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From Survey to Screengem

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times (not quite the worst, but you get the idea).

Our program today veers between the lighthearted and the harder edges of our society.

We start with a new poll (pdf) by New America Media. Polls are always controversial and subject to debate, but we found this one so interesting we felt we had to bring it to you. It's about how African Americans, Latinos and Asians see each OTHER (as well as whites). The pollsters believe it is the first of its kind to ask these groups these questions in this way. It's multilingual. People were interviewed in their language of choice — whether English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese or Tagalong. I cannot possibly summarize all the findings here, but the poll found that each of these groups — black, so-called "brown" and "yellow" — have some very negative attitudes about each other and very different views about race. Large majorities of blacks and Hispanics think racial tension is a real problem in this country; only 37 percent of Asians thought so. Asked whether they would EVER vote for an African American for president, 37 percent of Asians said ... no, they wouldn't.

And nearly half of all Hispanics and Asians said they are afraid of blacks because they are responsible for the majority of crime (I am assuming they didn't mean securities fraud, predatory lending and Enron, but I digress) and nearly half of all blacks said they feel threatened by Latin immigrants.

On the other hand, significant numbers of all groups pushed back against the negative attitudes. And all the groups expressed optimism about the future relations of these groups. Go figure. What does it all mean? We couldn't possibly sort it all out so we made a start. If you have a minute, read the poll for yourself, see what you think, and see if you see areas for further discussion. AND, if you'd like to take part ... the wonder of radio. If we can get you to a telephone we can get you involved in the discussion.


The Perfect Holiday! The Queen, Latifah, was in the house along with her crew from the new film. It opens today, we had a lot of fun. They stopped by last week so we couldn't keep the love to ourselves. We invited an in-studio audience of NPR folks and friends. Enjoy it! We even had snow for their arrival ... it was so Christmassy!



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Regarding the discussion on race relations (12/12), I was a bit annoyed that an Indian (Vijay Prashad) was given the opportunity to comment. When will a sure enough BLACK person get a chance? You know, the person who is presumed to be a shoplifter JUST BECAUSE HE/SHE IS BLACK; the person who is presume unqualified JUST BECAUSE HE/SHE IS BLACK. The darker one's complexion, the more likely one is to experience prejudice. Every other race knows that supporting and promoting negative stereotypes about Blacks is the best way to curry favor with Whites.
The truth is that ALL races feel that the worse thing to be is a Black person. The darker you are the more vile you will be thought to be. Even Black people believe this. That's why we kill each other over nothing, abuse our bodies with drugs, infect each other with deadly diseases (HIV/AIDS), commit crimes against each other, don't support each other, and on and on.
Racists and White Supremacists have accomplished their mission: Blacks are in self-destruct mode and too many of us don't even care enough to do anything about our demise as a race.

Sent by blackremnant | 10:54 PM | 12-12-2007

I really liked the interview with the cast of The Perfect Holiday. That was very well done.

Sent by ernise | 10:47 AM | 12-13-2007

I really don't know what it reflects about me or America when I say I was not surprised by the poll numbers from New America Media. I just wish more time was spent discussing the issues yesterday . . . I mean less than 13 minutes given to the segment were barely enough to scratch the surface about America's critical race issue that dominated this year's headlines and the Presidential campaigns.

Other than that, I enjoyed the segment immensely. I agree with one of your guests, Vijay Praschard about his theory that most immigrants don't think they've experienced racism but consider Americans as rude. I laughed out loud when he talked about some Indians and other cultures feeling the need to change their names.

As a first generation American-born individual in my family with a unique name, I have to nativigate among a few cultures. Over five years ago, in my professional world, I was introduced to a new employee who was black by my then boss. We exchanged pleasantries and that was that, until a few hours later when I got a rude awakening. I walked into the lunch room to get a cup of tea where the said new employee was having lunch with another colleague. The new employee asked me if there was another name I was called other than "Moji." I asked him what he meant because I was really surprised by the question. He said "Well "Moji" is not your typical American name like a "Charlie" or "Mary" . . .so I just want to know if you prefer been called another name." I looked at him silent for a few seconds as I stirred sugar in my tea. Then I replied "you know Mr. J-, you're right my name is not a typical American name, but so are some of your Black American names like Laquisha, Sheniqua and Moeshas. I believe if you could say those, you could call me "Moji." Mr. J- was speechless and my other colleague almost choked on his food from laughing on my way out.

Sent by Moji | 11:12 AM | 12-13-2007

Michel Martin, & "Tell Me More", thanks for doing the piece on inter-ethnic relations. I live in the Bay Area & was shocked by the Asian columnist who wrote the article "Why I Hate Blacks". It created a firestorm of protest from the Black community here in San Francisco & the greater Bay Area.

I have to say, I was taken aback by his article, but down deep, I knew he was expressing what many Asians harbored about African Americans. These things are unspoken for the most part, but they are "FELT", by many
African American folks, when dealing with Asians (not all) but far too many for my comfort zone...

I applaud the New American Media for doing this ground breaking survey, & "Tell Me More" for giving it some "Air Time"; which I feel it would take several shows to really do the subject justice. Which I hope you & "Tell Me More" will consider doing.

In fact this has been an issue close to my heart ... for many years now. I felt that there needed to be a dialogue between African Americans, Latinos & Asian Americans on how we see & relate to one another. It would
be great if the dialogue/survey could have included Arab Americans & Native Americans, who we seem to have forgotten , "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind", so to speak. Well, hopefully they will be included in the next survey.

I remember when than, President Bill Clinton was doing his "Town Hall Meetings On Race", the subject of how minorities viewed each other surfaced in one of the meetings, only to be given scant attention before they where back with the Black white divide &discussion; I was sorely disappointed!

One would think, that the San Francisco Bay Aera would be quite evolved when it comes to multiculral relations; I've attended many workshops over the years dealing with multicultural themes, only to be left with, what was that about? They are usually the same old tired exercises, that
only scratch the surface, for everyone is trying to be at their political correctness best, for to speak the truth would be too scary for most, that attend these workshops. So in essence, I find them to be just
"Feel Good Sessions", with a "Big Group Hug" at the end! Every one seems to busy tip toeing around the issue's for any real meanful dialogue to take place.

Hopefully with the help of this survey, we can begin to have a real honest, open discussion, on what divides us & ultimately what can heal us & bring us together. Their is hope yet!

Sent by Robert H. | 11:11 PM | 12-13-2007

This is why I hate polls sometimes. Who did they ask? I think we all are prejudice and have our own quiet thoughts, no matter how fair we are or try to be. I am not anymore afraid of Blacks than I am any other race. If anything I am afraid of men. So if I am ever in the car of a parking lot and a man walks by, especially if he is not dressed well (clean clothing) then I am going to lock my doors. If you so happen to be black oh well, but the same goes for white, Asian, Hispanic, or any other race. I am a women and there are bad people out there and I need to be precautious.

As far as this pole and peoples perceptions we have no one to blame but images that have been instilled in us for centuries. First of all, since white people first came to this land, they have always depicted every other race as dirty, violent, and worthless. Indians, Blacks, Asains, Hispanics, Middle Easterners, and anyone else, especially if they are brown, won???t and don???t measure up to Whites in their opinion. But even before this country was this diverse, they did it to other whites, Italians, Irish, etc. The only difference now, is that with so much diversity, they have to have a team???blacks have been most different from these other races so this idea and image of them can be found around the world as well as within our own country.

But these images don???t do anything but make matters worse. They become self perpetuating. And breaking away from them can be very difficult, as we see in this pole. I am Puerto Rican, I have run into my fair share of Puerto Rican people who for some reason see Blacks in the same image as many other white racists. What makes this so hard to believe is that, if it were not for blacks, what has become our culture could not be possible without them. Sadly, who we are as a people, to which we are very proud of, could not have been without the slave trade. And on top of that, some Puerto Ricans may feel as if they are better, but when it comes down to it, those same racists, won???t be able to find much difference between us and blacks. Yup, all ya???ll Hispanics who are on this high horse, come off it because many people look at us in the same light as blacks.

These polls just prove that, whites, have been successful in playing us against each other, thus keeping us from coming together and being stronger as a whole.

***I speak of the closed minded, racist, whites. I know it???s not all of them.

Sent by Arelis | 1:46 PM | 12-14-2007