Monday, May 17, 2010

More on ethnocentrism

A reader in the last post on ethnocentrism rightly suggests that people might get confused by my analysis. It showed that, for whites, believing that your ethnicity is important to who you are is (weakly) associated with cooler feelings toward other groups.

The largest negative correlation is Jews toward whites which could be interpreted to mean that Jewish folks like whites less than other groups. That is incorrect: the negative correlation means that Jewish ethnocentrism predicts cooler outgroup feelings better than other ethnocentrisms. In other words, when it comes to disliking others, there is a sharper difference between ethnocentric and non-ethnoncentric Jews than their counterparts in other groups. The correlation says nothing about average levels of coolness. Here is the mean coolness score toward whites listed by one's ethnic group.

Mean coolness score toward whites

Filipino 3.53
Amerindian 3.49
Black 3.36
Chinese 3.21
Asian Indian 3.10
Scottish 2.90
Swedish 2.80
English/Welsh 2.78
Russian 2.77
Mexican 2.77
German 2.71
Irish 2.52
Puerto Rican 2.43
Polish 2.28
Jewish 2.28
Arabic 2.12

Asians, Amerindians, and blacks like whites the least. The difference between the Filipino and Jewish means, for example, is eight-tenths of a standard deviation--a big difference. But even Filipinos--the coolest group--have a pretty warm average. Respondents could give any answer between "very warm" (1) and "very cool" (9), so 3.5 is still pretty warm.


  1. It seems that the range from 2.71 to 2.90 is the "normal" range of coolness towards whites, the range of Scots through Germans of coolness to other whites.. Here's the absolute value of differences from 2.80, the midpoint of that white-on-white norm:

    Filipino 0.73
    Amerindian 0.69
    Arabic 0.68
    Black 0.56
    Jewish 0.52
    Polish 0.52
    Chinese 0.41
    Puerto Rican 0.37
    Asian Indian 0.30
    Irish 0.28
    Scottish 0.10
    Germans 0.09
    Mexicans 0.03
    Russians 0.03
    English/Welsh 0.02
    Swedish 0.00

    Anecdotally and based upon life experience, this makes more sense than the suggestion that individuals of Arabic and Jewish ancestry are warmer to Russian, Nordic and Anglo-Saxon American whites than the individuals of those whites' own national heritage.

  2. I wonder what explains the coolness of Filipinos towards whites. Stereotypically, I t hink of Filipinos as liking whites (since we were a lot less mean to them than were the Japanese). I wonder if it is a generational or place of birth thing, with younger, American-born Filipinos liking whites less. Casual empiricism leads me to believe that there are big differences between American born and immigrant Filipinos---it's amazing, for example, how many more old than young Filipinos you see at Mass.

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