Survey Finds Jews Less Prejudiced Toward Blacks Than Most Americans
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Survey Finds Jews Less Prejudiced Toward Blacks Than Most Americans

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Jews are less likely than other non-black Americans to hold anti-black views, according to a poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League.

In contrast to whites, Asians and Latinos, Jews reject virtually all of the traditional negative stereotypes associated with blacks, the survey found.

By the survey’s calculations, 29 percent of non-black Americans fall into the category of being “most prejudiced” against blacks.

Twenty-six percent fall into the middle category, and 45 percent merit inclusion in the “least prejudiced” category.

Jews, by comparison, are relatively free from prejudice.

Seventeen percent of Jews are among the “most prejudiced” Americans, a similar 23 percent are in the mid-level category, and a majority — 60 percent — are among the least prejudiced Americans.

The telephone poll of 1,600 Americans was conducted over several evenings in October and November 1992, by the Boston-based surveying firm of Marttila & Kiley.

The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

The study was commissioned by ADL to be a companion to the national poll on public attitudes toward American Jews that it conducted in May 1992.

Both surveys revealed a high correlation between negative attitudes toward specific minority groups, such as blacks and Jews, and a general intolerance of all racial, ethnic, cultural and social diversity.

And, as the anti-Semitism poll revealed, those Americans who hold the most negative attitudes toward Jews are also among the most likely to harbor negative feelings toward blacks, immigrants, illegal aliens, homosexuals and women.

According to the new survey, Jews are also more likely than the public at large to be sensitive to discrimination against blacks.

For example, 63 percent of Jews surveyed reject the notion that blacks receive the same pay as whites for the same work, while just 40 percent of non-black Americans rejected the idea.


Another illustration is the finding that while a majority of non-black Americans — 58 percent — say that the judicial system generally treats blacks as fairly as whites of the same income and educational level, just 36 percent of Jews agreed.

More than half of all Jews — 53 percent — believe that a black person is more likely to receive the death penalty than a white would for committing the same crime. Just one-third of respondents from the non-black population — 34 percent — believes this to be true.

Jews are also more likely than non-black Americans to believe that a lack of good schools for black Americans limits their opportunities in the long run.

More than three out of four Jews — 77 percent, compared with 59 percent of non-blacks — say that public schools in predominantly black areas are inferior to schools in mainly white areas.

Of those Jews, 71 percent believe that this seriously limits blacks’ future opportunities. Only half of non-black respondents agreed.

The survey found that for the first time in four decades, young non-black adults are more prejudiced than their older counterparts.

The most prejudiced views are held by non-black Americans under age 30 and over age 50. The least prejudiced Americans are 30-49, the survey found.

Younger people may be more bigoted because “they lack some of the experiences that the baby boomers have had, they don’t have the memory and consciousness” of the struggles endured during the heyday of the civil rights era, said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

“The older generation assumes that the experiences and feelings they have would pass through the genes. But they don’t, and we have to make up for it through teaching about it,” said Foxman.

Education was found to be the most important factor in determining views on race. There was a high correlation between a lack of education and prejudice.

“Education continues to be the only antidote (to bigotry) we have,” said Foxman.

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