Thursday, April 21, 2005

Another Study Finds Serious Woes???

On the heels of the most recent revelation that the CDC over-estimated the number of obesity-related deaths by a factor of FOURTEEN, I am evermore leery of "studies," but this one deserves some special recognition.

So, the Boston Globe informs us, "Hub race woes serious, study finds."

Woah. Sixties bussing all over again? Uh, no. The story begins:

"Despite metro Boston's increasing diversity, 80 percent of African-Americans and roughly half of Hispanics polled recently said that racial discrimination remains a somewhat serious or very serious problem that can cost jobs or promotions and make others feel unwelcome at sporting events and shopping centers.

More than half of African-Americans and almost four of 10 Latinos said they face day-to-day discrimination at least a few times a month -- for instance, by being treated with less respect, offered worse service, or called names."

Less respect than what? Worse service than what? I have news for the participants of this "poll." Service is terrible everywhere. Service personnel have no respect for anyone. Get used to it!

Seriously, I couldn't help but wonder who made up these questions:

Q: Because of your race or ethnic background, how often have you felt out of place or unwelcome at...

a. Professional sports venues?
b. Museums?
c. Shopping areas?
d. Restaurants?

Not, "have you ever, and if so, how often."

And how does an ethnic person know that the "worse" service s/he is getting is because of...race or ethnicity?

And what does it mean to "feel out of place?" Or "unwelcomed?"

This is apparently a study on how 403 African-Americans and Hispanics feel, and that's valuable information to someone, I suppose. But it tells us nothing about what it is about the environment that makes them feel the way they do. And so, I think it is, at the very least, atrocious headline-writing for the Boston Globe to trumpet, at the top of the Metro section, HUB RACE WOES SERIOUS.

One of the authors of the study, Josephine Louie, lamented about the lack of integration in Boston communities:

"Not only do people live in seperate towns and neighborhoods, but they socialize in different places. You go to a symphony, it's a sea of white faces. You go to nightclubs, it's either all-white or all-latino or all-black."

I wonder if Ms/ Louie might be open to the notion that this is not because of deliberate racism on the part of whites, but simply because people of the same culture prefer to be together. And that's not a bad thing. In fact, there is this nugget in the back quarter of the article:

"Wilbur Rich, a Wellesley College professor of political science who reviewed the study before its release, said Boston is not unlike other cities. 'People are sort of escaping to be among folks in their class,' he said.

And he can relate, somewhat; as one of a smattering of black faces on campus, he lives in Wellesley but continues to go to a multiracial church in Cambridge, rather than seek an Episcopal congregation closer to home."

Now, is Professor Rish going to the Cambridge Church because he prefers to, or because he would feel "out of place" in a Wellesley Episcopal Church?

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