Friday, March 31, 2006

Take a Survey! Click here!

I took a social survey sponsered by Harvard Univerity and initially thought the questions were quite provoking. It started by asking my opinion on two short proposals for a pretend charity. The first part of the survey asked this:

There are many popular misconceptions about the backgrounds of people in need of public assistance. Contrary to what many people believe, the majority of the recipients are white (38%), followed by African Americans (37 %), with the remaining composed of all other minority groups (Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, etc.). Therefore, it is mainly minorities who are helped by this program.

1. To what extent do you think that the above statement is well-written?
2. To what extent do you agree with the passage?
3. To what extent do you think that what the passage says is true?
4. To what extent do you think you would like to work with the author of the passage?
My answers were truthful. Yes, this info was true. But no, these facts did not inspire me to work with this charity.

The next sample was more general and the questions slightly different:


Our name defines two important challenges of everyday life: family and work. Sometimes these two things are in conflict, and this is can make life difficult. We are trying to change that. By working with families and organizations alike, The Working Families Program helps children, working parents and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work. By using a real world approach with practical solutions, we are making our vision a reality.

1. To what extent do you think that the above passage is well-written?
2. To what extent do you think the announcement would be affective in garnering support for the organization?
3. To what extent do you feel that you are in agreement with the goals of the organization?
4. To what extent do you think that some of the revenue from American taxpayers should support such an organization?
The rest of the survey dealt with my opinions about why the poor are poor. It is a social survey afterall. The end of the survey made me raise an eyebrow because it asked me if I was happy to white, thought my fate was tied to other white people, and then asked me if I was ashamed or not to be white. Well, I could care less about being white and definitely don't think my teachers or other friends were nicer to me just because I am white. I realized that this must be the meat of the survey- it's a race v. povery survey. The surveyors were trying to discover if my race had anything to do with my opinions of the poor. At least that's what I thought....

The survey ended with an article they called the "Debriefing Sheet." Reading it was rather shocking. I've never found this social stance to be true! I wonder who would take care of this

In this study we explore the relationship among political attitudes. Previous research shows that white Americans are more likely to support government policies that are perceived to benefit their own racial group (e.g. affirmative action for white women, but not blacks). Previous research shows that among American whites, support for social spending for public education and health care for the poor increases when subjects are believe the target of the help will be to their own group. We are curious as to what extent African-Americans are similar in showing an in-group favoritism in this regard. The proposed research seeks to understand the psychological mechanisms underlying the racial double-standard to social policy. We are hopeful that one day, society may benefit from a greater understanding of the process and cause of group double standards. If you would like more information about the theories motivating this research, specific hypotheses being tested, and more information on the investigators, upon completion of this research information will be posted at

I feel cheated! I feel like I fell for their questions and fit their stereotypical white person. I said NO to the first program synopsis that spoke of race and helping mainly minorities but said YES to the program that would help in families in general with no mention of race. Now, I didn't say NO to the first synopsis because of race, but there are some researchers that will conclude that and I assume that this researcher will. After all, he already believes the statement that whites are mainly attracted to programs that help only whites. While he states that the main point of his research is to survey blacks and see if, as a race group, have a favoritism towards only their own race, he can easily publish the data and also state that his data backs up previous statement concerning whites.

*grumble grumble*

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