News Roundup: Week of Sept. 21 - Sept. 26 - Page 3 of 3

News Roundup: Week of Sept. 21 – Sept. 26

Gays, Lesbians Face More Discrimination

DiscriminationBriefA survey released by the Pew Research Center showed that Americans believe gays and lesbians face more discrimination than the nation’s other groups. Of the groups facing discrimination, blacks fell below homosexuals, Muslims, and Hispanics, with 49% of respondents saying blacks face “a lot” of biases.

About 64% of Americans perceive gays and lesbians as facing large amounts of prejudice, more than any other racial or religious group in the United States. Meanwhile, 52% said Hispanics face “a lot” of discrimination.

While blacks are perceived to be discriminated less than many other groups, this may be due in part to civil rights legislation and the election of the nation’s first black head of state, Barack Obama.

“Because there’s been a lot of legal solutions to racial issues, most white Americans think the problem is solved,” said Rebecca Alpert, associate professor of religion and women’s studies at Temple University in Philadelphia.

She also added that Obama’s presidency may give the perception to many Americans that racial relations for blacks in America are better, though actual racial discrimination is still persistent.

Americans perceive Muslims as subject to more discrimination than any other religious group, with 58% of Americans saying those of the religion face a lot of bias. The survey also points out that American’s belief that Islam encourages violence has ebbed and flowed since the Sept. 11 attacks.

“It’s misinformation that I think is the problem,” Alpert said, adding that discrimination against Muslims is “misguided,” as many American’s automatically associate the religion with terrorism.

Before the attacks, the percentage of Americans who thought Islam was a violent religion was 25%. That number peaked in 2007 at 45% and has since declined to 38%.

This national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, was conducted in August and surveyed 2,010 adults on both landlines and cell phones. There is a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

— Renita Burns