Can’t We All Just Get Along? New research explores tensions between US’ largest ethnic groups

New American Media, the nations first and largest collaboration of ethnic news media, released the results of the first multilingual poll examining how the US’ largest ethnic groups feel about each other, as well as their attitudes on key elements of American society.  The goal of the poll is to create a basis to improve relationships between minority groups and spur better media coverage of ethnic communities.   

“We need to know what’s being whispered in our own backyards,” says Jeong. “We need a get-to-know-each-other campaign.” The first national poll of race relations among Asian Americans, African Americans and Hispanics from New America Media is a “starting point” in that campaign, says Jeong.The Korea Times, along with eight other major ethnic newspapers, signed on as a co-sponsor of the poll because ethnic media are increasingly becoming aware that it’s not enough just to cover their own communities.

“This is an extraordinary piece of information that can hopefully help our three communities to have a better understanding of each other,” said Pedro Rojas, La Opinión’s executive editor.“Wherever you live and work in the states today, and especially for us in California, learning from communities near us and around us is vital to growing,” says Anh Do, vice president of Nguoi Viet Daily News in Westminster, Calif., one of the oldest Vietnamese newspapers in the country and a sponsor of the survey.

Anyone who keeps abreast of race politics in America will not be suprised by the results from the poll.  Here are some quick highlights:

  • Predominantly immigrant communities – Hispanic and Asian – are more optimistic about their lives in America.  By contrast, 60% of African-Americans believe the American Dream does not work for them.
  • Racial tension between minority groups is rooted in a mistrust of each other.  44% of polled Hispanics and 47% of Asians are “generally afraid of African-Americans because they are responsible for most crimes.”  Meanwhile, 46% of Hispanics and 52% of African-Americans believe “most Asian business owners do not treat them with respect.”
  • Meanwhile, all three minority groups seem more trusting of whites than each other.  61% of Hispanics, 54% of Asians, and 47% of African-Americans would rather do business with whites than members of the other two groups.

Whooo!  If these poll results are an accurate reflection of race relations in the US, we minorities have a lot of work to do to build ties with other groups!  

You can read an executive summary, including more poll results, here.

On a slightly different note, I also found the polling methodolgy for this survey to be quite intriguing. 

The poll of 1,105 African American, Asian American and Hispanic adults was conducted by telephone during the months of August and September 2007. The sample was designed to be representative of the adult population of the three major racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Hispanic respondents were interviewed in English or Spanish, and Asian American respondents were interviewed in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese or Tagalog. RDD (Random Digit Dialing) methodology was employed in areas of the country that have significant (10 percent or more) African American, Asian American and Hispanic populations.

It’s really exciting to see that the poll was offered in multiple languages.  It’s nice to include communities of people who typically get overlooked by pollsters due to language barriers.   

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About Bo

A 30something, 1.5 generation Korean-American/New Yorker who spends her day as an HR exec. specializing in corporate diversity & inclusion. I get to think about ways to make "The Man" less male, white, and straight. It's the best job in the world! When I'm not trying to change corporate America, I teach yoga and dabble in holistic health counseling. I have an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and my undergraduate from the University of Michigan. Lesser known facts about me: I enjoy b&w film photography, training for endurance races, and making homemade jam. Other mindless observations can be found at
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