Once again, the myth of the election of Barack Obama as president of the U.S. ushering in a post-racial society has been disproved.
In a recent survey, the Tea Party movement, which is opposed to big government and fiscal irresponsibility, also appears predisposed to intolerance, according to University of Washington political scientist Christopher Parker.
Approximately 45% of whites either strongly or somewhat approve of the movement. Of those, only 35% believe blacks to be hardworking, only 45% believe blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that blacks are trustworthy. Their perceptions of Latinos aren’t much better. While 54% of white Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking, only 44% think them intelligent, and even fewer, 42% of Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be trustworthy.
White Tea Party supporters don’t reserve their negative attitudes for just people of color. Gays and lesbians also get their fair share of intolerance. Only 36% of white Tea Partiers think gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, and just 17% are in favor of same-sex marriage.
However, the results of the survey have been challenged, according to the researchers, specifically the point that supporters of the movement appear racially intolerant. Researchers acknowledge that the “relationship between support for the Tea Party and racial resentment is more about the relatively conservative politics of Tea Partiers than racism.”
Ultimately, the researchers concluded that support for the tea party informs supporters’ view of marginalized groups in American society.
“As the results indicate, supporting the tea party (or refusal to do so) appears to color how people see blacks, immigrants, and gay rights. In each case, across the range of support for the tea party movement, including those who had never heard of it, the true believers register relatively intolerant views.”
The poll surveyed 1,015 residents of Nevada, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, and California, and was conducted in Feburary and March. The survey found that 30% of respondents had never heard of the tea party, but among those who had, 32% strongly approved of it.