Friday, March 13, 2009

Also, whites support free speech

++Addition++Razib, (obviously angry that Asians only win a consolation prize for loving filthy commi pigs!) goes on a post-modern rant about how whitey has always used and continues to use language as a cudgel to bludgeon non-whites and so predictably does not want any restraining force applied to it.

Of course he's having fun, but what is really humorous is how some of his readers are taking hook, line, and sinker. In their defense, sarcasm and facetiousness are often difficult to detect in text, and Razib is a thoughtful weaver of ideas with the ability to lead even many of the sharpest minds in whatever direction he wants them to go. Fortunately for his more mortal votaries, he is mostly a benevolent genius who rarely leads us astray.


Razib's recent post entitled "Young, agnostic, moderately liberal & smart support free speech" is self-explanatory. He focuses on four items from the GSS with huge respondent pools. They question whether or not people believe racists, homosexuals, communists, and atheists should be allowed to speak publicly.

He might also add "white" to the title. Since 2000, the GSS has broken racial descriptors into 16 categories, allowing for the five major Census groupings to be assessed on a wide range of things, including support for (or at least tolerance of) free speech.

In addition to the four items Razib looked at, the question of whether or not militarists should be allowed to speak is also included here* (click for higher resolution).

Allow homosexuals to speak?

Allow racists to speak?

Allow atheists to speak?

Allow militarists to speak?

Allow communists to speak?

Support for free speech

Whites are the stoutest defenders of free speech. The ongoing demographic transition the US is experiencing will dampen support for it. The only exception to whites taking the lead is for the question regarding communists. The high Asian number is driven in large part by especially strong support among those of Chinese descent, who hold unrestrictive attitudes toward speech generally. Forty of 43 (93%) favor allowing communists to speak publicly. I'm not sure if this would make Mao proud or not.

Although generally assumed to be perpetually squelched, homosexuals and atheists are accorded respect by solid majorities from every group.

Militarists and communists are accorded less. As the post-indepedence US has no history of military coups, it comes as a bit of surprise to me more than one-third of the population does not think a militarist should be allowed to speak publicly. That fewer than half of Hispanics, given Latin America's sordid history with military regimes, are intolerant of such speech isn't surprising, however. I was in kindergarten when the Berlin Wall came down, so the relatively low level of tolerance for communists is something I only sense in an abstract, historical way. The Cold War is probably one of those things you just had to be there for!

Of course, racists--evil incarnate itself!--are the least tolerable of the five. Still, more than half the country opposes muzzling these belials. Freedom of speech remains a strong tenet of American society.


* A few technical notes: Alaskan natives are included in the Native American group (N = 55). The Asian group consists of those who are Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese or "other Asian" (N = 191). Those who self-identify as "other race" are included in the Hispanic group, as 97% of those who elect the same in the US Census are Hispanic (N = 369). The white N = 4,579. The black N = 728.

The number of respondents varies a little by question (the totals broken out above are the smallest for each group across the five questions). The smallest total sample is for the question about allowing communists to speak, for which 5,920 answers are recorded.

The graphs are all presented with a y-value minimum of 45 and y-value maximum of 85 to make distinctions among groups clearer and also to show the differences in the total level of support for various 'societal malcontents' (ie, racists are accorded the least tolerance, homosexuals the most).

The "level of support for free speech" graph is simply the average percentage supporting free speech for each group from the previous five questions.


Jason Malloy said...

The only exception to whites taking the lead is for the question regarding communists. The high Asian number is driven in large part by especially strong support among those of Chinese descent, who hold unrestrictive attitudes toward speech generally.

Except I was surprised your chart shows Asians are more restrictive about atheists than whites are. This is odd given that Asians are a lot less religious. 38% of Asians are non-religious compared with 10% of whites, and yet non-religious Asians are just as restrictive about atheist speech as religious whites.

Atheist speech allowed
Non-religious whites: 90.6%
Religious Asians: 73.5%
Religious Whites: 70.4%
Non-religious Asians: 69.4%

Support for atheist free speech is actually higher among religious Asians than non-religious Asians. A paradox of acculturation?

Also It's strange that 93% of the Chinese allow Communist speech, yet only 69% allow atheist speech. Atheism is mandatory for party membership in China.

togo said...

Militarists? There hasn't been an open
militarist (can anybody name one? ) in the Western democracies since the Great War. TR (despite his Nobel Peace Prize) was probably the last one in the US.

Even warmongers like Wilson and FDR claimed to be peace-lovers. The deranged LBJ occasionally made a mindlessly belligerent statement (e,g.
"nailing the coonskin to the wall"), but sounded like a dove on his famous tapes.

Does anyone really expect a new Hitler or Mussolini to arise? For a long time now militarism has always come in the guise of anti-militarism.

Audacious Epigone said...


I wouldn't have been surprised if the difference had come from religious whites being more tolerant of atheists than religious Asians, but it is perplexing that the difference comes from the relative intolerance of irreligious Asians relative to irreligious whites.

Wouldn't marking out communism to be squelched hit closer to home than atheism, though? It very well may just be my peculiar bias, but when I think of Chinese society I think of communism before atheism.


Well put. I would think that to most people a militarist is only an abstraction--how many actually know someone who would self-identify as such?

Anonymous said...

Asians appear to be pretty good (which is why they also do well in America).

It is, as usual, blacks who are fucked up.

96% of Blacks voted for Obama. Just 48% of non-blacks voted for Obama (Whites + Asians + Hispanics).

Guess why we have this monster as President?

Anonymous said...

Why did you use a black bar to depict African Americans? Don't you know that is racist?

And don't call a spade a spade either. Using the word 'spade' is racist.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 3/14/09 3:59 PM

Please try and be a bit more niggardly with your criticism.

al fin said...

Razib can have fun with post-modern satire, because such a high proportion of his "science blogs GNXP" readership are gonzo PC post modernist zombies. "Free speech for me but not for thee" types.

The irony is always lost on such readers, which is why they are so much fun to play with.

Fat Knowledge said...

Not related, but I thought you would find these studies interesting if you haven't already seen them: High IQ Linked To Reduced Risk Of Death.

Audacious Epigone said...


Yes, blacks were crucial to Obama's victory. For a Democrat in the general election, that's not novel--Bush 41 beat Clinton in the non-black vote (ignoring Perot entirely).

The primaries are where new ground was broken. Without blacks, Hillary would have very easily won the nomination.


I am an equal-opportunity applier of stereotypical color assignments. Look, I'm white, but I'm not as white as those bars! I'm somewhere between peach and beige, really...


Indeed, the science blog readers are a lot further left than the GNXP classic readers are.

Ron in L.A. said...

These charts are not up to your standards for clarity in presentation. By choosing 45-85% you save some pixels, but it the differences look all out of proportion, and suggests a very low level of support for a proposition that actually has majority support. Your text is OK, but a casual glance at the chart gives the wrong idea.

This is one of the visual tricks one expects from the global warming alarmists, but a statistician and seeker of the truth like you should know better.

Audacious Epigone said...


It's not meant to be a trick. I made it a point to explain the choice of parameters and keep them equal for all graphs with that concern in mind. I appreciate you allowing me to reiterate it here, though.