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From Survey to Screengem

Dec 12, 2007

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Reported by

Michel Martin

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times (not quite the worst, but you get the idea).

Our program today veers between the lighthearted and the harder edges of our society.

We start with a new poll (pdf) by New America Media. Polls are always controversial and subject to debate, but we found this one so interesting we felt we had to bring it to you. It's about how African Americans, Latinos and Asians see each OTHER (as well as whites). The pollsters believe it is the first of its kind to ask these groups these questions in this way. It's multilingual. People were interviewed in their language of choice — whether English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese or Tagalong. I cannot possibly summarize all the findings here, but the poll found that each of these groups — black, so-called "brown" and "yellow" — have some very negative attitudes about each other and very different views about race. Large majorities of blacks and Hispanics think racial tension is a real problem in this country; only 37 percent of Asians thought so. Asked whether they would EVER vote for an African American for president, 37 percent of Asians said ... no, they wouldn't.

And nearly half of all Hispanics and Asians said they are afraid of blacks because they are responsible for the majority of crime (I am assuming they didn't mean securities fraud, predatory lending and Enron, but I digress) and nearly half of all blacks said they feel threatened by Latin immigrants.

On the other hand, significant numbers of all groups pushed back against the negative attitudes. And all the groups expressed optimism about the future relations of these groups. Go figure. What does it all mean? We couldn't possibly sort it all out so we made a start. If you have a minute, read the poll for yourself, see what you think, and see if you see areas for further discussion. AND, if you'd like to take part ... the wonder of radio. If we can get you to a telephone we can get you involved in the discussion.

Then...

The Perfect Holiday! The Queen, Latifah, was in the house along with her crew from the new film. It opens today, we had a lot of fun. They stopped by last week so we couldn't keep the love to ourselves. We invited an in-studio audience of NPR folks and friends. Enjoy it! We even had snow for their arrival ... it was so Christmassy!

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