Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Poll: Whites Happier Than Minorities

Check this out, from the newspaper today:

Whites happier than minorities
AP, MTV find disparities in races

By Larry McShane and Trevor TompsonAssociated PressTuesday, August 21, 2007

NEW YORK -- From their relationships to their jobs to their money -- even from they time they first roll out of bed -- young white Americans are happier with life than their minority counterparts.
According to an extensive survey of 1,280 people ages 13-24 by The Associated Press and MTV, 72 percent of whites say they are happy with life in general, compared with 51 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of blacks.

No surprise
"It doesn't surprise me," said Martin Carpenter, 21, a black New Jersey resident. "There's a lot of issues out there for African-American young adults. You can still go to certain places and feel uncomfortable, like you don't belong there."
Race hurts, helps: Martin's feeling about racism, real or perceived, was echoed in the survey: 28 percent of minorities believe race will hurt them in the quest for a better life. Among whites, 20 percent feel their race will help in getting ahead.
Names too: Destiny Brown, 17, a black Virginia high school student, said she has friends who were already passed over for work simply because their names sounded different: "I know sometimes your name -- people will give you a hard time when you try to get a job."
The numbers

Consistent: The difference in levels of happiness is not always stark, but it's consistent. Among whites, 67 percent usually wake up happy in the morning; for minorities, the figure is 61 percent.
Those numbers extend into all aspects of life:
Parents: Sixty-six percent of minorities are happy with their relationships with mom and dad, compared with 79 percent of whites.
Sex: Sixty percent of white youths are happy with their sex lives, compared with 46 percent of minorities. Both groups are about equal on the sexual activity scale.
Friends: Eighty-one percent of minorities are happy with their relationships with friends, compared with 88 percent of whites.
Jobs: Fifty-one percent of minorities are happy with their jobs, compared with 64 percent of whites.
Money: Forty-four percent of minorities are unhappy with the money they have, compared with 35 percent of whites.
Grades: Sixty-three percent of minorities are happy with their school grades, while 73 percent of whites are satisfied with their marks. Barely half of the minority respondents say school makes them happy, contrasted with 60 percent of the whites.
Secrets to happiness
The study also found a split in how the races perceive the keys to happiness.
Money, family: Among minorities, the most important factor was lack of financial worries, chosen by one in four respondents. For whites, one in five people chose a good family.
Carpenter, one of the survey participants, spoke for the majority of minority youths who feel their race will not cause problems later in life.
"I don't think so," he said. "I'm thinking on a smaller scale. In my community, it's not that big a deal."

The AP-MTV poll was conducted by Knowledge Networks Inc. from April 16 to 23. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

I must say that this is a stupid poll/article. I mean, I am sure minorities are not as happy as white people are. And why not? Why wouldn't white people be happier?

Just a few things, though.

One, the poll is a bit misleading, since--although it tells you in the article that people ages 13-24 are polled--the title makes a sweeping generalization about blacks and whites on the whole based on a poll of, essentially, kids.

Speaking of that...um, there's a big difference between being 13 and 24. Why would you include so many ages, with approximately two entirely different age ranges? And, not to be disrespectful towards people who are about 13-18 or 19 years old, but...they are just not the people to poll on an issue like this. If they had seriously wanted to find significant differences between minorities and whites while being able to draw a legitimate conclusion about the races and happiness, they would have polled people in their 20s and up.

I was actually thinking before I read this article about how my attitude towards race, whites and other non-blacks, as well as my view towards life in general, has changed a lot since before college. I'm definitely more unhappy than I was back then and [probably because I] am a lot more racially aware, and I think that's part of the reason why--and this is my third issue with the article/poll--the percentage differences they quote aren't even all that significant. When you're talking about a difference such as 61% vs 67%...big whoop. It's like they're being nitpicky, just trying to find a difference between whites and minorities.

I've been thinking about this lately, somewhat, because I've been reading this online forum discussion about whether or not white men like black women...which, even after reading many of the responses, I still believe the answer generally is no. I think many white guys see black women whom they think are attractive. I think the ones who actually would approach, let alone seriously date or marry a black woman, are in the minority. Seeing someone you think is attractive is a bit different from liking them, and I get this from something I've figured out about myself. I think there are so many attractive white males. If I'm being honest, I probably find white men more physically attractive than black men. Of course, I probably find Asians and Latinos even more attractive than white men. That's just my personal taste.

However...with white men, it's everything else that ruins it for me. And I think this has a lot to do with why so many white men wouldn't even think of trying something with a black woman, even if he thinks she's pretty. It's the stereotypes. So I thought about it, and I think that I could get serious with someone from every race and ethnicity except white American males. We've all got stereotypes of just about every group, and the ideas I associate with white men would just ruin an interracial relationship with one of them for me, no matter how he has proved--or has tried to prove--to me that he's not "like that." I can't stop associating arrogant, overprivileged/spoiled brat, evil, racist, serial killing, sexually perverted...and on and on...with these guys, as wrong as it may be...and I have found that I have a harder time seeing white males as individuals than I do seeing people from any other group as such. I think that's very much the same problem a lot of whites, Asians, Latinos and, yes, even some blacks, have with black people. Yes, I know white guys who do seem to go against the stereotypical image I have of white men, and, yet, they just haven't put a dent in changing that mindset I have.

How does this relate to the poll? Well, back to the "with age comes wisdom" point. I have not always thought of white men this way, and I wasn't taught to think of white men this way. I discovered one day, just from ranting and raving to my mother on the phone about my perception of white males as arrogant and thinking they're smarter and better than everyone else after having done enough time in law school (and, yes, I mean "doing time") around these kinds of guys, that she basically agrees. But she'd never said anything like that as I was growing up. However, up until about the 11th grade or so, I had a preference for white males. I was open to dating everyone, though, because the first three people I dated were Asian.

Still, the older I got, the more my mind closed. Why? Learning history and realizing all the different ways in which race is still an issue in society. I'm not sure if I've written about this in my blog yet, but, like I said, white guys were my preference, I was open to everyone...most of my good friends were white until I took AP History and AP European History. After that, for a while, I felt as if I didn't want to have anything to do with white people. I didn't have a close white friend again until the end of 2001 (and this wouldn't even have happened had we met in person rather than on the internet, discussing working together on some music--I told her just a few months ago that, as a white, blue-eyed, blonde-haired female, she and I probably wouldn't have been friends any other way); I took those history courses in, oh, about the 1997-1998 school year. My friends, after those courses, tended to be black or Asian, and I actually had those Asian boyfriends and the Asian girlfriend around and after the time of those courses. I didn't feel comfortable around white people anymore, whereas I used to feel very comfortable. I don't think I've ever felt comfortable around white people since then.

And don't get me wrong--the comment about age and wisdom doesn't mean that I think that letting knowledge of history affect how you think about certain races or growing less receptive to certain racial groups are wise. I think it's hard to help it sometimes, and learning more about race--past and present--and the stereotypes I have a hard time letting go of about white men really make me feel helpless. But in referring to wisdom, I do mean getting real about what's going on in the world and getting beyond thinking about race in terms of history vs now. Legal segregation was only about 40 years ago--why would we think that racism is gone now when we have people alive who lived through it and are passing down stories about Mississippi marches, like my mother does? Not only that, if those people are still alive, then why wouldn't anti-integregationists who gassed blacks and burned crosses on their lawns still be alive, passing down what they think? Why wouldn't we still be dealing with racism?

So, of course minorities aren't as happy as whites. And if you ask those of us who are old enough to have really thought about and/or experienced why not, you'd get a higher percentage of minorities who think race hurts in the quest for a better life and a lower percentage of minorities who are happy with the jobs they have. I mean, where could a 16-year old be working that is really all that bad? Is he or she seriously being kept from climbing the McDonalds corporate ladder? Silly.

One more thing about the happiness...anyone ever watched that show "Black Men Revealed" on TVOne? On the episode about black men dating white women, this one guy commented that white women are more pleasant when men approach them than black women are. I believe this, generally. Okay, now, anyone remember my complaining about the other female I worked with this summer? I realized near the end of my job why she bugged me so much, aside from being too "perfect." She was too cheerful, at least for me. I mentioned this to my mother, and she said, "You're just not a morning person."

Yes, I do like to be left alone in the mornings. I don't particularly feel like making myself smile and greet everyone I see. If I could have, I would have gone directly to a room and locked myself in it by myself. Better yet, I would have come in every day at about noon or 1pm. So, I began to notice that she would have a big smile on her face every morning, would greet me in this annoyingly cheerful (borderline airhead-ish) voice and would sometimes want to carry on a conversation. And, eventually, I would just find myself thinking, "Dude, what the hell...? It's too early to be this damn happy!" And then, it was, "Geez, why are white women so damn perky?!" Then I thought..."This is one of the reasons black men like them more" because I remembered that show. Then I thought, "Of course they're perky...they're white. What the hell do they have to be damn unhappy about?"

This is, of course, a play on the idea that white people have no serious problems, which is, of course, not true all the time...just more true for them than us, I believe...