Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jewish attitudes: I don't have time for a long post, so I'll skip the intro and the discussion and simply give you the meat. As usual, the percentages are calculated from General Social Survey data, a nationally representative sample of Americans.

Update: I've added more questions and have included numbers for "elites." An elite is someone with occupational prestige score in the top 10 percent. Warning: the sample sizes for elite Jews are dangerously low.

Percent agreeing

Americans should follow the decisions of international organizations (strongly agree)
Elite Jews 22.0
All elite Americans 6.0
Jews 6.5
All Americans 4.7

Stay out of international affairs
Elite Jews 9.1
All elite Americans 17.0
Jews 14.0
All Americans 32.3

Get out of the UN
Elite Jews 2.9
All elite Americans 6.8
Jews 10.9
All Americans 15.7

Extremely proud to be American
Elite Jews 38.5
All elite Americans 37.7
Jews 48.7
All Americans 47.1

Identify mainly with ethnic group instead of just being an American
Jews 6.2
All Americans 5.5

Ethnicity is important to a sense of who you are
Jews 65.0
All Americans 58.4

Minorities must adapt to the culture (strongly agree)
Elite Jews 12.5
All elite Americans 14.0
Jews 10.4
All Americans 15.2

Feel very warm toward whites
Elite Jews 25.0
All elite Americans 33.0
Jews 47.8
All Americans 34.8

English should be the official language
Elite Jews 77.8
All elite Americans 75.9
Jews 66.7
All Americans 62.7

Immigrants improve American society
Elite Jews 100.0
All elite Americans 69.0
Jews 90.6
All Americans 57.0

Immigration should be decreased
Jews 38.0
All Americans 55.1

Immigration makes Americans lose jobs
Elite Jews 55.5
All elite Americans 48.5
Jews 45.7
All Americans 60.0

Immigration will affect American unity (very likely)
Jews 21.9
All Americans 28.4

The ethnic changes to be seen in the next 25 years are a good thing
Elite Jews 22.9
All elite Americans 30.0
Jews 36.1
All Americans 25.9

Like Israel very much
Elite Jews 39.4
All elite Americans 9.3
Jews 60.8
All Americans 11.7

Friday, June 22, 2007

I bet you've got some boring, run-of-the-mill hero like Superman, right? Mine is Lou Frickin' Dobbs. Check out his interview with 60 Minutes.
Mex-Ams are tied to their group almost as much as blacks: The General Social Survey asked a large sample of Americans if their ethnic group was important to who they are. Here is the percent of each group that answered "very important":

Black 66.7
Mexican 58.3
American Indian 41.5
Jews 35.4
Polish 27.3
Italian 24.9
Scottish 23.5
German 23.5
Irish 22.9
English/Welsh 22.2
French 16.7

Mex-Ams are almost as ethnocentric as blacks! And they totally outdo American Indians and Jews. Hundreds of years in America hasn't fully assimilated blacks and Indians: how long will it take Mexicans who receive fresh blood from the Old Country every day, and when they do assimilate, it's often toward black ghetto norms?
The first cloture vote to consider the Amnesty Bill without a hearing is likely to happen tonight. I just e-mailed 20 Senators at this website.

Which of you ladies can do more than I just did?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gay men on their knees: In a previous post on violent victimization, I displayed data showing that gay men are like women and lesbians are like men. Let's look at another characteristic--religiosity. Going to church is more of a woman's thing (unless you're a leader). According to the General Social Survey, the following percent of people attend religious services at least once a month:

Percent attending church at least once per month

Straight women 51.4
Straight men 41.7
Gay men 38.5
Lesbians 32.4

Lesbians end up being the most "masculine" of the bunch. You might respond that lesbians don't attend church because most religions condemn homosexuality, and there is certainly some truth to that, but then why do so many gay guys go? They go almost as much as straight men.

I won't list percentages of church membership, since the only significant differences are that more gay men and lesbians belong to no church, and compared to straight women, fewer lesbians are Catholic. Maybe lesbians drop out because they feel the Catholic Church is more patriarchal. Or maybe more Catholic women refuse to identify themselves as lesbian.

I'm surprised by the high numbers for gay men. They attend church a lot, although I'm sure some people make them feel uncomfortable there. Evidently, they're a pretty motivated, religious group. That's news to me (the stereotype is that a church is the last place you'd find a gay guy on his knees) but I shouldn't be surprised when I think of all those gay Catholic priests.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I am SO excited about our future crop of cultural leaders! Brett Dennen is one of the newer folk/pop musicians that I listen to on my "Coffeehouse" Internet radio station (I wince at the word "coffeehouse"). He's quite talented, but I think he would sell his mother if he could buy a pill that would turn him black. He reserves his admiration for Mumia Abu-Jamal types: Malcolm X probably wouldn't qualify since he didn't kill enough white people. Here's one of Dennen's choice lyrics from "There is So Much More":

"...I wondered how so many could be in so much pain,
While others don't seem to feel a thing,
Then I curse my whiteness and I get so damned depressed,
In a world of suffering why should I be so blessed..."

Don't worry too much, Brett: with young people like you, we white folks will be suffering soon enough.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Swiss Americans are the most bloodthirsty? Gun control advocates sometimes portray hunters as violent-prone and maybe a bit deranged. One way to test this is to see if there is a association between hunting and criminal violence. Well, according to the General Social Survey, there isn't one. American men were asked if they hunt:

Percent of men who hunt

Swiss 50.0
Finns 48.6
Dutch 41.7
American Indians 39.1
Germans 37.8
Norwegians 36.8
French 35.7
Swedes 33.6
Austrians 32.7
Czechs 31.0
English/Welsh 30.1
Scots 30.0
Irish 29.0
French Canadians 27.9
Poles 22.3
Mexicans 22.1
Italians 20.3
Danes 19.3
Blacks 14.7
Spain 13.7
Puerto Ricans 5.2
Russians 5.0
Chinese 2.2

Other data I've presented show that blacks and Mexicans have the highest rates of criminal violence, but they have low rates of hunting. Some low-violence groups are not into hunting (e.g., Chinese) but it looks like the activity has a lot to do with tradition and perhaps living in less populated areas. Thinking of Europe, it's more of a northern thing and more of a western thing--just the opposite of the pattern of violent crime.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mormons and illegal immigration: I wrote in an earlier post about how pro-Hispanic Mormons are because of their religious belief that Amerindians are a special people. Over at Gene Expression, Razib links to a map which shows that there is only one state in the Union that had two Republican senators vote for the amnesty bill: Utah.

I imagine that Idaho relies more on illegals to do agricultural work than Utah, yet both Republican senators from the Potato State managed to vote against the bill. Friendly message to Mormon folks: you don't have to bring Mexicans here to turn them into converts. Mexico is a bit dry in parts, but they have enough water for baptisms down there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Are homosexuals attacked more than straights? Stories like that of Matthew Shepard are used to teach Americans that homophobia is rampant, and that it is often manifested in hate crimes. Homosexuals are attacked, we are told, because they are hated. If this is true, gay men and lesbians should have higher rates of being attacked than straights, since they face more than the usual number of reasons for being victims of violence. So what does the General Social Survey say?

Percent ever punched or beaten up

Straight men 56.0
Gay men 47.1
Staight women 27.4
Gay women 57.9

Now, you might look at the numbers for lesbians and conclude that homophobia is rampant since their rates of violent victimization are more than double that of straight women. But such an interpretation doesn't hold up, because if it were true, gay men would be assaulted more than straight guys.

This pattern of numbers is consistent with the fact that most violence is mutual combat that starts with verbal aggression and escalates. Victims often provoke violence, and straight women and gay men are less aggressive than their counterparts. If homosexuals are attacked, chances are it is motivated by the same kinds of things that cause attacks against heterosexuals: you tell some guy that his girlfriend is an ugly slut, and you get punched in the face.

Friday, June 08, 2007

According to the GSS, Mex-Ams have the highest rate of assault: In previous posts that relied on survey data, I showed that Mexican-Americans have high rates of street crime, even higher than blacks in some respects. (For example, the risk of gang membership is probably higher). Well, some folks don't believe me, so let's come at it another way. Research has documented that most criminal violence is intra-ethnic, so victim rates parallel those of assailants. General Social Survey respondents were asked if they have been the victim of a personal assault in the past year. I limited the analysis to groups with a least 50 sampled people. Here are the percent who answered yes:

Percent assaulted in the past year

Mexican 5.6
Blacks 4.8
Italian 4.6
German 3.3
American Indian 3.3

USA 2.7

Irish 2.1
Scots 1.3
English/Welsh 0.7

These numbers square with with my other posts: rates are highest among Mex-Ams and blacks, above average for Italians (and southern Europeans in general), and low for those from northern Europe. These numbers also square with global patterns. Latin America has, overall, high rates of violent crime.

Keep in mind that some of the white numbers might be inflated because other data indicate that black-on-white attacks are more likely than the reverse.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

There is no such thing as racial profiling: My students are a pretty PC bunch, so once in a while I have to provoke them. I asked in class the other day, what would people think of the statement that there is no such thing as racial profiling. A Mexican-American students raises his hand and tells me he knows it happens because one time he was just walking into some store, and all of a sudden some cop slams him up to the ground. Then the officer tells him it was a mistake--they were searching for a suspect who looked like him.

So I asked the student if the cop would have done the same thing if he were an elderly Latino woman. He said no, and I replied, why not--she's Latino. He guessed that the police were looking for a young male Mexican. I jokingly said they were going around slamming 5 year old Hispanic boys? More seriously, I said, oh so this is case of age profiling, or maybe a case of gender profiling.

Then I asked if he would have been grabbed if he were a skinny 7 foot Mexican. He answered probably not, and I told him they must have been profiling a person with medium height and a stocky build (like him). So, evidently, they were "body-size profiling." I asked what he was wearing, and when he said jeans and a white T-shirt, I asked him if they would have targeted him if he was in a limo in a rented tux--he said maybe not. So I told him that maybe they were clothes profiling. Then, I pointed out his tattoos on his arms and suggested that the suspect probably had those too.

They were getting the point, so I summed it up by saying that profiling is always a multi-factor thing, and it is arbitrary and political to call it racial. Not surprisingly, the white students seem to like it when I talk like this, while it chafes blacks and Hispanics.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Correlates of nihilism: In the past, I've posted a number of times on the question of happiness, but I've neglected the arguably more important topic of nihilism. I can safely say that my biggest challenge in life has not been laziness, passivity, or lack of organization--it's been my battle with nihilism. It wasn't a problem in the least when I was a pious boy, but as soon as I became convinced that there was no God, black nihilism started its creep, and it's been like bone cancer ever since.

It doesn't help that I'm inclined to take a distant views of things: "From the vantage point of Alpha Centauri or 100 years from now, I am absolutely nothing." I meet every hassle in life (and they are as omnipresent as advertising) with a "What is the point?" My attempt to develop faith in God--probably the only meaningful thing that could be 100% relied on--has helped, but not as much as I'd like.

Anyway, what are the correlates of nihilism? I did some quick searching in the General Social Survey, and found several items. Respondents were asked if they agree that life serves no purpose. Answers ranged from "strongly agree" (1) to "strongly disagree" (5). Fortunately, only 3.4% agreed, either strongly or moderately. I calculated the means for various groups and subtracted if from 5 to give the most nihilistic people the highest scores. The analysis was limited to whites. Here are the most and least nihilistic groups on several different variables:

Nihilism Score

71-90 .72
41-55 .49

Work status
Unemployed .71
Student .40

Occupational prestige
Low (10-30) .68
High (61-90) .41

Individual Income
<$15,000/yr .82
$90,000+ .14

Less than HS education .80
Graduate degree .34

Belief in God
Agnostic .82
Know God exists .43

Religious Attendance
Never .73
More than once a week .39

None .73
Orthodox .14

Marital Status
Separated .95
Married .50

Number of children
Eight+ .86
Two .46

Fair .75
Excellent .42

Not too happy .77
Very happy .43

So let's create a profile: the average nihilist is old; unemployed or has a low-status job; poor and uneducated; agnostic with no religion who never goes to church; is separated with 8 or more children; and is unhappy and in fair health.

The picture that emerges here is of a person whose life is not going well, and who has no religious beliefs to draw on. The nihilist interprets his life as unpleasant, unsuccessful--maybe he feels impotent. The rich guy with the powerful job is more much likely to think life is meaningful. According to these data, few high-income people are nihilists. Money must give a sense of power, success, reward (not that I would know).

Children are clearly not thought of as assets: the "child-rich" person is the most nihilistic. Having a very large family is associated with many other challenges, like poverty, which overwhelm people. A spouse and 2 kids don't overwhelm, and they make a guy feel like he's part of something larger than himself--part of a family.

I excluded all the intermediate categories because I'm short on time, but I will look at this more closely later. I've been inclined to think that these life characteristics lead to nihilism, but that actually contradicts my own experience, where nihilism came first and caused me difficulties. For example, if life is pointless, why kill yourself in order to make a lot of money? My nihilism always pulls me toward hedonism--I just want to be a happy California cow, with his belly full of hay.