Sunday, Jan. 4, 1953: How prejudiced are you?

Posted on January 9th, 2007 – 7:42 PM
By Ben Welter
Carl T. Rowan
Carl T. Rowan was Minneapolis Tribune reporter from 1950 until 1961.

In a page one story, the Tribune’s Carl T. Rowan reported on a University of Minnesota study of “racial attitudes of middle-class whites in a northern metropolis.” Researchers found plenty of prejudice in the City of Lakes in the early 1950s. A Minneapolis public school teacher was one of 271 white parents interviewed for the study. “No, I don’t let my 10-year-old daughter play with Negroes,” she said, adding that she believed they would be happier living in a neighborhood by themselves.

The story was accompanied by this quiz:

How Prejudiced Are You?

What remarks do you make when someone brings up the race question? These “uncalled for” remarks indicate how you would fare on a prejudice test devised by a University of Minnesota research team.

Read the following list of statements (made voluntarily by other Minneapolis residents) and select the one which most nearly agrees with your feelings about Negroes.

1. “My children can join an organization as long as it is predominantly white.”

2. “I have worked with Negroes and have no objection to them.”

3. “I want my children to associate with all groups. I have no discrimination against any group of people.”

4. “Negro children should have playmates in school, but I do not want my children to play with them near home or to bring them home.”

5. “I want my children to play with other children from all races so they can make up their own minds about them.”

6. “I am definitely against Negroes and Jews. They both smell bad and are too aggressive. We should segregate the Negroes.”

7. “I would not let my children play with Negro groups, not with marriage possibilities.”

8. “I wouldn’t have Negroes in my house. I wouldn’t move into another neighborhood with Negroes though. If I saw my children play with Negroes, I wouldn’t permit it. They can play with native-born whites.”

9. “Negroes, if they have the money and education, are always neat and clean.”

10. “I think Negroes, Japanese and Jews are all about as bad. Mixed group marriages, or people of white and Negro race seen together, turn my stomach.”

(Following is a key to the questions asked on racial prejudice on page 5.)

(3, 5) – If statement 3 or 5 best expresses your feelings you are practically free of racial prejudice.

(9) – If you picked statement nine, you probably hold more favorable than unfavorable opinions of Negroes, but you probably are “masking a few antipathies,” the experts say.

(2) – Selectors of this remark are “ambivalent” in their opinions of Negroes but are the kind who think the “Negro is all right in his place,” the researchers found.

(1, 7) – Choosing either of these responses indicates you fit the average for middle-class Americans in a northern metropolis and you have “considerable” prejudice.

(4, 10) – If your views coincide with either of these statements, you are “very prejudiced.”

(6, 8) – These remarks represent the “extremely prejudiced.”

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