not that long ago that people living in Great Britain were hanged for blasphemy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aikenhead

My perception is that Jews tend to be supportive of free speech currently because it is now in their best interests. The public forum has an appearance of fairness and openness. They do not need to restrict free speech, because they can ridicule David Duke types with easy. They can verbal attack Christianity and not suffer hanging for blasphemy. However, should the conditions change (that is, more open discussion about Jewish influence on politics and culture), then their support for free speech might also change. There is no harm in allowing free speech as long as very few people are criticizing Jews as Jews and those people that do criticize Jews are not taken seriously.

tommy said...

These are Asian Indians, correct?

Anonymous said...

I'm actually surprised that blacks are so supportive of free speech in this case. It is much more difficult to have the restraint for free speech when someone is verbally degrading you. Perhaps if the question was altered so that another group was being degraded, blacks would be among the strongest supporters of free speech.

hicsto said...

There is no harm in allowing free speech as long as very few people are criticizing Jews as Jews and those people that do criticize Jews are not taken seriously.

Why is that the case? Because criticizing Jews is dangerous. There are many people with "antisemitic" ideas who will not express them in public. Which isn't necessarily good for Jews: rendering yourself immune from criticism doesn't tend to keep you well-behaved. Yes, Jewish individuals often support free speech, but as a group they're v. bad for it, in part because inquisitors like Abe Foxman need the "community" as cover.

Ron Guhname said...

tommy: Right.

dearieme said...

It wasn't all that long ago that people got executed for blasphemy in Massachusetts.

hicsto said...

It wasn't all that long ago that people got executed for blasphemy in Massachusetts.

Which utterly refutes the hypothesis that free speech is always and only permitted by white northern European males. Seeing as that isn't my hypothesis, I'm not worried. Christianity's violent suppression of dissent is a direct legacy of Jewish monotheism, not of white polytheism.

Anonymous said...

It's really not the best question to judge peoples' attitudes towards free speech, since the answer will be colored by the respondents' feelings towards blacks.

JMHO.