Monday, November 07, 2011

Race and sexual harassment

The Cain sexual harassment scandal makes me wish I had good survey data in order to look, for example, at whether there are racial differences. The Longitudinal Study of Violence Against Women did ask male college students if they have ever used their authority (as boss, teacher, camp counselor, supervisor, etc.) to get a female to engage in unwanted: 1) sexual activities short of intercourse, and 2) intercourse. Here are the percentages of men who answered yes (sample size = 821):

Percent using authority for sex play

Whites 2.3
Blacks 1.4
Others 4.2

Percent using authority for intercourse

Whites 3.0
Blacks 2.8
Others 6.2

None of the differences are significantly different due to the rarity of sexual harassment. Keep in mind that blacks and others (who are mostly Hispanic) are less likely to have positions of authority so their rates would probably be higher if they equaled whites in leadership positions. Plus, validity research has shown that black males are less willing than whites to admit to deviant behavior.

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