Jews Inside Ethnic America
by Gad Nahshon
The timing of this illuminating new research is more than perfect. The new census 2000 demonstrated the idea that ethnic America is alive and well. And scholars will argue about the melt able groups vs. the undeletable groups. What about the Zangwillian idea of the melting pot?
James J. Zogby of Zogby International published a book entitled What Ethnic Americans Really Think or The Zogby Culture Polls. It is a collection of polls, a synopsis of the data of multi-ethnic America. In 94 tables, 72 pages, this distinguished polling firm did challenge many conventional notions and images in the scholarly field of ethnicity.
The research is based on the following groups: Italian (6% - 15 million); African American (12.5% - 30 million); Hispanic (12.5% - 35 million); Asian (3.6% - 10 million); Jews (2% - 5.5 million); and Arab (1% - 3.2 million). The Arabs: 56% Lebanon, 14% Syria, 11% Egypt, 4.5% Jordan and 9% Palestine.
Dr. Zogby wrote: 40% of the total population is ethnic America! Dr. Zogby revealed the following about the Jews:
92% were born in America (Hispanics 47%, Arabs 68%);
60% live in big cities (Arabs 50%);
60.5% with college degrees (Asians 66%, Arabs 48.5%, Hispanic 23%);
As to religion: Jews who go to the synagogue every day - 5.5%; once a week - 18%; only on special occasions - 51%. Among Arabs: 50% once a week. Other groups tend to be religious more than Jews. Dr. Zogby concluded that only 23% of the Arabs are Muslim; 42% are Catholic; 23% Orthodox. It is well known that the Arabs who immigrated to this country were not Muslims but in the last 20 years the Muslims became the majority. Therefore, Dr. Zogby certainly surprised us. The Muslim religion is the most growing movement in America (non-Arabic Muslim countries);
Jews enjoy high degrees of income: 17.5% $50,000-$74,999; 41% 75,000 and up. Arabs surprisingly do well - almost like the Asians, the second affluent elite in ethnic America. Hispanic 14.5% and 12% $75,000 and up. Only 23% of the Jews are unionized. Arabs 21.5%. Jews have more internet (70.5%) than any other group, except the Asians (71.5%);
Ethnic pride - 86% Jews; (Arabs 90%);
Heritage - 48% Jews said: it is very important. 38%: it is important. (Arabs 51.5% very important);
Emotional linkage to the land of heritage - 50% Jews said: very strong, 18% moderate; (Arabs 55.5%; Hispanic 62.5% very strong. 10% of Jews send money to this land; Arabs 29%, Hispanic 40%);
Discrimination - here we encountered a strange finding by Dr. Zogby: 59% Jews stated that they were victims of a discrimination in America. Even A.D.L. never presented such a high rate of discrimination or anti-Semitism; (Arabs only 39%; Asians 57.5%; Hispanic 47%). Indeed even the Italians in Dr. Zogby's poll complain - 27%. Who discriminated them? America had anti-Catholic movements. Irish people were attacked and harassed but it was in the 19th century. Perhaps until the 1920's. But in our times?;
Jews as we know, then to vote 95%; Arabs 90%; African Americans 86%. Jews are democrats - 66%, republicans 15.5%; (Arabs 38% democrat, 36% republican). Jews are more radical and liberal than others. Only 16% declared themselves to be conservatives. (Arabs 31.5%) conservative. Jews tend to donate money to support presidential elections: 15.5%; (Arabs 14.5%; Hispanic 15.5%). All groups understand the political realities;
As to the issues - we want to point out some examples: 60% Jews are against flat tax; gun control 83.5%; (Asians 88%). Jews and all the other fight for strong social security benefits (90-94%). Jews especially fight for pro-choice 79%; (Arabs 45.5%; Italians 53%);
Jews like most other groups demonstrated a sense of pride in their heritage. Even their third generation showed pride, ethnic pride. Jews young and old alike tend to be democrats and liberals. Education among the Jews, argued Dr. Zogby, has a role: Jews with college degrees (69%) are more liberal than those with only high school degrees. Also, the Jewish immigrant is more conservative than the American native. And as to the gender: Jewish females tend to preserve ethnicity more than their male counterparts.
The conclusion is that ethnic pride is alive. It is strong among those who suffered from discrimination. Also, ethnicity "...is most deeply felt among those who are most religious-observant in their respective communities" concluded Dr. Zogby.
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