Sunday, May 23, 2010

How much have WASPs contributed?

With all the talk about the fall of the WASP, let's look at public opinion about the group. 

General Social Survey participants were asked: "Since the beginning of our country, people of many different races, nationalities, and religions have come here and settled. As I name some of these groups, please tell me if the group has made one of the most important positive contributions to this country (4), an important contribution (3), some contribution (2), or little positive contribution (1) to this community." The numbers listed are the scores assigned to a particular answer.  Here are the mean responses when asked about people of English descent:

Mean positive contribution of English Americans, N = 1,035.

Chinese/Japanese 3.45
English/Welsh 3.40
Jewish 3.16
Scottish 3.16
German 3.14

All Americans 3.04

Irish 2.95
Mexican 2.95
Italian 2.84
Black 2.80
French 2.78
Amerindian 2.65

Smart, successful minority groups give people of English descent more credit than less successful minority groups. You might respond that the low averages of blacks and Amerindians are to be expected, given America's history, but Chinese and Japanese Americans can also point to mistreatment. By the way, there is a one standard deviation difference between the Chinese/Japanese and Amerindians--a very large gap.  


  1. Anonymous10:41 AM

    You've got to cut some slack to the Amerinds and the blacks on the list, given their personal history, but the French? They're just jealous about 1763.

    (And I'm even a Francophile and French speaker.)


  2. Anonymous11:07 AM

    "but Chinese and Japanese Americans can also point to mistreatment"

    True, but you cannot compare to the way Blacks and American Indians have been treated.

    Given recent events and relations, Americans and Jews are likely to ignore or downplay the scientific contributions of Arabs during the Middle Ages.

  3. Haha, the sour grapes from the French is really the funniest part of these stats.

  4. Anonymous8:47 PM

    I'll bet that the strange number for people of French descent is merely the result of a small n= field. France was never a big source of immigrants to America.


  5. Now the Irish--you can figure out why they don't like the Brits. Do the same for German-Americans and I bet you Jews come out way on bottom.

  6. Surprised the Italians are so low. Not sure why they'd be so mad.

  7. It would be interesting to see an "ego index". Which group gives itself the highest rating above how other groups rate their contribution? Which group is most humble?


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