Do Americans Really Want Diversity?

Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, February 2000

Diversity

Diversity of religion, language, culture and especially race is now one of the official benefits of living in the United States. From the President on down, public officials glory in the transformation of our country from a European nation into an Afro-Hispanic mish-mash. It is impossible to find a mainstream defense of homogeneity or even of free association, now that every American institution and major organ of communication is an ardent branch of the church of diversity.

But what do ordinary Americans think about diversity? Or at least what are they prepared to tell a poll-taker about it? Last December, the New Century Foundation, which publishes American Renaissance, hired a polling company to conduct a telephone survey. We had Opinion Research Corporation International of Princeton, New Jersey, ask a representative sample of about 1,000 Americans the following questions and propose the following possible answers:

(1) Would you rather live in a neighborhood where your race is in the majority, or one in which it is a minority?

a. Majority.

b. Minority.

c. Makes no difference.

(2) The Census Bureau predicts that if current levels of non-European immigration continue, in 40 or 50 years whites will become a minority in the United States. Overall, do you think this will be a good thing for the country or a bad thing for the country?

a. Good thing for the country.

b. Bad thing for the country.

c. Makes no difference.

(3) Until the 1960s, immigration to the United States was overwhelmingly from Europe. Now, with large-scale immigration from non-European countries, the United States is becoming more diverse in terms of race, language, religion and culture. Do you think this a good thing for the country or a bad thing for the country.

a. Good thing for the country.

b. Bad thing for the country.

c. Makes no difference.

The replies, tabulated in percentages and separated by race, are displayed in the three left-hand graphs below (the percentages of “don’t know”s and “refused to answer”s are small and are not displayed). Disregarding for now the three graphs on the right, what is most striking about these results is the number of people who claim that diversity-related changes make no difference. In the top left graph, for example, we find that 70 percent of whites and about 80 percent of blacks and Hispanics say the racial makeup of their neighborhood doesn’t matter. Likewise, for the second and third questions, the largest overall answer is “diversity” makes no difference.

Can we trust these answers? No. It is impossible to believe that 70 percent of whites don’t care whether they live in a white or black neighborhood. That, however, is the fashionable answer to a sensitive question, and when a pollster throws out the lifeline by offering “it doesn’t matter” as a possible answer, whites and non-whites alike gladly reach for it.

At the same time, since the poll made it easy not to take a position, the people who actually expressed an opinion were probably being honest—and their opinions are significant. By a margin of 26 to one (26 percent to one percent) whites would rather live in neighborhoods where they are the racial majority. Not surprisingly, non-whites are less adamant about being in the majority. Everyone knows white neighborhoods are desirable, and blacks and Hispanics probably assume that if they are going to be a minority, the majority is going to be white. Even so, almost four times as many Hispanics want to be a majority as want to be a minority (11 percent to three percent). For blacks the numbers are eleven percent to eight percent.

As for a white-minority nation, whites oppose it four to one. By a slim margin blacks want whites to become a minority, but Hispanics do not.

For all groups, the majority of people who expressed a preference say they think diversity is a good thing, with Hispanics leading by a considerable margin. Not surprisingly, whites (at 25 percent) are the most likely to say diversity is bad for the country.

Taken together, these three responses show that whites, at least, have contradictory opinions about “diversity.” They are in favor of it as a general proposition, but they don’t like its actual consequences, that is, more non-white neighborhoods and minority status for whites. This contradiction is not hard to understand. People have heard over and over that diversity is good, so they think they agree. What they have not heard over and over is what “diversity” really means. Whites don’t want to become a minority and they don’t want more neighborhoods to go south. They probably don’t want the other things “diversity” brings—more people who can’t speak English, more Santeria, more anti-white hatred, fewer white playmates for their children, more non-white television “role models,” etc.—but the poll did not go into all that.

The black replies are the most consistent. Slightly more than half want to live in black-majority neighborhoods and a slim majority thinks it would be good for the country for whites to become a minority. It is therefore perfectly consistent for blacks to be in favor of more racial diversity.

Hispanics want to be the majority in their neighborhoods, and since they are the largest current source of it it is no surprise they favor diversity. Why do they oppose whites becoming a minority? Perhaps they understand better than blacks that it is whites who have made this country a desirable place to live and that America would go downhill if whites disappeared.

What about the people who claim that none of this makes any difference? It is tempting to think many of them are lying. People who read AR are more concerned about racial questions than most Americans, but it is still hard to believe that more than half of respondents of all racial groups really think it makes no difference if their neighborhoods change race or whites become a minority.

Therefore we decided to ask Opinion Research to ask a different but statistically comparable sample of Americans the very same questions but not to offer “makes no difference” as a possible answer. We hoped to get more realistic answers by forcing respondents to take a position. The results of the second poll are displayed in the three graphs on the right side, below. It is striking that even when the polltaker did not offer it as a possibility, “makes no difference” was the largest overall winner in two out of the three questions. Are Americans really as indifferent as they say they are to these issues or are they once again hiding their opinions? It’s not easy to say.

Whites are the group we would most expect to be hiding their opinions, but when the easy way out of “makes no difference” is taken away from them, respondents who dodged the issue when they had the chance now take positions that are inconsistent. For example, if we compare the top two graphs asking the question about neighborhoods, when the “makes no difference” option wasn’t offered, the number of whites who said the race of the neighborhood didn’t matter dropped 26 percent—from 70 percent to 44 percent. And which way did those 26 percent go? Most of them gave the politically incorrect answer. Those saying they wanted a majority-white neighborhood jumped from 26 percent to 50 percent, while those claiming they want to be a minority went from one percent to only three percent. On the basis of this single answer, we would assume that a large number of whites who took the easy way out in the first poll were hiding unfashionable opinions that were smoked out in the second poll.

However, the white fence-sitters sorted themselves out very differently on the second and third questions, largely giving the politically correct answers. To the question about whether whites becoming a minority would be good or bad, the number saying it would be bad scarcely budged, going from 28 percent to 31 percent, while the number who said it would be good more than doubled from seven percent to 15 percent. Are true opinions being flushed out or are whites hiding behind the politically correct answer? It’s not possible to know. (It’s worth noting that this was the question that got by far the largest percentage of “don’t know” answers. For the first poll, when whites were offered the “makes no difference” option, six percent said they didn’t know. When the “makes no difference” option was taken away, that number rose to 15 percent.)

For the question about the overall benefits of diversity, nine percent of the white fence-sitters moved over to the politically correct, “good for the country” answer while only four came out against diversity. It is hard to know which poll gives the more accurate picture of what Americans really think.

Hispanics seem to be giving reasonably consistent answers. They are the most likely to say that it would be a good thing for whites to become a minority, and are most likely to say “diversity” is a good thing. They are currently the main source of “diversity,” so they are bound to like it. And at least in the second poll they don’t seem very bothered by the prospect of whites becoming a minority.

Here we have a classic group conflict: Hispanic advance comes at the expense of whites. Not even today’s browbeaten whites are very happy at that prospect of decline, but Hispanics don’t mind seeing their numbers grow. And, as a general matter, Hispanics are free to express their preferences about the changing population but whites are supposed to keep their mouths shut.

Opinion Research analyzed the answers in terms of respondent characteristics like age, sex, education, and income but the results were not particularly striking. For example, men and women gave similar replies to the first two questions, but five to six percent more women than men gave the politically correct answer to the third question about general diversity. Perhaps women were less able to grasp the contradiction between favoring diversity in the abstract and opposing its actual consequences.

Older Americans are consistently less “liberal” than young people. In the first poll, 37 percent of respondents age 65 and over thought the prospect of whites becoming a minority was a bad thing; only 14 percent of 18- to 24-years-olds did. In the second poll, 51 percent of the youngest group thought “diversity” in general was a good thing whereas only 32 percent of the oldest groups thought so. Americans appear to wake up to reality as they grow older. There were equivalent differences in the answers to all the questions.

Interestingly, the more education Americans have, the more likely they are to say they want to live in neighborhoods where theirs is the majority race. In the first poll, 31 percent of college grads but only 16 percent of high school dropouts wanted to be the majority. At the same time, perhaps hypocritically, college grads are considerably more likely to favor “diversity” in the abstract—43 percent and 54 percent in the two polls, versus 18 percent 26 percent for high school dropouts.

No matter how these results are interpreted, it is clear that only a minority of whites are prepared to express to a poll-taker views that we wish were more widespread. Still, we are by no means a tiny minority. According to the second poll, half of all whites don’t want to live in minority neighborhoods, nearly a third dislike the idea of becoming a minority, and a quarter say that diversity is bad for the country. They say these things in the teeth of very strong official opposition to these views. There is no doubt that some whites—perhaps many—were afraid to tell a stranger what they really think. This means we still have a substantial base of racially conscious whites who, if mobilized, could have a tremendous influence on the future of our country.

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