July 29, 2004


U-M Detroit Arab American Study portrays a complex population (University of Michigan News Service, 7/29/04)

Fifteen percent of Arabs and Chaldeans in the Detroit area say they personally have had a "bad experience" after the Sept. 11 attacks because of their ethnicity, according to preliminary results from a University of Michigan study.

These experiences include verbal insults, workplace discrimination, targeting by law enforcement or airport security, vandalism, and, in rare cases, vehicular and physical assault. But a greater proportion (one-third) have received expressions of support from non-Arabs.

A majority of the representative sample of Detroit-area Arabs and Chaldeans surveyed by the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) favor increased law enforcement and intelligence agency surveillance to ensure U.S. homeland security. But only 17 percent—compared with 49 percent of a representative sample of the general population in the area—support increased surveillance that targets Arab Americans.

The general population believes Arab Americans need to do more to fight terrorism, while nearly 75 percent of Arabs and Chaldeans say they are doing all they can. Just 36 percent, compared with 53 percent of the general population, believe that U.S. involvement in the Middle East is contributing to the region's stability.

In this landmark study of one of the oldest, largest and most visible Arab-American communities in the nation, researchers interviewed 1,016 Arabs and Chaldeans and 508 members of the general population in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The Detroit Arab American Study, funded primarily by the Russell Sage Foundation, is a collaboration between the U-M's ISR, the University of Michigan-Dearborn and an advisory panel of community representatives from more than 20 secular, religious and social service organizations. [...]

One popular misconception the new findings correct involves the community's religious affiliations, according to researcher Ronald Stockton of the U-M-Dearborn Center for Arab American Studies. "The majority of this population is Christian—about 58 percent—and 42 percent are Muslim," Stockton said. [...]

• Arabs and Chaldeans express more confidence in the American legal system and in local police than the general Detroit-area population, but are much more concerned about whether people accused of terrorism will receive fair trials.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 29, 2004 2:21 PM

I remember ABC news radio on 9/11 in the afternoon, some reported they were being "glared at."

You think???

This is a cross they will have to bear.....

Posted by: Sandy P at July 29, 2004 3:00 PM

Since they described "bad experience" so broadly as to include saying mean things, and it was a UM study (a campus only slightly right of Moscow University pre-revolution) I think it's amazing that only 15% made such a report. I can't prove it, but I suspect that the difference between that and the number you would have gotten pre-9/11 would be a rounding error.

I remember seeing a study in late '01 that said 55% of white people favored profiling arabs, but nearly 90% of black people did. Ironic considering how loudly they protested profiling themselves.

If Arabs feel put upon, I can only point out in WW2 Japanese Americans were asked to endure far more for far less reason and complained far less about it.

Posted by: MarkD at July 29, 2004 8:29 PM

Just like us?

If we assume -- and it's a pretty good bet -- that the percentages responding 'like us' (or, anyhow, like Orrin) are the Christians; and the rest are the Muslims, then what you got is just about 100% antiAmerican sentiments among Muslims who live amongst us and have had a chance -- better than their fellows -- to know how lovable we really are.

In fact, this poll demonstrates -- as far as any poll can, which isn't very far -- that Muslims are not like us.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 29, 2004 9:33 PM