I was just trying to get a bead on a few issues, and lamenting my inability to get a good measure of racial threat for a paper I’m working on showing the impact of conservative movements and propaganda on public opinion. But, alas, racism and sexism are so OVER. Everyone knows that nobody is a racist or sexist. We do NOT need to be asking people if they would vote for a NEGRO for President or if they would vote for a Woman (who does not have a penis), or if they think that those Africans have gone too far in pushing for Civil Rights. Fuck Civil Rights. This is America! Hell Yah! And, in American Social Science we are much more concerned with how Christianity is helping your mental health, or whether or not your one true god is more like a man or a muffin, or anything, anything but standard questions about racism and sexism. So, for most items, they simply stopped asking. Nearly 10% of respondents thought there should be laws against interracial marriage in 2002 (down from nearly 40% in 1972) but somehow this seemed to justify eliminating the item entirely….rather than seeing if support might have rebounded, or tracking the continued support for racist laws among certain groups in the population. Similarly, the GSS has not asked whether or not women should take care of the home instead of the country since 1998—when over 15% wanted women home, barefoot and preggers. Just because opinions are no longer a majority or near-majority does not make them sociologically irrelevant. Their concentration in certain geographic, occupational, and cultural realms make make these prejudices quite influential for social life. It is a bad move to stop tracking these basic indicators of racism and sexism, just so people with grants can ask other questions. And what questions are they asking? Where are they getting their funding? Oh, gee.
Racism, Sexism, and the Whoring of Survey Research