Survey Shows Mistrust Among Minority Groups, but Optimism for Future

Blacks, Latinos and Asian-Americans, the country’s three largest ethnic groups, view one another with distrust and even fear. However each group was optimistic that relations between their communities would improve over the next decade, according to a December 2007 survey.

The poll, published by New America Media with support from Carnegie Corporation, found that negative stereotypes and distrust between the three groups are deeply held and that they remain largely segregated socially from each other. Read the press release.

The poll also found that all three ethnic groups had much in common including their patriotism and strongly-held religious beliefs. More than 85 percent of responders from all three groups indicated that they should “put aside their differences” and work together to help their respective communities.

Forty-four percent of Latinos and 47 percent of Asians are “afraid of African-Americans because they are responsible for most of the crime,” the nationwide poll of 1,105 Black, Latino and Asian Americans in all 50 states found.

More than half of the Black respondents and 46 percent of Hispanics said Asian business owners do not treat them with respect.

And half of African-Americans said Latin American immigrants “are taking jobs, housing and political power away from the black community.”

All three minority groups indicated greater trust for whites than for any minority group. Sixty-one percent of Hispanics, 54 percent of Asian Americans, and 47 percent of African Americans responded that they were more comfortable doing business with whites than with members of the other two groups.

Hispanics and Asians, groups comprised largely of recent immigrants, embraced the American dream, saying that they believed perseverance will eventually be rewarded with success. 
In contrast, more than 60 percent of African-Americans dismissed the American dream as not working for them.

Like Blacks, Chinese-Americans, the largest and oldest Asian community in the U.S., tended to treat the American dream with deep skepticism. Chinese-Americans were far less optimistic about their odds of succeeding economically than were more recent Asian arrivals, particularly Vietnamese and Filipino Americans.

Pollster Sergio Bendixen, an expert on Hispanic and multilingual polling, said “The poll reaffirms that while race relations between ethnic groups and whites grab the headlines, there are also serious racial problems between minority groups in America.”

“Blacks feel they are left out of the American Dream and are being displaced by newcomers, and each group buys into the negative stereotypes about the other two. What’s clear is the need to dissolve this friction,” said Bendixen. “The poll results show that the overwhelming majority of ethnic Americans want that positive outcome.”

Carnegie Corporation of New York supports efforts by non-profit organizations like New America Media to increase the integration of immigrants and other disconnected populations into civil society. By informing the ethnic media about immigrant integration, New America Media hopes to stimulate greater engagement by new arrivals in their communities and in national dialogues around immigration.