Sunday, October 04, 2009

Seventy-five percent of whites feel close to their ethnic group or race: GSS respondents were asked: "How close do you feel to your ethnic or racial group?" The answer choices were "very close," "close," "not very close," and "not close at all." I calculated the percent who said "very close" or "close."


Percent who are close or very close to own ethnic/racial group (N = 1,893)

Black 89.9
Puerto Rican 87.5
Jewish 86.8
Mexican 83.6
Italian 81.9
Chinese 81.2
Irish 79.8

All Americans 78.5

All whites 75.5
English/Welsh 73.1
German 72.5
Scottish 71.2

I'm not the least bit surprised that non-whites and Jewish Americans overwhelmingly feel close to their ethnicity, but look at everyone else. Would you have expected over three-quarters of whites to say they feel close to their ethnic group or race? You might not be stunned to see Irish Americans feeling that way about the Irish, but Americans of English, Scottish or German descent feeling close to their race?

I say race because I've shown in a previous analysis that fewer than 5 percent in these groups consider their ethnicity important. As much as I admire England, I would answer the question for myself thinking about the white race. I completely agree with the pretty black girl in my class who said, in response to our discussion of ethnicity among whites, "I don't know anything about English or German or Italian--you're all just white to me."

Evidently, the wording of this question was just right in order to pull out a race-conscious response from whites. "Not very close" or "not close at all" sound like what you would say about an estranged relative. While whites are not race-loyal like blacks, most are not prepared to say they are estranged from their race.


I take this as evidence of the implicit whiteness that Kevin MacDonald talks about. The proper question can tease out an unconscious affection whites feel for their group. Affection by some whites might be ethnic, as in the case of many Jews, but for many it's racial. Only a small percentage think actively and deliberately in terms of race, but if asked to think about it, only SWPL-types feel they must reject their own group.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kevin MacDonald - correct as usual.

ironrailsironweights said...

Growing up in a Connecticut city in the 1970's, I may have witnessed nearly the last gasp of significant white ethnic consciousness. Most white ethnic groups still maintained strong ethnic identities. Even then, however, one could sense that things were changing, with a generic white identity gradually taking over from the old ethnic identities. It surely was no coincidence that the institutions most divided along ethnic lines were the funeral homes.

My impression today is that white ethnic identities have largely disappeared, except for Jews.

Peter

TGGP said...

Anonymous, I performed a half-assed test of MacDonald's theory vs Half Sigma's and found the latter clearly more compelling.

togo said...

My impression today is that white ethnic identities have largely disappeared, except for Jews.

That was my impression in Chicago, too. In the Seventies Poles-to take the most prominent example-had a highly visible ethnic presence. Today-except by the evidence of a few landmarks- it's like they had never existed.

P.S. Don't the "Guidos" still have an ethnic identity?

togo said...

From Paul Gottfried's latest book,
Encounters:
p.113
(...)
...it may be useful to add here my only painfully accumulated impressions of the apparently forgotten ethnicity of my students. Ethnic and demoninational differences do not exist for them, at least not on the surface. It is considered downright gauche to mention such differences, except when dwelling on the suffering of blacks and other authorized victim groups or on the bigotry of whites, particularly those who bear the stigma of residing in the American South.

Anonymous said...

TGGP,

I follow your blog, so I read that one when you posted it.

Not very convincing. And quite sloppy to crudely compare MacDonald's theories that have been explicated over several books and Half Sig's post. They're not even mutually exclusive. MacDonald would never even deny that Jews fear Christian prayer in school.

Even James Bowery, whom I suspect might be half insane, is much more compelling on this topic than anything you or Half Sigma have offered.

ironrailsironweights said...

togo -

The Guido is stereotypically Italian-American, hence the name, but in reality it can apply to any younger working-class white man.

Peter