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Journal 1866: Rust College

of Student Research Vol. II, No. 1, 2014

iversity Social Science


Acknowledgements     This   second   edition   of   1866,   Rust   College’s   digital   student   research   journal   is   only   made   possible   through   the   commitment   of   faculty   to   undergraduate   research.   Thanks   to   faculty   across   the   College   who   continually   involve   our   students   in   research   experiences   and   who   uphold   high   standards   of   scholarship.   With   this   edition,   special   thanks   then   goes   to   the   Social   Science   faculty   who   invested   themselves   in   their   student   work   from   the   proposal   stage   through   to   the   final   project.   A   goal   is   to   have   the   work   included   here   disseminated   broadly,   to   create   conversation   around   issues   studied,   and   to   prepare   students   for   graduate   work.   Already,   we   can   see   that   research   experiences   and   the   opportunity   for   publication   are   preparing   students   for   the   next   level.   Finally,   thanks   to   Dr.   Paul   Lampley,   Vice   President   for   Academic   Affairs,   for   pushing   for   the   journal   over   the   years   and   for   providing   the   type   of   intellectual   interest   and   support   needed   to   see   each   edition   to   fruition.          

           

   

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Editorial  Committee       Alisea  Williams  McLeod,  Ph.D.,  General  Editor   LaTanya  Foreman,  M.S.S.W.,  Social  Work   Rhonda  Kuykindoll,  Ph.D.,  Biology   Meghann  Oglesby,  M.S.  M.C.,  Mass  Communications   Helen  Oliver,  Ph.D.,  Education   Nellie  Smith,  Ph.D.,  Business/Education   Nilse  Furtado-­‐Gilliam,  M.A.,  Journalism,  Technical  Assistance        

        Disclaimer:   All   submissions   to   this   journal   were   initially   selected   and   approved   by   the   individual   divisions,  represented  by  appropriate  members  of  the  editorial  committee.  All  citation  formats  are  as   per   the   requirements   of   the   divisions.   Therefore,   the   divisions   assume   responsibility   for   the   documentation   and   legitimacy   of   any   submission.   The   General   Editor   has   been   responsible   for   proofreading  final  submissions.  

       

Copyright    ©  2014   All  rights  reserved.  No  part  of  this  publication  may  be  reproduced  or  transmitted  in  any  form  or  by   any  means,  electronic  or  mechanical,  including  photocopying,  recording,  or  storing  without  written   permission  from  Rust  College.  To  obtain  permission,  please  write:  Alisea  Williams  McLeod,  Ph.D.,   General  Editor,  Rust  College,  150  Rust  Avenue,  Holly  Springs,  MS  38635,  or   amcleod@rustcollege.edu.    

 

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Table  of  Contents           Acknowledgements……………………………………………………………………………………………...2     Editorial  Committee……………………………………………………………………………………………..3     Letter  from  the  General  Editor……………………………………………………………………………...5     From  the  Chair  of  Social  Science……………………………………………………….............................8     Research  Papers………………………………………………………………………………………………..…9     College  Students’  Exposure  to  Information  about  Gays  and  Lesbians  and  How  It   Affects  Their  Attitudes  towards  Them  by  Dominique  Smith………………………………....10     The  Role  of  Religion  in  Public  Acceptance  of  Homosexuality     by  Lauren  Turner  ………………………………………………………………………………………………36     The  Relationship  Between  Parental  Involvement  and  Student  Academic   Performance  in  Latin  American  Families  by  Cusi  De  la  Cruz………………………….……..  67     Electoral  Politics  and  Race:  The  Election  of  Eddie  L.  Smith  as  Mayor  of  Holly  Springs,   Mississippi,  1985  and  1989  by  Tineka  Barber……………………………………………………..99     Appendix………………………………………………………………………………………………………....133                              

 

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Letter  from  the  General  Editor     Diversity  at  Rust  

I  attended  a  large  Midwestern  university  at  the  height  of  the  culture  wars,   which  was  also  the  birth  of  the  ideal  of  diversity  and  its  twin,  multiculturalism.  I  in   fact  attended  one  of  the  university’s  first  MLK  days,  attended  what  students  would   come  to  think  of  not  always  affectionately  as  Race  101,  and,  as  a  teaching  assistant,  I   taught  a  writing  course  linked  to  diversity  issues.     To  say  that  in  the  early  1990s  the  university  was  in  a  struggle  over  its  move   to  expand  its  inclusion  of  different,  especially  non-­‐western,  cultures  within  its   curriculum  and  to,  at  the  same  time,  push  for  critical  conversations  of  race,  gender   and  class  would  be  an  understatement.  I  myself  experienced  from  students  some   pushback  during  my  green  years  of  teaching  at  the  forward-­‐thinking  university.       Students  rightly  wanted  to  know  what  engagement  of  social  issues  had  to  do   with  essay  writing,  and  the  answer  then  was  the  same  as  now:  one  writes  as  one   thinks,  not  in  a  vacuum,  but,  as  Brazilian  educator  Paolo  Freire  would  say,  within  the   world.  And  in  that  world,  one’s  identity,  as  well  as  one’s  location  and  implied   politics,  are  not  to  be  presumed  but  rather  interrogated.     I  left  the  university  in  the  late  ‘90s,  but  I  remain  aware  both  that  battles  for   inclusion  and  backlash  against  it  are  ongoing  despite  ever-­‐rising  levels  of  tolerance   and  even  understanding  and  that  what  diversity  actually  is  has  been  multiplied.     Editing  an  edition  of  1866  devoted  to  student  research  focused  on  diversity   issues  has  been  a  learning  experience  for  this  new  millennium  professor  despite   past  experiences.  As  much  as  we  academics  tried  in  the  twentieth  century  not  to  see   things  in  black  and  white,  most  of  our  perspectives  continued  to  oversimplify  the   issues.     We  may  have  applauded  ourselves  for  recognizing  grey  areas  of  moral  issues,   but  a  full  spectrum  was  arguably  yet  unavailable  to  us  because,  well,  we  had  not  yet   reached  the  fullness  of  the  time  that  is  now.  Today’s  college  and  university  students   have  both  conscious  and  unconscious  commitments  to  diversity  because  in  most   cases  they  are  growing  up  in  anything  but  homogeneous  environments  not  so  much   because  America  has  become  fully  integrated  but  because  their  lives  are  fully   mediated.     Certain  questions  of  acceptance  or  tolerance  are  for  the  youngest  generation   a  no-­‐brainer.  Yet,  one  may  wonder  if  this  observation  is  true  of  students  attending   an  historically  black  college  or  university  (HBCU).  In  truth,  diversity  is  at  the  very   foundation  of  historically  black  colleges,  most  of  which  were  founded  by  religious   and  philanthropic  organizations  whose  leadership  was  white.  In  the  earliest  years  of   these  institutions,  the  presidencies  tended  to  be  held  by  whites  as  well.     Over  the  course  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  years,  the  make  up  of  both  the   faculty  and  the  student  bodies  of  historically-­‐black  institutions  have  continued  to  a   degree  to  reflect  the  historical  presence  of  persons  of  various  ethnic  and  racial   backgrounds.                                                1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science           5    


In  the  Division  of  Social  Sciences,  under  the  leadership  of  Dr.  A.J.  Stovall,  a   refreshed  concept  of  diversity  has  been  at  work,  a  fact  that  is  reflected  in  the  student   research  included  in  this  edition  of  the  journal.     In  the  first  essay,  “College  Student’s  Exposure  to  Information  about  Gays  and   Lesbians  and  How  It  Affects  Their  Attitudes  towards  Them,”  Dominique  Smith   examined,  using  the  Index  of  Attitudes  toward  Homosexuality  (IAH),  perspectives  of   Rust  students  across  campus  and  found  a  very  high  level  of  exposure  to  knowledge   of  homosexuality  and  neutral  attitudes  concerning  it.     Focusing  in  on  the  attitudes  of  social  work  students  within  the  division,   Smith  takes  into  account  these  students’  familiarity  with  the  National  Association  of   Social  Work’s  policy  statement  (see  Appendix  following  article)  concerning   homosexuality.  Exposure  of  social  work  students  to  the  policy  through  its  inclusion   in  their  undergraduate  training  is  one  way  in  which  an  open,  non-­‐discriminatory   climate  for  persons  of  all  sexual  orientations  is  being  created  at  Rust.     Such  an  achievement  is  no  small  matter  especially  at  an  institution  associated   with  a  mainline  Christian  denomination  and  whose  students  have  ties  to  sometimes   very  conservative  Protestant  groups.       In  the  second  article  in  this  edition,  “The  Role  of  Religion  in  Public   Acceptance  of  Homosexuality,”  Lauren  Turner  actually  looks  at  effects  of  religion,   age,  and  political  party  affiliation  on  public  acceptance  or  non-­‐acceptance  of   homosexuality.  Indeed,  she  finds  both  religion  and  party  affiliation  to  influence   attitudes  towards  homosexuality;  however,  she  also  finds  such  attitudes  less   entrenched  among  people  younger  than  thirty-­‐five  years  of  age.   The  final  two  papers  in  this  edition,  one  by  Cusi  De  la  Cruz  and  another  by   Tineka  Barber  point  nicely  to  the  fact  that  diversity  has  been  spreading  quickly  to   the  far  reaches  of  the  globe,  so  much  so  that  diversity  and  global  perspectives  go   hand  in  hand.  De  la  Cruz’s  work  gives  evidence  of  the  role  cultural  difference  plays   in  the  lives  of  the  students  of  Latino  families  living  in  DeSoto  County,  Mississippi.         Rather  than  assuming  that  educational  activities  of  such  families  within  the   home  fit  the  behaviors  of  other  families,  De  la  Cruz’s  study  uncovered  both  a  high   level  of  parental  involvement  in  Latino  families,  behavior  directly  connected  to  their   students’  high  academic  performance,  and  she  concluded,  in  agreement  with  an   earlier  study,  that  levels  of  involvement  might  increase  if  more  second-­‐language   services  were  offered.  De  la  Cruz’s  study  comes  at  a  time  when  the  rise  of  Latino   populations  within  the  state  make  such  information  on  diverse  families  invaluable.         Much  the  same  can  be  said  concerning  the  work  of  Tineka  Barber,  a  timely   study  of  the  political  process  by  which  black  mayors  have  been  elected  in  the  nation   and  within  Holly  Springs,  Mississippi.  Through  a  comparative  study  of  two  mayoral   campaigns  of  Eddie  Smith,  Jr.,  who  was  eventually  elected  to  the  office,  Barber  found   that  Smith’s  election  in  1989  replicated  the  outcome  of  mayoral  elections  in  other   locales  where  blacks  were  a  sizable  percentage  of  the  population  and  where  cross-­‐ race  coalitions  were  built.   Taken  together,  the  scholarship  included  in  this  diversity  edition  might   suggest  that  “so  goes  America,  so  goes  the  rest  of  the  nation—even  Mississippi”;   however,  the  fact  that  there  is  a  proven,  growing  level  of  openness  and  political  

 

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maturity  in  the  state,  especially  on  colleges  campuses,  does  not  eliminate  the  need   for  cultural  study,  scholarship  that  reveals  both  commonalities  and  differences,   scholarship  that  more  importantly  presumes  nothing.  The  work  published  here   makes  a  significant  contribution  to  this  need  and  to  diversity  within  the  new   millennium.         Alisea  Williams  McLeod,  Ph.D.,   General  Editor  

                         

 

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From  the  Chair  of  Social  Science:     Broadening  Knowledge  and  Complying  with  Standards    

In  an  effort  to  broaden  the  knowledge  base  of  Social  Work  students,  a   mastery  of  competencies  is  both  mandated  and  valuable.  Competency-­‐based   education  is  an  outcome  performance  approach  with  measurable  practice  behaviors   that  are  comprised  of  knowledge,  values,  and  skills.     Consistent  with  the  missions  and  goals  of  the  Social  Work  Program  and  with   the  Social  Science  Division  of  Rust  in  general,  are  specific  competencies  that  require   a  Social  Work  professional  to  “engage  diversity  and  differences  in  practice”  and   “advance  human  rights  and  social  and  economic  justice.”     In  the  research  studies  of  the  students  whose  work  is  published  in  this   edition  of  the  College’s  student  research  journal,  Cusi  De  La  Cruz  (Social  Work),   Dominique  Smith  (Social  Work),  Lauren  Turner  (Sociology),  and  Tineka  Barber   (Political/Pre-­‐Law),  these  competencies  are  demonstrated.     The  expectation  within  the  Division  of  Social  Science  is  that  students  will   advance  their  capacity  to  engage  in  research-­‐informed  practice  and  practice-­‐ informed  research.  These  students  have  followed  a  basic,  beginning  level  and   practical  approach  to  the  scientific  method  and  have  produced  papers  that  assist  in   raising  an  important  issue  of  evidenced-­‐based  knowledge  related  to  diversity  and   economic  justice.           A.J.  Stovall,  Ph.D.   Chair,  Division  of  Social  Sciences                    

           

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Research  Papers                                                              

 

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RUNNING  HEAD:  COLLEGE  STUDENTS’  EXPOSURE  TO  INFORMATION  ABOUT  GAYS            

  College  Students’  Exposure  to  Information  about  Gays  and   Lesbians  and  How  It  Affects  their  Attitudes  toward  Them  

 

Dominique  Smith    

 

ABSTRACT  

This   study   examines   social   work,   biology,   education,   and   mass   communication   majors’  attitudes  towards  gays  and  lesbians  with  a  particular  focus  on  social  work   majors.   The   instrument   used   to   measure   college   students’   attitude   towards   homosexuals  was  the  Index  of  Attitudes  towards  Homosexuality  (IAH)  Scale.  Results   of   this   research   study   indicated   that   despite   the   fact   that   97.5   percent   of   all   participants   were   exposed   to   contact,   knowledge,   and   visual   media,   all   majors,   including   social   work,   had   neutral   feelings   toward   homosexuality   (or   gays   and   lesbians).         Key  Words:  homosexuality,  social  work  students,  gays,  lesbians,  attitudes,  and  contact.                      

 

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PROBLEM  FORMULATION       Introduction        In  last  years  of  the  1960s,  homosexuality  came  before  the  public’s  eye.  The   Stonewall  Riots  in  Greenwich  Village  paved  a  way  for  liberation  of  gays  and  lesbians.   Within   six   months   of   the   public   incident   that   sparked   rioting,   two   gay   activist   organizations   were   formed   in   New   York,   concentrating   on   confrontational   tactics,   and   three   newspapers   were   established   to   promote   rights   for   gays   and   lesbians.   However,   it   was   not   until   December   of   1973   that   the   Board   of   Trustees   in   the   American   Psychiatric   Association,   which   has   determined   diagnostic   criteria   for   social  work  practitioners,  voted  not  to  list  homosexuality  as  a  mental  disorder  in  the   Diagnostic  and  Statistical  Manual  of  Mental  Health  Disorders  (DSM  IV).       Problem  Statement       Negative  attitudes  toward  gay  men  and  lesbians  have  been  expressed  by  the   American   public   throughout   the   nation’s   history.   Nationwide   probability   samples   of   American   adults   surveyed   between   1970   and   1984   consistently   found   that   approximately   70   percent   of   the   American   public   was   of   the   opinion   that   homosexual  relations  were  wrong  (Newman,  Dannenfelser  &  Benishek,  2002).  Since   the   1970s,   American   public   services   and   educational   systems   have   evolved   and   grown   to   accept   homosexuality.   Homosexuality   is   addressed   by   the   NASW   policy   statement,  encouraging  social  workers  to  become  actively  involved  in  the  movement   toward   the   inclusion   of   sexual   orientation   in   its   anti-­‐discriminatory   policy   statement.   In   CSWE’s   Educational   Policy   3.1,   which   discusses   diversity,   it   states   that  

 

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the   program   is   to   provide   a   learning   environment   in   which   there   is   respect   for   all   persons   and   understanding   of   diversity   and   difference   in   practice.   Diversity   focuses   include  gender,  gender  identity  and  expression,  and  sexual  orientation,  (Educational   Policy  and  Accreditation  Standards,  2008).      

While   curricula   concerning   gender,   race,   and   cultural   diversity   have   a  

foothold   in   social   work   education,   scholars   have   observed   that   discrimination   and   oppression   related   to   sexual   orientation   and   gender   identity   are   not   commonly   addressed   (Goldsen,   Luke,   Woodford,   &   Gutierrez,   2011).   Study   done   by   Cramer   (1993)   showed   that   of   students   from   various   majors   who   were   enrolled   in   an   undergraduate   social   work   course   at   the   University   of   South   Carolina,   9   out   of   10   scored   in   the   homophobic   range.   Negative   attitudes   were   associated   with   male   gender,   conservative   sex   role   attitudes,   and   lack   of   contact   with   gay   men   and   lesbians.   A   different   study   found   that   nearly   half   of   a   sample   of   graduate   students   perceived   insufficient   training   in   their   professional   degree   programs   and   reported   moderate   levels   of   competence   to   serve   LGBT   (Lesbians,   Gays,   Bisexuals,   and   Transgender)   individuals   and   their   families   (Logie,   Bridge,   &   Bridge,   2007).   Findings  in  another  study  conducted  by  Chonody,  Siebert,  &  Rutledge  (2009),  with   social   work   students,   were   not   significantly   different   from   those   of   students   majoring  in  other  professions.  The  social  work  students  scored  on  a  moderate  level   of   antigay   bias   while   enrolled   in   a   human   sexuality   course.   Their   scores   remained   within  the  same  range  for  the  pretest  and  posttest.  Also,  a  study  was  done  in  South   Korea   on   Korean   social   work   students   and   their   attitudes   towards   gay   men   and   lesbians.   The   researchers   found   that   the   proportion   of   South   Korean   student  

 

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respondents  scoring  in  the  homophobic  range  on  the  IAH  (Index  of  Attitudes  toward   Homosexuals)   was   much   higher   than   the   proportion   of   American   students   scoring   in   that   range.   In   this   South   Korean   study,   one   of   the   most   important   findings   was   that  class  discussion  of  homosexuality  was  significantly  associated  with  lower  levels   of  homophobia  (Sung  Lim  &  Johnson,  2001).    

While   students’   attitudes   about   gays   and   lesbians   are   important,   so   is   the  

inclusion   of   the   group   in   the   curriculum.   According   to   Newman,   Dannenfelser,   &   Benishek  (2002),  faculty  members  support  the  inclusion  of  multicultural  content  in   graduate   social   work   education   in   the   United   States   and   Canada.   The   survey   of   members  included  questions  concerning  support  for  content  on  the  LGBT  (Lesbian,   Gays,   Bisexual,   and   Transgender)   population   and   different   types   of   oppression,   faculty   attitudes   regarding   LGBT   issues,   the   availability   of   LGBT   curriculum   resources   and   the   willingness   to   use   them,   and   program   and   respondent   characteristics.    

Faculty   from   the   United   States   and   Canada   reported   generally   supportive  

attitudes   related   to   LGBT   people   and   issues.   But,   the   U.S.   faculty   (29   percent)   and   the  Canadian  faculty  (24  percent)    did  not  know  if  gender  identity-­‐related  teaching   resources   existed   at   their   schools   (Newman,   Dannenfelser   &   Benishek,   2002).   Faculty   members’   and   college   students’   attitudes   are   important   to   understand   because   the   extent   and   type   of   acceptance   found   in   these   groups   will   dictate   the   kind  of  treatment  that  lesbians  and  gay  men  and  their  families  receive  from  those  in   the  helping  professions  (Newman,  Dannenfelser  &  Benishek,  2002).    

 

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Theoretical  Perspective       Chonody,   Siebert   &   Rutledge   (2012)   stated   that   Contact   Theory   illustrates   that  relationships  are  built  through  socialization,  and  negative  attitudes  towards  an   individual   or   group   can   be   diminished   if   presented   with   contact.   The   contact   hypothesis   also   identifies   situations   in   which   contact   between   groups   decreases   prejudice   (Kwon   &   Hugelshofter,   2012).   Contact   theory   is   helpful   with   interaction   among  college  students  and  gays  and  lesbians;  it  affects  their  attitudes  towards  gays   and  lesbians.     Research  Question       The   purpose   of   this   study   is   to   examine   college   students’   exposure   to   information  about  gays  and  lesbians  and  to  understand  how  exposure  affects  their   attitudes   toward   these   individuals   and   groups.   The   independent   variable   is   exposure   to   information   about   gays  and  lesbians.  The  dependent  variable  is  student   attitudes  towards  such  persons.  The  operational  definition  refers  to  the  information   presented   to   students,   including   from   a   human   sexuality   course,   contact,   and   a   documentary  or  film  on  homosexuality  (Sung  Lim  &  Johnson  2001;  Chonody,  Siebert   &   Rutledge   2009).   An   operational   definition   for   social   work   students   includes   students   on   a   graduate   level   of   social   work   and   students   on   an   undergraduate   level,   both  groups  enrolled  in  a  university  or  college  accredited  by  CSWE  (Council  of  Social   Work   Education).   Gays   are   operationalized   as   men   who   are   openly   attracted   to   or   have   a   relationship   with   their   same   sex.   Lesbians   are   operationalized   as   women   who  are  openly  attracted  to  or  have  a  relationship  with  their  same  sex.  

 

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Introduction    

LITERATURE  REVIEW    

This   literature   review   has   five   different   sections,   and   each   section   will   be  

discussed   in   the   order   as   presented:   Nineteenth   Century,   Social   Work   Students,   International   Social   Work   Students,   Social   Work   Faculty,   and   Theoretical   Perspective.       Nineteenth  Century      

Homosexuality  has  been  present  in  all  historical  periods  since  human  life  on  

earth  began,  yet  the  word  homosexuality  did  not  exist  prior  to  1869.  The  term  first   appeared   in   a   pamphlet   authored   by   Karl   Maria   Kertbeny   (Tully,   2000).   Between   1900   and   the   1920s,   society’s   perspectives   were   being   influenced   by   the   Freudian   idea  that  homosexuality  was  caused  by  a  childhood  trauma;  thus,  it  was  viewed  as  a   condition   that   was   not   inborn   but   rather   a   psychological   perversion   that   required   therapeutic  intervention  (Tully,  2000).      

From  the  turn  of  the  century  to  the  end  of  the1930s,  there  was  a  gradual  shift  

from   the   idea   that   homosexuality   was   a   temporary   affliction   to   the   generalized   belief   that   it   was   a   lifelong   condition   that   required   intervention.   In   the   1940s,   a   psychoanalyst   by   the   name   of   Sandor   Rado   rejected   Freud’s   assumption,   arguing   instead   that   heterosexuality   is   natural   and   that   homosexuality   is   a   “reparative”   attempt   to   achieve   sexual   pleasure   when   a   normal   heterosexual   outlet   proves   too   threatening   (Davis,   2012).   This   rethinking   of   the   cause   of   homosexuality   provided   an  opportunity  for  gays  and  lesbians  to  begin  to  socialize  in  larger  groups,  and  this  

 

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would  lead  in  turn  to  the  formation  of  national  gay  and  lesbians  groups  in  the  1950s.   The   idea   of   mentally   ill   homosexuals   who   would   remain   hidden   in   fear   of   losing   a   job  began  to  be  publicly  challenged  in  the  1950s  and  1960s  and  culminated  in  the   birth   of   the   post-­‐modern   era   of   gay   and   lesbian   history   (Tully,   2000).   Researcher   Charles   Socarides   speculated   that   the   etiology   of   homosexuality   was   pre-­‐oedipal   and,  therefore,  even  more  pathological  than  had  been  supposed  by  earlier  analysts.   Although   psychoanalytic   theories   of   homosexuality   once   had   considerable   influence   in  psychiatry  and  in  the  larger  culture,  they  were  not  subjected  to  rigorous  empirical   testing  (Davis,  2012).      

In   a   study   done   by   Hooker   in   1957,   in   which   she   gathered   thirty   homosexual  

males  and  thirty  heterosexual  males,  she  put  them  with  two  independent  Rorschach   experts  to  evaluate  the  men.  When  the  two  Rorschach  protocols  were  obtained  from   homosexuals,  the  experts  could  not  distinguish  respondents’  sexual  orientation  at  a   level   better   than   chance.   Hooker   concluded   from   her   data   that   homosexuality   is   not   a   clinical   entity   and   also   that   homosexuality   is   not   inherently   associated   with   psychopathology  (Davis,  2012).      

By   the   end   of   the   nineteenth   century,   medicine   and   psychiatry   were  

effectively  competing  with  religion  and  the  law  for  jurisdiction  over  sexuality.  As  a   consequence,  discourse  about  homosexuality  expanded  from  the  realms  of  sin  and   crime  to  include  that  of  pathology.  Confronted  with  empirical  evidence  and  changing   cultural   views   of   homosexuality,   psychiatrists   and   psychologists   radically   altered   their  views,  beginning  in  the  1970s  (Davis,  2012).  In  1973,  the  weight  of  empirical   data,  coupled  with  changing  social  norms  and  the  development  of  politically  active  

 

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gay   communities   in   the   United   States,   led   the   Board   of   Directors   of   the   American   Psychiatric  Association  to  remove  homosexuality  from  the  Diagnostic  and  Statistical   Manual  of  Mental  Disorders  (DSM)  (Davis,  2012).     Social  Work  Students    

Given  that  social  work  students  are  tomorrow’s  practitioners  and  the  Council  

on  Social  Work  Education  mandates  the  inclusion  of  content  on  sexual  orientation,   the   perspective   of   social   education   and   practice   has   changed.   According   to   Swank   &   Raiz  (2010),  future  social  workers  were  more  likely  to  withhold  support  for  same-­‐ sex   relationship   rights   when   they   embraced   authoritarian   orientations   and   expressed   conventional   beliefs   regarding   wifely   duties   and   female   sexuality.   They   also   seemed   to   devalue   same-­‐sex   relationship   rights   when   they   encountered   parents  and  friends  who  opposed  homosexuality.  The  students  felt  that  their  peers   and   parents   showed   negative   attitudes   towards   gay   men   and   lesbians,   so   they   were   more  likely  to  reject  same-­‐sex  relationship  rights  (Swank  &  Raiz,  2010).      

Among   other   promising   results   in   promoting   acceptance   and   affirmation   of  

gays  and  lesbians  are  those  from  a  study  conducted  among  students  in  social  work,   allied  health,  and  education  professions.  Chonody,  Rutledge,  &  Siebert  (2009)  stated   that   this   211   students   enrolled   in   a   human   sexuality   course   in   a   southeastern   university   were   participants   in   a   study   to   examine   their   attitudes   on   gays   and   lesbians.   Scores   from   social   work   students   were   not   different   from   those   of   participants   majoring   in   other   professions.   Researchers   used   the   IAH   (Index   of   Attitudes   toward   Homosexuality)   to   measure   the   students’   attitudes.   Social   work  

 

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students  scored  a  moderate  level  of  antigay  bias  at  pretest  range  but  were  lower  at   posttest  (Chonody,  Rutledge,  &  Siebert,  2009).    

Social   work   students   can   be   defined   in   different   ways,   but   for   this   study   it  

was   especially   important   to   define   the   population   of   social   workers   as   those   most   likely   to   engage   in   practice   in   which   sexuality   was   likely   to   surface   as   a   concern   (Wisniewski,   &   Toomey,   1987).   The   study   presents   results   obtained   from   administration   of   Hudson’s   IAH   questionnaire   to   a   representative   sample   of   MSW   social  workers  in  Columbus,  Ohio.    The  sample  of  data  was  gathered  from  agencies   recognized   as   offering   clinical   services.   (Wisniewski,   &   Toomey,   (1987).   The   researchers  stated  that  as  measured  by  IAH  the  MSW  students  were  more  accepting   of  gays  and  lesbians  and  nearly  one-­‐third  of  the  students  received  scores  falling  in   the  homophobic  range.      

Newman,   Dannenfelser,   &   Benishek   (2002)   investigated   the   acceptance   of  

lesbians  and  gay  men  among  a  large  sample  of  graduate-­‐level  social  work  students   compared   to   counseling   students.   They   found   that   most   respondents   in   a   large   sample   of   beginning   MSW   and   graduate   counseling   students   expressed   positive   attitudes  toward  lesbians  and  gay  men  while  only  6.5  percent  of  respondents  scored   in  the  negative  range  (Newman,  Dannenfelser  &  Benishek,  2002).  Evidence  by  this   group   of   researchers   shows   counseling   students   were   slightly   more   likely   to   be   intolerant   of   homosexuals   than   MSW   students,   with   94.5   percent   of   MSW   respondents   in   this   sample   expressing   positive   attitudes   toward   lesbians   and   gay   men.  Some  demographic  differences  accounted  for  a  moderate  amount  of  variance   in  these  attitudes  (Newman,  Dannenfelser,  &  Benishek,  2002).  

 

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Gays  and  lesbians  need  support  just  as  heterosexual  individuals  do.  Allies  are   members  of  the  dominant  heterosexual  social  group  who  support  and  advocate  for   oppressed  lesbians  and  gays.  JI,  Du  Bois,  &  Finnessy  (2009)  conducted  a  study  that   had   a   LGBT   (Lesbians,   Gays,   Bisexual,   and   Transgender)   ally   courses   that   trained �� heterosexual   students   to   become   LGBT   allies.   Students   participated   in   interviews   and   activities   with   LGBT   persons,   presented   seminars   on   LGBT   topics,   and   wrote   papers   about   these   experiences.   Qualitative   data   were   collected   from   students’   papers.      

Some  students  had  negative  opinions  when  they  first  entered  the  course.  One  

student  stated,     I   believe   the   main   reason   for   my   negative   attitudes   in   the   past   was   lack   of   knowledge   which   led   to   ignorance.   LGBT   topics   were   never   taught   to   me   before.  Learning  about  coming-­‐out  stages,  different  terms,  discrimination  in   society,  and  other  related  topics  formed  new  thoughts  and  beliefs  within  me   (JI,  Du  Bois,  and  Finnessy,  2009).   Students   needed   a   guide   to   help   them   learn   and   implement   the   knowledge,   skills,   and   attitudes   they   needed   to   become   allies.   The   positive   feedback   students   received   for   acting   as   LGBT   allies   helped   them   gain   confidence   as   allies.   Student   gained   LGBT   knowledge   via   their   seminar   presentations   and   course   lectures,   and   they   needed   to   practice   showing   their   knowledge   during   their   interviews   and   activities.  Initially,  students  had  many  mixed  emotions  about  becoming  an  ally,  and   anxiety  and  fear  were  present  (JI,  Du  Bois,  and  Finnessy,  2009).  

 

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Many  individuals  or  students  find  that  the  word  gay  is  used  in  a  derogatory  

manner.   Using   the   word   gay   in   a   derogatory   fashion   to   describe   someone   who   is   socially  awkward  is  illustrative  of  the  perception  that  people  who  identify  as  gay  are   different  from  people  who  do  not  identify  this  way.  Not  only  using  the  word  in  the   above  sense,  but  using  gay  to  indicate  virtually  anything  that  is  considered  stupid  or   boring  is  in  vogue  with  young  Americans.  However,  use  of  this  kind  of  language  is   not  necessarily  related  to  high  levels  of  antigay  bias.     In  fact,  findings  from  one  study  indicated  that  only  about  half  of  the  sample   that  admitted  to  using  the  word  fag  or  queer  was  also  found  to  have  high  levels  of   sexual   prejudice.   This   kind   of   language   may   be   sending   the   message   to   gay   and   lesbian  individuals  that  they  are  not  part  of  the  dominant  group  and  are  therefore   legitimate   targets   of   ridicule   and   derision   (Chonody,   Rutledge,   &   Smith).   In   some   cases,  contact  with  the  individual  group  can  make  a  difference.  According  to  Kwon,   Hugelshofter,  (2012),  a  speaker  panel  containing  lesbians,  gays,  and  bisexuals  (LGB)   demonstrated  that  the  use  of  LGB  speaker  panel  presentations  in  psychology  classes   was  effective  in  producing  longitudinal  change  in  positive  attitudes  in  heterosexual   individuals  toward  LGB  individuals.     International  Social  Work  Students    

Social  work  is  viewed  in  different  forms  around  the  world.  The  view  of  social  

work  is  not  only  critical  in  the  United  States  but  in  other  countries  as  well.      

Currently  in  South  Korea,  the  perspective  and  acceptance  of  homosexuality  is  

a  new  area  of  social  work  practice  and  education.  In  the  last  three  to  five  years,  gays  

 

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and  lesbians  have  begun  to  publicize  their  sexuality  in  Korean  society,  insisting  on   basic   rights   and   fighting   discrimination   against   them   (Sung   &   Johnson,   2001).   The   participants  in  Sung  &  Johnson’s  (2001)  study  were  135  BSW  and  MSW  students  at   the   Kangnam   and   Halym   Universities,   in   South   Korea.   All   of   the   participants   were   enrolled   in   social   work   courses   during   the   fall   semester   of   1999.   The   researchers   found   that   the   proportion   of   South   Korean   student   respondents   scoring   in   the   homophobic   range   on   the   IAH   was   much   higher   than   the   proportion   of   American   students  in  similar  studies  (Sung  &  Johnson,  2001).    

Another   study   that   addresses   social   work   in   another   country   was   a   cross-­‐

cultural   extension   of   previous   research   concerning   the   relationship   between   attitudes   toward   homosexuality,   attitudes   toward   heterosexual   sexual   practices,   personal   sex-­‐guilt,   and   sex   stereotyping.   This   study   was   conducted   by   Dunbar,   Brown,  &  Vuorinen  (1973)  with  two  hundred  students  enrolled  in  either  an  arts  or   an   engineering   university   in   Campina   Grande,   Brazil.   The   students   volunteered   to   participate  in  an  unspecified  psychological  experiment  (Dunbar,  Brown,  &  Vuorinen,   1973).    

The  relationship  between  attitudes  toward  homosexuality  and  sex  appears  to  

be  of  the  same  in  Canada  and  Brazil.  In  both  cultures  those  most  prejudiced  against   homosexuals   tended   to   have   greater   disapproval   of   sexual   practices   (Dunbar,   Brown,  &  Vuorinen,  1973).   In   Finland,   two   Finnish   universities   conducted   a   study   of   the   perception   of   homosexuality   among   college   students.   The   results   concluded   that   male   students   had   more   homophobic   attitudes,   and   students   who   reported   that   religion   had   an  

 

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important  role  in  their  lives  had  significantly  stricter  attitudes  towards  sexual  risk   behavior  (Korhonen,  ,  Kylma,    Houtsonen,    Valimaki,    &  Suominen,  ,2012).   A  more  recent  study  by  Cardenas,  M,  Barrientos,  J,  Gomez,  F,  &  Frias-­‐Navarro,   D.  (2012)  suggested  that  men  are  more  prejudiced  than  are  women.  The  study  was   done  in  Chile  among  283  students  of  Chilean  University.  The  results  of  the  findings   suggest   that   according   to   gender   roles   and   religious   beliefs   males   are   more   prejudiced   than   females   and   non-­‐religiously   affiliated   people   are   less   prejudiced   than  people  who  state  that  they  have  a  religious  affiliation.     Internationally,  understanding  of  homosexuality  is  slowly  evolving,  but  it  still   is  not  accepted  among  several  countries  of  the  world.       Social  Work  Faculty    

According  to  Berkman  and  Zinberg  (1997),  “There  is  concern  that  inadequate  

attention  is  given  to  homosexuality  in  social  work  education  and  that  social  workers   and  counselors  who  maintain  homophobic  attitudes  are  less  effective,  if  not  actually   harmful,   in   delivering   social   services   to   gay   and   lesbian   clients   (p.320).   For   this   reason,   not   only   do   students   have   to   be   knowledgeable   about   gays   and   lesbians,   but   faculty   members   need   also   to   possess   this   knowledge.   Faculty   members   play   a   major  role  in  administering  information  to  the  students  about  this  topic.  Given  that   social   work   educators   have   a   critical   role   in   educating   and   socializing   upcoming   social   work   practitioners,   it   is   vital   to   enlarge   their   knowledge   of   social   work   educators’   attitudes   while   constantly   evaluating   how   to   influence   those   of   social   work   students.   Einbinder,   Fiechter,   Sheridan   &   Miller   (2012)   stated   that   one  

 

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research   study   reported   low-­‐grade   homophobia   among   235   social   work,   psychology,   and   education   faculty   in   five   Israeli   universities.     As   predicted   by   the   study’s   first   hypothesis,   social   work   educators   who   participated   in   this   study   expressed,   overall,   a   relatively   low   level   of   negative   attitudes   toward   lesbians   and   gay  men  (Einbinder,  Fiechter,  Sheridan,  &  Miller,  2012).    

May   (2010)   stated   that   “The   efficacy   of   teaching   students   in   the   areas   of  

knowledge,   attitude,   and   skills   has   been   measured   and   defined   as   multicultural   constructs.  An  understanding  of  these  constructs  is  needed  by  SE  educators  to  best   provide   education   for   students   to   meet   the   2002   EPAS   (Education   and   Policy   on   Accreditation  Standard)  guidelines  for  teaching  content  of  multicultural  groups  with   recommended  inclusion  of  LGBT  content”  (p.  340).     Social  work  educators  did  not  initially  recognize  and  address  the  evolution  of   multicultural  awareness  for  LGBT,  and  content  has  been  slow  to  develop  regarding   teaching   content   about   diverse   racial   groups.   Today,   educational   plans   to   teach   about   oppression   and   empowerment   include   teaching   multicultural   content   regarding  LGBT  groups.    

May’s   study   dealt   with   326   regionally   stratified   national   social   work  

instructors   during   January   and   February   of   2006.   The   study   measured   how   often   social   work   instructors   taught   LGBT   content   compared   to   content   about   other   multicultural  groups.  Multicultural  group  content  consists  of  education  on  women,   people   of   color,   and   LGBT.   With   theses   groups,   survey   results   from   this   study   indicate   that   information   is   just   now   being   infused   into   teaching.   Assistant  

 

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professors,   with   regards   to   age   differences,   were   more   likely   to   teach   LGBT   information  than  associate  professors  (May  2010).      

Another   article   that   presents   findings   from   the   first   national   surveys   of  

United   States   and   English-­‐speaking   Canadian   MSW   social   work   faculty   studied   faculty   support   of   curriculum   content   on   sexual   orientation   and   gender   identity.   Faculty   in   both   countries   are   generally   supportive   of   including   LGBT   content.   Findings   suggest   that   faculty   programs   should   address   social   attitudes   among   faculty   as   well   as   integrate   gender   identity   into   diversity   discourse   in   social   work   education  (Fredriksen-­‐Goldsen,  Woodford,  Luke,  &  Gutierrez,  2011).    

Social   work   professors   or   instructors   can   promote   the   support   of   gays   and  

lesbians   through   various   indirect   avenues.   The   importance   of   sexual   orientation   reinforces   the   need   for   human   behavior   courses   to   include   information   on   sexual   identity   development.   Faculty   members   and   professors   should   promote   greater   critical   and   independent   thought   since   the   students   who   unconsciously   defer   to   authority   figures   expressed   less   support   for   gay   and   lesbian   rights   (Swank   &   Raiz,   2010).    

Voorhis   &   Wagner’s   (2002)   study   examined   the   content   of   articles   on  

homosexuality   that   were   published   in   four   major   social   work   journals   between   1988  and  1997.  The  study  found  77  articles  that  addressed  homosexuality.  That  was   3.92  percent  of  the  1,964  articles  published  during  the  decade  of  this  study.  Voorhis   &  Wagner  (2002)  stated  that  ninety  percent  of  the  articles  on  homosexuality  were   published  in  two  journals:  Social  Work  and  Families  in  Society,  and  the  majority  of   articles   addressed   HIV/AIDS.   A   minor   component   of   the   articles   in   this   survey  

 

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focused   on   individual   intervention   to   help   homosexual   clients   adjust   to   their   heterosexist   environments   or   addressed   deficits   in   social   workers   to   help   practitioners  become  sensitive  in  their  work  with  lesbian  and  gay  clients  (Voorhis  &   Wagner,  2002).     Theoretical  Perspective    

Theoretical   perspective   of   gays   and   lesbians   in   this   research   utilizes   the  

contact   theory   or   contact   hypothesis.   Contact   theory   illustrates   that   relationships   are   built   through   socialization   and   negative   attitudes   towards   an   individual   or   group   can   be   diminished   if   presented   with   contact.     (Chonody,   Rutledge,   &   Smith,   2012).  A  positive  exposure  to  gays  and  lesbians  accounts  as  a  representation  for  an   actual   experience   with   a   gay   or   lesbian   member.   According   to   Chonody,   Siebert,   &   Rutledge  (2009),  “A  sense  of  understanding  and  a  positive  valuation  are  cognitively   and   emotionally   dissonant   with   biases   and   hostility,   therefore   facilitating   a   reduction  in  tendencies  toward  prejudice”  (p.  501).    

Contact   theory   often   lessens   after   people   have   face-­‐to-­‐face   conversations  

with   members   of   that   stigmatized   group.   Swank   &   Raiz   (2010)   stated   that   their   findings   partially   supported   the   theory.   Meeting   gay   or   lesbian   peers   at   college   boosted   greater   acceptance   of   their   rights,   yet   interactions   with   gay   and   lesbian   close   friends   did   not.   The   contact   hypothesis   also   identifies   situations   in   which   contact   between   groups   decreases   prejudice.   Contact   between   groups   is   hypothesized   to   be   effective   when   there   is   equal   status   among   the   majority   and   minority  groups  (Kwon  &  Hugelshofter,  2012).  

 

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While  conducting  a  speaker  panel,  of  gays  and  lesbians,  to  college  students,   they   found   that   students   who   received   the   speaker   panel   intervention   generally   demonstrated   more   positive   attitudes   afterward.   Researchers   therefore   concluded   that  contact  hypothesis  does  have  an  effect  on  college  students’  attitudes  (Kwon  &   Hugelshofter,  2012).     RESEARCH  DESIGN  AND  METHODOLOGY   Introduction    

The   purpose   of   this   study   is   to   examine   college   students’   exposure   to  

information   about   gays   and   lesbians   and   how   it   affects   their   attitudes   toward   them.   The   independent   variable   is   exposure   to   information   about   gays   and   lesbians.   The   dependent  variable  is  their  attitudes  about  them.  This  is  an  exploratory  study,  which   will   examine   college   students’   attitudes   about   gays   and   lesbians   based   on   the   information  they  have  been  exposed  to  about  them.     Sample  Population    

There   were   40   individuals   who   participated   with   filling   out   the   survey  

questionnaire.   The   data   was   collected   from   Human   Growth,   Development,   and   Diversity  course  classes  and  from  students  in  the  library.  The  student  participants   came   from   the   education,   mass   communication,   social   work,   and   biology   departments.   The   age   ranges   of   the   participants   were   from   21   to   50.   All   of   the   participants  were  African  American.  An  availability  sample  was  used  in  interviewing   and   gathering   data   for   this   research.   The   participants   were   informed   that   there   were   no   wrong   or   right   answers   in   this   survey.   They   were   also   informed   of   the  

 

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purpose   of   the   survey   and   that   their   personal   information   would   be   kept   confidential.     Instrument    

There   are   three   different   sections   to   the   research   instrument.   Section   A  

provides   the   demographics   of   the   participants:   such   as   age,   gender,   and   major.   Participants  had  to  fill  in  this  information  according  to  their  demographics  for  each   question.   Section   B   provides   a   standardized   questionnaire   for   the   participants.   In   this   section,   the   IAH   (Index   of   Attitudes   toward   Homosexuality)   standardized   questionnaire,   which   was   developed   by   Ricketts   and   Hudson   in   1980,   was   administered.  This  section  measures  the  attitudes  of  the  participants  towards  gays   and  lesbians:  e.g.  “I  would  feel  comfortable  working  closely  with  a  gay  man”  and  “I   would   feel   nervous   being   in   a   group   of   homosexuals.”   This   section   scores   every   participant’s   answers   to   the   question   and   gives   it   a   total   score.   Scores   have   three   different   measurements,   which   are:   25-­‐50   (mostly   positive   feelings   about   homosexuals),   50-­‐100   (neutral   to   negative   feelings   about   homosexuals),   and   100-­‐ 125  (mostly  negative  feelings  about  homosexuals).  Due  to  the  time  frame  in  which   the   survey   was   created,   minor   changes   were   made   to   fit   societal   acceptance.   For   example,   the   word   queer   was   changed   to   homosexual.   Section   C   provides   the   exposure   component   of   this   research   study.   Participants   had   to   answer   yes   or   no   to   series   of   questions   pertaining   to   their   exposure   to   information   about   gays   and   lesbians:   e.g.   Respondents   were   asked,   “Have   you   ever   taken   a   course   on   human   sexuality?”  

 

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Reliability  and  Validity    

The  instrument  used  in  conducting  the  findings  of  this  research  was  a  survey.  

The   slightly   modified   IAH   questionnaire   with   internal   and   external   validity   was   designed   to   measure   students’   attitudes   towards   homosexuality   with   multiple   questions  relating  to  their  attitudes.          

 

DATA  ANALYSIS  AND  FINDINGS    

As  stated  previously,  the  purpose  of  this  study  is  to  examine  college  students’  

exposure   to   information   about   gays   and   lesbians   and   how   it   affects   their   attitudes   toward  them.  The  independent  variable  is  exposure  to  information  about  gays  and   lesbians.  The  dependent  variable  is  their  attitudes  towards  them.       Demographic  Analysis      

The   demographic   analysis   included   age,   gender,   credit   hours,   and   major.   The  

gender  consisted  of  35  percent  male  and  65  percent  female.  The  credit  hours  of  the   participants   resulted   in   5   percent   for   10-­‐29   hrs,   22.5   percent   for   30-­‐59   hrs,   25   percent   for   60-­‐89   hrs.,   and   47.5   percent   for   90   plus   hrs.   All   majors   (social   work,   biology,   education,   and   mass   communication)   resulted   with   25   percent   of   total   participants,  which  equal  out  to  be  a  100  percent.   Table  I  *Age  of  Participants*   Age  

 

Total:   19-­‐25  

77.5%  

26-­‐35  

20%  

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36-­‐45  

2.5%  

Total:  

100%  

  Table  I   shows  the  participant’s  age  in  the  survey.  The  participants’  ages  range   from  19-­‐25  (77.5  percent),  26-­‐35  (20  percent),  and  36-­‐45  (2.5  percent).         Table  II:  Majors’  Scores  on  IAH  Scale   Majors  

Index  of  Attitudes  towards   Homosexuals  (IAH)  Score  

Composite  Score  

Social  Work  

69  

Neutral  

Education  

84  

Neutral  

Biology  

72  

Neutral  

Mass   Communication  

60  

Neutral  

  Table  II   demonstrates  the  participants’  IAH  composite  scores  by  major.  The   IAH   score   is   measured   in   three   ranges.   The   first   range   is   positive   feelings   about   homosexuality  (a  score  of  25-­‐50).  The  second  section  is  neutral  feelings,  (a  score  of   51-­‐100),  while  the  third  section  is  negative  feelings  scoring  (a  score  of  100-­‐125).  All   of   the   majors   scored   in   the   second   section   of   the   scale,   which   means   they   have   mostly  neutral  attitudes  about  homosexuality.          

 

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Table  III:  Contact  with  Gays  or  Lesbians    

 

Contact  

Percentage  

Yes  

35  (87.5%)  

No  

5  (12.5%)  

  Table   III  shows   the   percentage   of   participants   who   had   contact   with   a   gay   or   lesbian  person.  Of  the  participants,  87.5  percent  stated  that  they  had  contact,  while   only  12.  5  percent  reported  that  they  had  not.  The  majority  of  the  participants  had   exposure  to  a  gay  or  lesbian  person.   According   to   statistical   analysis   for   this   research,   97.5   percent   of   the   participants   stated   that   they   had   discussed   homosexuality   in   their   class.   The   participants   were   asked   had   they   ever   watched   any   educational   film   or   television   shows  about  homosexuality:  70  percent  answered  yes,  while  30  percent  answered   no.   Also,   students   were   asked   if   they   knew   of   someone   who   was   a   homosexual,   92.5   percent  stated  yes.  All  majors  were  exposed  to  have  had  some  type  of  contact  with  a   gay  or  lesbian  person.     Table  IV  Majors  Compared  with  Class  Discussion  on  Human  Sexuality     Major  

 

Yes      

No  

  Total  

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Education  

10  (25%)                    

0  

25%  

Social  Work  

10  (25%)        

0  

25%  

Biology  

9  (22.5%)    

1  (2.5%)  

25%  

Mass  Communication   Total  

10  (25%)                                     0   39  (97.5%)    

25%  

1  (2.5%)  

100%  

  Table   IV  shows   majors   compared   to   class   discussion.   Education,   Social   Work   and   Mass   Communication   majors   all   stated   that   they   had   had   class   discussion   about   human   sexuality.   Nine   out   ten   participants   who   were   biology   majors   stated   that   they   had   had   class   discussion   on   the   same   topic.   This   indicates   that   students   do   receive  exposure  from  faculty  members.     Table  V  Comparison  of  Gender,  Credit  Hours,     and  Acquaintance  with  a  Homosexual      

Gender  

Credit  Hours                       Male                                                                              Female  

  Total  

 

Yes/No                                                                        Yes/No  

10-­‐29  

1/0                                                                                              1/0  

5%  

30-­‐59  

2/1                                                                                              6/0    

22.5%  

60-­‐89  

4/0                                                                                              7/0  

25%  

90  plus  

7/0                                                                                            12/2  

47.5%  

Total  

14  (35%)                                                          26  (65%)  

100%  

 

 

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Table   V   indicates   a   combination   of   gender,   credit   hours,   and   acquaintance   with  someone  who  is  homosexual.  Thirteen  out  of  14  males  and  24  out  of  26  females   stated  that  they  stated  that  they  knew  someone  who  was  homosexual.  At  all  credit   hour   levels,   respondents,   regardless   of   gender,   knew   of   someone   one   who   was   a   homosexual.  Also,  according  to  credit  hours,  2  out  of  21  participants  stated  that  they   did  not  know  someone  who  was  a  homosexual.  Overall,  only  3  out  of  40  participants   stated   that   they   did   not   know   of   any   homosexuals.   This   leaves   an   overwhelming   majority   (92.5   percent)   of   the   participants,   regardless   of   gender   and   credit   hours,   having  been  exposed  or  having  had  contact  with  a  homosexual.     CONCLUSION    

In   this   research   study,   all   the   majors   expressed   neutral   feelings   towards  

homosexuality.   In   contrast,   a   large   majority   (92.5   percent)   of   the   students   stated   that   they   knew   someone   who   was   a   homosexual   or   had   had   contact   with   a   homosexual.   Even   when   contact   with   a   homosexual   was   displayed   among   the   participants,  it  did  not  affect  their  neutral  feelings  about  homosexuality.  Also,  97.5   percent  of  the  respondents  attended  classes  where  human  sexuality  was  discussed,   which  could  mean  that  faculty  members  are  knowledgeable  about  the  topic  and  they   are   discussing   homosexuality   in   their   courses.   Overall,   all   majors   had   neutral   feelings   about   gays   and   lesbians,   including   social   work,   even   though   contact   with   that   particular   group   was   displayed.   In   comparison,   in   the   Chonody,   Rutledge,   &   Siebert,   study   in   2009,   (where   they   used   the   IAH   (Index   of   Attitudes   toward   Homosexuality)   to   measure   the   student’s   attitudes),   the   researchers   found   that  

 

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social  work  students  were  not  different  from  those  of  participants  majoring  in  other   professions.       Limitations    

 One  of  the  limitations  of  the  research  was  the  size  of  the  sample  population  

who   participated   in   this   study,   which   was   not   substantial   enough   for   the   overall   student  population  of  Rust  College.  Another  limitation  was  the  timeframe  in  which   the   research   paper   had   to   be   completed.   Also,   the   scoring   of   Section   B   in   the   instrument   was   scored   by   hand,   which   caused   limits   on   different   tables   that   needed   to   be   displayed.   Lastly,   this   research   did   not   measure   the   amount   of   knowledge   different  faculty  members  had  on  the  topic  of  homosexuality.  Instead,  it  illustrated   only  classroom  discussion  of  homosexuality.     References     Berkman,  C  &  Zinberg,  G.  (1997).  Homophobia  and  Heterosexism  in  Social  Workers.   Social  Work.  Vol.  42  (4),  319-­‐332.         Cardenas,  M,  Barrientos,  J,  Gomez,  F,  &  Frias-­‐Navarro,  D.  (2012).  Attitudes  toward   gay  men  and  lesbians  and  their  relationship  with  gender  role  beliefs  in  a  sample   of  Chilean  university  students.  International  Journal  of  Sexual  Health.  24(3),  226-­‐ 236.     Cramer,  E.  P.  (1993).  [Pre  and  post  test  data  on  lesbian  and  gay  speakers’  panel].   Unpublished  raw  data.  University  of  South  Carolina,  College  of  Social  Work.     Chonody,  J,  Siebert,  D,  &  Rutledge,  S.  (2009).  College  student’s  attitudes  toward  gays   and  lesbians.  Journal  of  Social  Work  Education.  45,  (3),  499.     Chonody,  J,  Rutledge,  S,  &  Smith,  S.  (2012).  That’s  so  gay:  language  use  and  antigay   bias  among  heterosexual  college  students.  Journal  of  Gay  and  Lesbian  Social   Services.  24,  241-­‐259.      

 

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CSWE:  Educational  Policy  and  Accreditation  Standards.  Council  on  Social  Work   Education.  Retrieved  from  http://www.cswe.org/Accreditation.aspx     Dunbar,  J,  Brown,  M  &  Vuorinen,  S.  (1973).  Attitudes  toward  homosexuality  among   Brazilian  and  Canadian  college  students.  Journal  of  Social  Psychology.  90,  173-­‐ 183.     Einbinder,  S,  Fiechter,  S,  Sheridan,  D,  &  Miller,  D.  (2012)  Social  work  educators   attitudes  toward  gay  men  and  lesbians:  a  national  assessment.  Journal  of  Gay  &   Lesbians  Social  Services.  24,  173-­‐200.       Goldsen,  K  ,  Woodford,  M,  Luke,  K  &  Gutierrez,  L.  (2011)  Support  of  sexual   orientation  and  gender  identity  content  in  social  work  education:  results  from   national  surveys  of  U.S.  and  Anglophone  Canadian  faculty.  Journal  on  Social  Work   Education.  47,  (1),  p.19-­‐35.     Herek,  G.  (2012).  Facts  about  homosexuality  and  mental  health.  Sexual  orientation:   science,  education,  and  policy.  Retrieved  From:   http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.hmtl.     JI,  P  &  Du  Bois,  S,  and  Finnessy,  P.  (2009)  An  academic  course  that  teaches   heterosexual  students  to  be  allies  to  LGBT  communities:  A  Qualitative  Analysis.   Journal  of  Gays  and  Lesbian  Social  Service.  21,  402-­‐429   Korhonen,  T,  Kylma,  J,  Houtsonen,  J,  Valimaki,  M  &  Suominen,  T.  (2012).  University   students’  knowledge  of,  and  attitudes  towards,  HIV  and  AIDS,  homosexuality  and   sexual  risk  behaviour:  a  questionnaire  survey  in  two  Finnish  universities.  Journal   of  Biosocial  Science.  44(6),  661-­‐675.   Kwon,  P  &  Hugelshofter,  D.  (2012)  Lesbians,  gay,  and  bisexual  speaker  panels  lead   to  attitude  changes  among  heterosexual  college  students.  Journal  of  gay  &   lesbians  social  services.  24,  62-­‐79.       Lance,  L.M.  (2008).  Social  inequality  on  the  college  campus:  a  consideration  of   homosexuality.  The  College  Student  Journal.  Vol.  42  (3),  789-­‐794.     Logie,  C.,  Bridge,  T.J.,  &  Bridge,  P.D.,  (2007)  Evaluating  the  phobias,  attitudes,  and   cultural  competence  of  master  of  social  work  students  toward  the  LGBT   populations.  Journal  of  Homosexuality,  53,  201-­‐221.     May,  B  (2010).  Social  work  faculty  and  GLBT  Diversity  content:  Findings  from  a   National  sample  of  social  work  faculty.  Journal  of  Gay  &  Lesbian  Social  Services.   22,  337-­‐353.    

 

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Newman,  B,  Dannenfelser,  P  &  Benishek,  L.  (2002)  Assessing  beginning  social  work   and  counseling  students  acceptance  of  lesbians  and  gay  men.  Journal  of  Social   Work  Education.  38  (2),  273-­‐289.     Sung,  L  &  Johnson.  (2001).  Korean  Social  Work  Students’  Attitude  toward   Homosexuality.  Journal  of  Social  Work  Education.  37,  565-­‐564.     Swank,  E  &  Raiz,  L  (2010).  Predicting  the  support  of  same-­‐sex  relationship  rights   among  social  work  students.  Journal  of  gay  &  Lesbian  Social  Services.  22,.149-­‐ 164.     The  Leadership  Conference.  (2009).  Stonewall  Riots:  the  Beginning  of  the  LGBT   Movement.  Retrieved  From:  www.civilrights.org/archives/2009/06/449-­‐ stonewall.html.     Tully,C.T.  (2000).  Lesbian,  gays,  and  the  empowerment  perspective.  New  York:   Columbia  University  Press.     Voorhis,  R  &  Wagner,  M.  (2002)  Among  the  missing:  content  on  lesbian  and  gay   people  in  social  work  journals.  Social  Work  47  (4),  345-­‐354.      Wisniewski,  J  &  Toomey,  B.  (1987).  Are  social  workers  homophobic?  Social  Work.   32  (5),  454-­‐455.                                            

 

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RUNNING  HEAD:  THE  ROLE  OF  RELIGION  IN  PUBLIC  ACCEPTANCE  OF   HOMOSEXUALITY            

The  Role  of  Religion  in  Public  Acceptance  of  Homosexuality  

     

Lauren  Turner     ABSTRACT   This   research   explores   the   effects   of   religion,   age,   and   political   party  

affiliation  on  one’s  public  acceptance  or  non-­‐acceptance  of  homosexuality.  The  study   uses   indicators   such   as   morality   and   same-­‐sex   marriage   to   identify   attitudes   of   social   actors.   It   also   aims   at   defining   which   age   cohorts   are   more   accepting   of   homosexuality.   And   lastly,   this   study   examines   how   one’s   political   party   affiliation   underscores   one’s   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   Characteristics   such   as   freedoms   and  privileges  of  homosexuals  will  also  be  discussed  focusing  on  how  the  attitudes   of   different   cohorts   vary   when   examining   this   subject.   The   research   design   of   this   study   is   descriptive,   and   surveys   are   used   as   the   method   of   collecting   data.   Statistical   analysis   of   cross-­‐tabulations   involving   sub-­‐group   comparisons   are   produced  in  relation  to  public  acceptance  of  homosexuality.            

 

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INTRODUCTION     The   debate   of   homosexuality   has   continually   grown   in   the   realms   of   social   study  and  throughout  the  general  population.  This  research  explores  the  effect  one’s   religion   has   on   their   acceptance   or   view   of   homosexuality.   The   term   public   serves   much   importance   in   this   analysis.   An   individual’s   public   acceptance   of   homosexuality  is  an  indication  of  what  they  are  willing  to  admit  or  share  regarding   their  opinion  of  homosexuality.  Age  and  political  party  affiliation  are  also  explored   in   measuring   acceptance   of   homosexuality   and   actions   affiliated   with   it,   specifically,   same-­‐sex  marriage.     While   many   of   the   previous   studies   concerning   homosexuality   have   been   subjected  to  cause  and  cure,  this  study  embraces  the  new  phenomenon  and  explores   a   social   actor’s   acceptance   or   disapproval   of   homosexuality.     Same-­‐sex   marriages   and   gay   rights   play   a   particular   role   in   measuring   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   Individuals  in  agreement  with  same-­‐sex  marriage  can  be  deemed  accepting  of  it.  For   this  particular  study  this  is  an  indicator  for  measuring  acceptance  of  homosexuality.   Same-­‐sex   marriage   and   gay   rights   are   considered   not   only   because   of   their   contribution  to  the  homosexual  lifestyle  but  because  they  also  dominate  the  debate   of  this  growing  trend.  The  social  and  political  fields  have  swarmed  the  media  with   the  debate  of  gay  rights  and  same-­‐sex  marriages.       Purpose   The   purpose   of   this   study   is   to   find   the   link   between   social   and   religious   aspects   of   homosexuality.   What   role   does   religion   play   in   acceptance   of  

 

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homosexuality?   Who   is   more   likely   to   be   accepting   of   homosexuality   when   measuring  religion,  age,  and  political  party  affiliation?  Religion  plays  a  vital  role  in   the   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   Many   people   reject   homosexuality   on   a   religious   basis.   This   study   explores   specifically   which   religions   are   more   susceptible   to   homosexuality,   if   any.   Religion   may   also   be   a   basis   of   positive   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   Many   different   religions   relay   different   perceptions   of   homosexuality.   Overall,   the   importance   of   this   study   is   to   seek   out,   specifically,   how   religion   influences   one’s   judgment   of   homosexuality.   Does   age   really   factor   in   acceptance  of  homosexuality  as  well  as  political  party  affiliation?       Problem  Statement   Does   religion   influence   people’s   attitude   toward   homosexuality?   How   does   political   party   affiliation   and   age   factor   in   homosexuality?   Do   different   political   parties  support  or  challenge  same-­‐sex  marriages  and  gay  rights?  Is  there  a  trend  in   acceptance   of   homosexuality   concerning   different   age   cohorts?   The   dependent   variable   of   this   study   is   acceptance   of   homosexuality,   while   the   independent   variables  are  religion,  political  party  affiliation,  and  age.       Hypothesis   Religion  plays  a  key  role  in  people’s  perception  of  homosexuality.  Individuals   who   identify   closely   with   a   religion   or   religiosity   are   least   likely   to   accept   homosexuality   and   its   practices.   Political   party   affiliation   such   as   conservative,   liberal,   and   independent   does   reflect   acceptance   or   non-­‐acceptance   of  

 

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homosexuality   and   its   practices   such   as   same-­‐sex   marriages.   The   age   group   of   35   and  younger  is  more  accepting  of  homosexuality  and  its  practices.       LITERATURE  REVIEW     Three   specific   variables   are   addressed   in   the   literature   review:   previous   studies  relating  religion  and  acceptance  of  homosexuality,  political  party  affiliation   and  position  on  same-­‐sex  marriage,  and  support  of  homosexuality  across  different   age  cohorts.  This  exploratory  study  investigates  various  factors  such  as  age,  religion,   and   political   party   affiliation’s   influence   on   acceptance   of   homosexuality.        

While  homosexuality  is  becoming  a  more  greatly  recognized  social  construct,  

it   is   important   to   measure   the   weight   of   existing   institutions   and   their   effects.   Recent   poll   data   suggest   that   while   a   slight   majority   of   Americans   now   accept   homosexuality   as   a   way   of   life   (51   percent   in   2006),   and   are   increasingly   more   favorable   toward   allowing   gays   and   lesbians   to   openly   serve   in   the   military   (60   percent   in   2006,   up   from   52   percent   in   1994)   and   adopt   children   (46   percent   in   2006,  up  from  38  percent  in  1999),  public  support  for  legalizing  gay  marriage  lags   behind  (Pew  Research  Center  for  the  People  &  the  Press,  2006).     This   study   attempts   to   gather   and   analyze   data   concerning   same-­‐sex   marriages.  What  trend  in  political  party  affiliation  holds  the  most  causation  for  this   fact?   This   literature   review   explores   previously   established   data   on   this   topic,   homosexuality,   religion,   age,   and   political   party   affiliation,   concluding   the   study   stating  similarities  or  differences  in  data  found.        

 

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Religion   Religion  impacts  all  aspects  of  life,  shaping  what  people  think  and  how  they   see  the  world.  Rejection  of  homosexuality  is  often  religiously  based.  In  fact,  previous   research   has   shown   that   more   religious   individuals,   defined   as   those   who   attend   church  more  frequently  and  have  a  more  devout  sense  of  doctrinal  commitment,  are   significantly   less   tolerant   of   gay   men   and   lesbians   (Beatty   &   Walter,   1984;   Wilcox   &   Jelen,  1990).     This  evidence  directly  correlates  with  the  hypothesis  concerning  religion  in   this  study.  Based  on  this  data  a  hypothesis  was  formed;  religion  plays  a  key  role  in   people’s   susceptibility   to   homosexuality;   individuals   who   identify   closely   with   a   religion  or  religiosity  are  least  likely  to  accept  homosexuality  and  its  practices.     When   evaluating   same-­‐sex   marriage,   religious   individuals   conflict   with   those   who   advocate   for   it   simply   because   they   see   marriage   as   the   union   of   a   man   and   woman.  The  phrase  “devout  sense  of  doctrinal  commitment”  is  the  separating  factor   in  analysis  of  religion’s  role  in  acceptance  of  homosexuality.     Many   individuals   identify   themselves   with   some   type   of   religion,   but   the   phrase   “devout   sense   of   doctrinal   commitment”   does   not   always   define   the   vast   amount  of  people  that  declare  religion  as  a  part  of  their  life.  Those  who  identify  as   well   as   faithfully   practice   the   teachings   and   beliefs   of   specific   religions   are   those   who  are  less  tolerant  of  homosexuality.     In   this   study   the   independent   variable,   religion,   is   measured   based   upon   one’s   specific   religion   as   well   as   identifying   how   religious   the   respondent   is.   The   indicator  for  religion  in  this  study  is  religiosity,  how  closely  one  follows  the  beliefs  

 

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and   teachings   of   their   religion.   Several   questions   on   the   survey   ask   respondents   about   how   much   they   attend   religious   ceremonies   and   how   often   do   they   follow   their  religious  guidelines.     Beginning  in  the  1970s,  a  study  was  done  titled  Religion  and  Public  Opinion   about   Same-­‐Sex   Marriage;   341   surveys   assessed   Americans’   attitudes   about   the   morality   of   homosexuality   and   their   attitudes   about   restricting   the   civil   rights   and   civil  liberties  of  gay  people  (DeBoer,  1978;  Levitt  &  Klassen,  1974).     This   study,   in   the   same   method,   surveying,   has   further   expanded   the   literature   on   this   topic.   Specifically,   attitudes   towards   homosexuality   will   be   viewed   in   terms   of   acceptance   for   this   present   study.   Civil   rights   and   civil   liberties   are   reflected   upon   by   measuring   same-­‐sex   marriage   opinions   in   this   study.   Which   political  parties  are  in  favor  of  it?     Age  is  also  a  factor  in  examining  various  attitudes  towards  homosexuality.  A   general   opinion   has   been   formed   that   younger   generations   are   more   accepting   of   homosexuality   due   to   personal   contact   with   homosexuals.   Recent   polls   indicate   that   demographic  factors  such  as  education,  gender,  and  age  have  significant  influences   on   public   opinion   about   homosexuality,   as   does   the   degree   of   personal   contact   individuals   have   with   gay   men   and   lesbians,   and   attitudes   toward   traditional   morality   (Brewer,   2003;   Davis,   1992;   Ellison   &   Musick,   1993;   Finlay   &   Walther,   2003;   Gibson   &   Tedin,   1988;   Glenn   &   Weaver,   1979;   Herek,   2002;   Herek   &   Capitanio,   1996;   Herek   &   Glunt,   1993;   Kerns   &   Fine,   1994;   Kite   &   Whitley,   1996;   Loftus,  2001).    

 

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Homosexuality    

Homosexuality  is  defined  as  the  general  preference  for  sex  with  members  of  

one’s   own   gender.   For   instance,   a   male   orienting   another   male   is   considered   gay,   and   a   female   with   another   female   is   considered   lesbian.   Many   people   view   homosexuality  as  only  a  physical  or  sexual  matter.     Homosexuality   extends   further   than   sex,   but   constitutes   natural   feelings   of   compassion   and   affection   towards   individuals   of   the   same   gender.   Homosexuality,   or  acceptance  of  homosexuality,  as  the  dependent  variable  of  this  study,  is  measured   based   upon   this   definition   of   homosexuality.   Same-­‐sex   marriage   is   the   indicator   within  the  study  measuring  acceptance  of  homosexuality.     How  respondents  indicate  their  opinion  of  homosexuality  is  best  represented   in   asking   if   they   oppose   or   support   homosexual   marriages.   The   word   homosexual   is   derived   from   Greek   and   Latin   language,   “homo”   as   the   root   word   meaning   same   (Greek)   and   sexual   from   the   Medieval   Latin   word   sexualis,   thus   generating   the   concept  of  homosexuality  as  a  preference  for  what  is  the  same.     Although  the  definition  of  homosexuality  may  seem  clearly  defined,  it  is  also   based   on   how   individuals   identify   themselves   with   the   meaning   of   the   word.   Identifying  with  homosexuality  is  a  matter  of  self-­‐concept  and  self-­‐actualization.  In   other   words,   homosexuality   is   not   a   label   of   others;   one   has   to   first   associate   him   or   herself   with   the   behavior.   While   this   self-­‐identifying   action   may   be   appropriate,   individuals   still   take   it   upon   themselves   to   label   other   individuals   homosexual.   Homosexuality   also   has   different   avenues   outside   of   gays   and   lesbians.   There   are  

 

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bisexuals  who  express  interest  in  both  males  and  females  and  transsexuals  who  feel   that  they  are  actual  members  of  the  opposite  sex.      

There   are   a   wide   range   of   theories   that   describe   how   individuals   come   to  

homosexuality.   Like   any   other   issue   within   society   there   is   an   ongoing   debate   and   steady  research  based  on  the  biological  and  sociological  impact  on  individuals  who   identify   with   homosexuality.   There   are   also   psychological   explanations   of   homosexuality,   but   they   are   not   as   widely   focused   on   as   social   and   biological   explanations.     Many   people   believe   that   homosexuality   is   a   choice   and   that   an   individual   within   it   can   choose   to   fully   walk   out   of   the   lifestyle.   Others   argue   that   homosexuality   is   not   a   choice   and   in   essence   is   equivalent   to   heterosexuality.   Research  has  suggested  that  the  brain  anatomy  of  heterosexuals  and  homosexuals  is   different  (LaVay,  1991).  Becoming  a  homosexual  is  not  really  an  incident.  Research   suggests  it  is  either  learned  or  either  a  biological  matter.     Researchers   have   found   that   in   some   cases   enough   evidence   is   shown   that   the   physiology   of   homosexuals   and   heterosexuals   differs.   The   sociological   side   of   homosexuality   suggests   that   individuals   learn   homosexuality   through   peers   rather   than  being  developed  from  certain  biological  characteristics.     Although   sociological   and   biological   parallel   in   some   instances   the   two   concepts   are   greatly   separate.   Through   interaction   with   others,   early   on   an   individual  knows  whether  the  attraction  to  a  being  of  the  same  sex  feels  natural  or  is   uncomfortable.   At   some   point   in   every   individual’s   life   they   experience   a   homosexual  feeling  or  encounter  some  kind  of  homosexual  run  in.  Some  realize  the  

 

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experience  and  let  it  go;  others  cling  to  it,  believing  it  was  meant  for  them  and  feels   natural.   Sex   roles   are   obvious   at   a   very   young   age,   and   although   they   are   widely   separated  and  clear,  some  individuals  still  flee  from  them.     This  guides  the  thought  of  homosexuality  being  innate  or  natural.  Individuals   develop   their   own   sexual   preferences,   or   orientations   by   learning   to   favor   certain   objects   or   practices   and,   alternatively,   by   not   learning   to   favor   other   alternatives.   Sex   roles   are   a   key   in   the   explanation   of   individuals   coming   into   homosexuality   because   they   are   taught   at   a   young   age   and   they   are   closely   tied   to   what   is   feminine   and  what  is  masculine.     Although  these  ideas  or  concepts  are  widely  used  to  explain  how  individuals   become  homosexuals,  they  still  fall  short  in  an  overall  examination  simply  because   not  all  individuals  who  are  homosexual  identify  with  sex  roles  opposite  of  their  own   sex.   Many   homosexuals   that   are   male   identify   with   male   roles   of   masculinity   and   feel  comfortable  in  doing  so  as  well  as  with  the  roles  of  females;  lesbians  may  still   carry  out  their  feminine  sex  roles.     At  the  same  time,  a  great  number  of  individuals  who  are  homosexual  identify   with   opposite   roles,   so   a   general   assumption   cannot   be   concluded   that   individuals   become   homosexual   due   to   not   being   able   to   identify   with   the   roles   that   society   has   assigned  them.       Age   Among   younger   people   in   particular,   there   is   broad   support   for   societal   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   More   than   six-­‐in-­‐ten   (63   percent)   of   those   younger  

 

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than  age  50  and  69  percent  of  those  younger  than  age  thirty  feel  that  homosexuality   should   be   accepted.   Individuals   ages   fifty   and   older   (52   percent)   favor   societal   acceptance   of   homosexuality   (Pew   Research   Center,   political   typology   survey,   May   4,  2011).     Studies  have  shown  that  this  is  a  direct  result  of  younger  individuals  having   actual   contact   or   personal   relationships   with   homosexual   individuals,   a   familiarity   which   ultimately   lightens   their   aggression   towards   homosexuality   or   same-­‐sex   marriage.   In   another   study   focusing   on   age   differences   in   acceptance   of   homosexuality,  about  half  of  the  respondents  (48  percent)  reported  that  they  knew   someone  homosexual,  whereas  52  percent  reported  that  they  did  not.  The  younger   age  group  knew  homosexual  persons  to  a  greater  extent  than  the  older  age  group.          

Those   who   knew   someone   homosexual   had   a   significantly   more   liberal  

outlook   on   homosexuality   and   homosexual   individuals   than   those   who   did   not.   This   study   seeks   to   further   explore   the   variation   of   age   in   relevance   to   acceptance   of   homosexuality.  Straying  away  from  the  causes  of  this  acceptance  this  research  study   simply   statistically   analyzes   the   differences   for   further   study   on   this   topic.   In   this   study,   age,   as   an   independent   variable,   is   simply   measured   or   gathered   through   asking  the  respondents  their  age.  The  age  of  respondents  is  then  observed  alongside   other  indicators  to  give  a  general  view  of  how  accepting  they  are  of  homosexuality.     Political  Party  Affiliation   The  Washington  Post  and  the  Kaiser  Family  Foundation  released  the  results   of   a   survey   of   3,130   adults   about   their   position   on   same-­‐sex   marriage.   The   survey  

 

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found   that   just   over   half   of   all   adults   and   registered   voters   thought   same-­‐sex   couples  should  be  able  to  get  married.  This  varies  greatly  by  political  affiliation,  with   Democrats   and   Republicans   mirroring   each   other   and   two-­‐thirds   of   Democrats   supporting  same-­‐sex  marriage,  while  the  same  proportion  of  Republicans  opposed   it.   Well   over   half   of   Independents   also   agreed   that   same-­‐sex   marriage   should   be   legal.  This  study  seeks  to  differentiate  the  views  of  political  parties  in  relevance  to   gay   rights   and   same-­‐sex   marriage.   Also,   a   cross   tabulation   evaluation   will   be   done   observing   age   and   political   party   affiliation   when   examining   attitudes   toward   homosexuality.   Recent   data   from   a   2008   Pew   Research   Center   study   confirm   this   relationship,   documenting   that   83   percent   of   conservative   Republicans   and   73   percent   of   more   religious   individuals   oppose   gay   marriage,   compared   to   26   percent   of   liberal   Democrats   and   43   percent   of   less   religious   individuals   who   oppose   gay   marriage  (Masci,  2008).     Conflict  Theory    

The   conflict   theory,   coined   by   Karl   Marx,   emphasizes   the   clash   between  

power   differentials   or   a   general   contrast   between   groups   reflecting   dominant   ideologies   within   a   society.   Contrast   between   groups   reflecting   a   dominant   ideology   is   the   most   relevant   for   this   study.   In   examining   the   role   of   religion   in   acceptance   of   homosexuality,   emphasizing   same-­‐sex   marriage,   the   conflict   or   contrast   between   political  parties  comes  into  play.     The  conflict  theory  is  specific  to  this  topic  given  that  it  explains  the  basis  of   conflict   between   individuals   who   are   accepting   of   same-­‐sex   unions   as   a   legitimate  

 

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marriage   and   individuals   who   are   not   as   accepting.   The   dominant   ideology   in   our   society  is  that  marriage  is  the  union  of  one  man  and  one  woman;  therefore,  two  men   or  two  women  cannot  be  legally  or  legitimately  married.  The  conflict  stands  on  the   idea  that  if  same-­‐sex  marriage  becomes  a  completely  accepted  and  recognized  union   the   institution   of   marriage   and   family   will   then   be   questioned   and,   furthermore,   transformed  in  the  United  States.     Conflict   theory   analyses   social   conflict   or   socially   conflicting   issues   on   a   macro   level.   It   is   safe   to   correlate   conflict   theory   with   the   ongoing   argument   of   same-­‐sex   marriage   because   of   how   widely   discussed   the   topic   has   become   in   recent   years.   Evolving   from   just   small   talk   to   a   widely-­‐debated   political   issue,   same-­‐sex   marriage  has  grown  into  division  concerning  acceptance  among  the  major  political   parties  in  the  United  States.     Previous   research   has   also   provided   evidence   of   a   direct   and   significant   relationship   between   conservative   ideological   orientations,   religiosity,   and   opposition   to   same-­‐sex   marriage   (Becker   and   Scheufele,   2009;   Brewer,   2008   Burdette,  Ellison,  and  Hill,  2005;  Rimmerman  and  Wilcox,  2007).     Conflict   theory   also   gives   theoretical   explanation   for   inequality   and   conflict   homosexuals   experience   within   the   society.   Gay   bashing   and   discrimination   are   a   common   consequence   for   homosexual   individuals   within   this   society.   Conflict   theory   states   that   these   two   groups,   homosexuals   and   their   supporters   versus   heterosexuals  and  non-­‐supporters  of  homosexuality,  clash  because  of  their  opposing   ideas   concerning   this   topic.   The   theory   suggests   that   each   group   will   continue   to   feud  over  the  idea  and  dominance  concerning  the  civil  rights  of  homosexuals.    

 

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METHODOLOGY    

Does   religion   influence   people’s   attitude   toward   homosexuality?   How   do   age  

and   political   party   affiliation   reflect   judgment   or   acceptance   of   homosexuality?     What   are   people’s   position   on   same-­‐sex   marriage,   examining   different   age   cohorts   and  major  political  parties  in  the  U.S.?  A  similar  study  done  by  Amy  B.  Becker  and   Dietram  A.  Scheufele,  “New  Voters,  New  Outlook?  Predispositions,  Social  Networks,   and  the  Changing  Politics  of  Gay  Civil  Rights,”  sought  to  examine  factors  that  shaped   public  acceptance  of  homosexuality  and  support  for  same-­‐sex  marriage.     In   this   study   the   researchers   analyzed   two   national   surveys   to   gather   their   data.   The   results   of   this   study   indicated   that   attitudes   of   younger   subjects   were   positive   in   their   acceptance   of   homosexuality   because   many   of   the   respondents   experienced  personal  contact  with  someone  homosexual.     While   younger   respondents   were   more   accepting   on   such   basis,   older   individuals   had   more   religious   and   ideological   predispositions   about   same-­‐sex   marriage  and  homosexuality.  This  study  utilized  previously  developed  surveys  that   examined  their  variables  or  variable  groups  and  analyzed  the  data  specific  to  their   topic.   They   also   used   the   interview   method   to   gather   data,   using   a   random-­‐digital   dial   methodology   and   online   interviews   through   Survey   Spot.   For   this   research   study  the  research  method  used  was  surveying.  This  quantitative  study  used  several   tables   including   cross-­‐tabulations   and   frequency   distributions   to   analyze   the   data   collected.        

 

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Research  Design    

This  study  found  patterns  and  trends  in  public  acceptance  of  homosexuality  

and   same-­‐sex   marriage.   Using   cross-­‐tabulations   and   frequency   distribution   tables   this   descriptive   study   pinpointed   age,   religion,   and   political   party   variations   in   perception   of   homosexuality.   This   descriptive   study   further   expanded   the   existing   data   on   trends   in   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   With   previous   research   suggesting   the   rapid   growth   of   homosexuality,   it   is   important   to   explore   the   etiology   of   its   acceptance.     This  study  is  relevant  given  homosexuality  was  formerly  considered  a  mental   disorder   or   a   socially   deviant   behavior.   With   the   new   trend   of   its   acceptance,   it   is   important  to  research  which  social  group  has  conformed  to  new  ways  of  thinking  on   this  topic  and  which  have  maintained  other  norms  relative  to  this  topic.  This  study   seeks  to  explore  these  questions.     While   this   study   yields   limitation   to   why   change   has   occurred,   it   describes   various  groups  and  their  views  of  homosexuality  and  same-­‐sex  marriage.  This  is  the   purpose   for   studying   the   role   of   religion   in   public   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   Other   limitations   include   the   time-­‐span   given   for   completion   and   limited   representation  within  the  sample  population  due  to  location.     Population    

The   population   used   in   this   study   was   decided   based   on   the   environment  

subjects   were   in.   The   population   for   this   study   were   students   at   The   University   of   Mississippi.   Given   the   diversified   population   at   the   University   of   Mississippi,   the  

 

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questionnaire   was   administered   to   students   and   workers   on   the   school’s   Oxford   campus.  A  non-­‐random  method  of  sampling  was  done  for  this  study,  requesting  in   the  institution’s  main  library  a  subject’s  participation  on  a  basis  of  availability.     A   population   of   100   people   was   explored   for   this   study.   The   instrument   of   choice   is   a   survey   or   questionnaire   consisting   of   twelve   questions   using   a   Likert-­‐ type   scale   to   analyze   data   objectively   with   construct   validity.   The   demographic   information   on   the   survey   specifically   asks   for   age,   religion,   and   political   party   affiliation  to  measure  the  variables  consistent  with  this  study.       Data  Collection    

The   method   of   collecting   data   for   this   research   was   the   survey   method.   In  

order   to   measure   public   acceptance   of   homosexuality,   a   survey   and   100   respondents   were   necessary   to   measure   the   opinions   of   social   actors.   The   demographics   or   independent   variables   such   as   age,   religion,   and   political   party   affiliation  were  critical  in  analyzing  public  acceptance  of  homosexuality.     Surveys   given   to   every   person   entering   the   library   at   the   University   of   Mississippi,  who  gave  their  consent,  created  a  non-­‐random  sampling  method.  Each   individual  was  asked  to  complete  the  survey  at  their  own  will.  I  vaguely  explained   the  purpose  and  the  anonymity  of  the  survey  before  respondents  began.     Questions   on   the   instrument   were   used   to   operationalize   variables.   The   indicators   or   variables   within   each   question   were   chosen   to   best   infer   a   respondent’s   feelings   or   position   on   public   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   For   example,  question  number  five  on  the  survey  asks  if  the  respondent  spends  a  lot  of  

 

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time  following  or  adhering  to  religious  guidelines.  This  question  is  critical  for  data   collection  in  that  it  measures  the  individual’s  level  of  religiosity.     Religiosity   is   used   in   this   study   to   determine   whether   the   presence   of   religiosity  in  one’s  life  reflects  their  acceptance  or  non-­‐acceptance  of  homosexuality.   Question   number   six   on   the   survey   asks   if   participants   feel   all   homosexual   bars   should   be   closed   down.   This   question   is   used   to   infer,   once   again,   an   individual’s   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   Those   who   agree   with   this   statement,   for   this   study,   are  said  to  be  non-­‐accepting  of  homosexuality  while  those  who  disagree  are  said  to   be  more  accepting  of  homosexuality.     Using  this  indicator  for  measuring  public  acceptance  of  homosexuality  is  also   helpful   when   collecting   specific   data   concerning   age   and   political   party   affiliation.   When   comparing   the   indicators   with   these   independent   variables,   we   find   the   variance  of  acceptance  of  homosexuality  based  on  age  and  political  party  affiliation.   This  study  sought  to  determine  whether  age,  political  party  affiliation,  and  religion   factored  into  one’s  public  acceptance  of  homosexuality.     Question   four   on   the   survey   questions   whether   respondents   feel   same-­‐sex   marriages   should   be   legal.   This   question   was   chosen   because   it   best   represents   acceptance   of   homosexuality   through   legalization   of   same-­‐sex   marriages.   Implementing   age   allows   measurement   of   which   age   group   is   most   accepting   of   homosexuality   and   its   practices   and   which   political   group   is   most   accepting   of   homosexuality.     Determining   which   political   party   was   most   and   least   accepting   of   homosexuality  was  an  objective  of  this  study  as  well.  When  comparing  the  variable  

 

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political   party   affiliation   and   the   indicator   of   morality,   questioning   the   morality   of   homosexuality   on   an   individual   basis   can   determine   which   political   party   is   most   accepting   of   homosexuality.   Morality,   for   this   study,   represents   right,   and   we   automatically   associate   what   is   right   with   the   norm   within   our   society.   Using   the   instrument,   data   collection   is   obtained   through   the   questions   and   responses   to   questions  from  participants.         Construct  Validity    

The   Likert-­‐type   scale   used   in   this   study   allowed   construct   validity   in   the  

results.   The   different   levels   of   the   Likert-­‐type   scale   for   this   particular   study   are   Strongly   Agree,   Agree,   Strongly   Disagree,   Disagree,   and   Indifferent.   These   specific   choices   were   chosen   to   eliminate   any   uncertainty   within   the   responses.   With   Strongly   Agree   on   one   end   of   the   spectrum   and   Strongly   Disagree   on   the   other,   complete  polarization  of  responses  was  allowed.     Inferences   or   indicators   used   within   the   survey   allowed   clear-­‐cut   or   legitimate   data   to   be   collected.     The   variables   religion,   age,   and   political   party   affiliation  placed  in  the  questions  on  the  survey  allowed  reliable  data  to  be  collected   when  measuring  public  acceptance  of  homosexuality.     Questions   such   as   the   morality   of   homosexuality,   the   legality   of   same-­‐sex   marriages,   homosexuality   being   recognized   as   a   norm   in   society,   religious   adherence  and  practice  all  allowed  the  concept  of  acceptance  of  homosexuality  to  be   measured.   The   indicators   pinpointed   exactly   what   this   study   seeks   to   answer,   allowing  construct  validity  and  reliability  of  responses.    

 

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ANALYSIS  OF  DATA   Table  1:  Univariate  Analysis:  Morality  of  Homosexuality   “Homosexuality     is  moral.”   Strongly  Agree  

Value  

Frequency  

Percentage  

1  

11  

11.00%  

Agree  

2  

11  

11.00%  

Disagree  

3  

32  

32.00%  

Strongly  Disagree   Indifferent  

4   5  

37   9  

37.00%   9.00%  

 

Total  

100  

100.00%  

   

This  univariate  table  describes  the  single  variable,  morality  of  homosexuality.  

Question   number   10   on   the   questionnaire   asks   subjects   surveyed   if   they   feel   homosexuality  is  moral.  The  values  on  this  table  represent  the  numerical  code  given   to  each  response  in  the  codebook.     These   numerical   codes,   also   known   as   values,   were   used   for   data   manipulation   in   comparing   other   variables   measured   such   as   freedom,   adherence,   and  favor  of  homosexuality.  The  frequency  column  describes  the  number  of  times  a   respondent  chose  a  particular  answer  in  relevance  to  the  variable  morality,  such  as   strongly  agree,  agree,  disagree,  strongly  disagree,  and  indifferent.     The  least  frequent  response  to  this  question  was  indifferent,  with  a  value  of   5,   and   only   9   subjects   had   this   answer   to   morality   of   homosexuality.   The   most   frequent   response   was   strongly   disagree,   with   a   value   of   4   and   a   frequency   of   37.   The   percent   column   simply   represents   the   percentage   each   response   held   in   the   overall  accumulation  of  data  given  for  this  particular  response.  For  example,  it  can  

 

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be   concluded   that   37   percent   of   respondents   strongly   disagreed   with   the   idea   of   homosexuality   being   moral.   The   total   number   of   respondents   matched   the   total   responses  given  for  this  question,  resulting  in  a  total  of  zero  missing  cases  and  100   valid  cases  accounted  for.       Table  2:  Bivariate  Analysis:  Legality  of  Same-­‐sex  Marriages   Democrat   (Liberal)  

Republican   (Conservative)  

Independent    

Other  

10  (10.0%)  

0  (0.0%)  

1  (1.0%)  

2  (2.0%)  

Democrat   (Liberal)  

Republican   (Conservative)  

Independent    

Other  

9  (9.0%)  

1  (1.0%)  

2  (2.0%)  

2  (2.0%)  

Disagree  

10  (10.0%)  

11  (11.0%)  

2  (2.0%)  

5  (5.0%)  

Strongly   Disagree   Indifferent  

16  (16.0%)  

10  (10.0%)  

4  (4.0%)    

3  (3.0%)  

8  (8.0%)  

2  (2.0%)  

1  (1.0%)  

2  (2.0%)  

Total  

53  (53.0%)  

24  (24.0%)  

9  (9.0%)  

14  (14.0%)  

“Same-­‐sex   marriages  should   be  legal  unions.”  

Strongly  Agree   “Same-­‐sex   marriages  should   be  legal  unions.”  

Agree  

  This   bivariate   table   represents   the   two   variables,   same-­‐sex   marriage   and   political  party  affiliation.  Each  political  party  column  represents  the  actual  number   of   participants   who   chose   each   response   and   the   percentage   each   category   possessed.     The   legality   of   same-­‐sex   marriage   was   most   favorable   among   individuals   who   affiliated   themselves   with   the   Democratic   Party.   Ten   democratic   respondents   strongly  agreed  that  same-­‐sex  marriages  should  be  legal,  constituting  10  percent  of  

 

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the   total   population   surveyed.   Surprisingly,   16   percent   of   Democrats   surveyed   felt   same  sex  marriage  should  not  be  legal;  they  strongly  disagreed  with  the  statement.       Twenty-­‐two   percent   of   Republicans   either   disagreed   or   strongly   disagreed   with  same-­‐sex  marriage  being  legal,  and  twenty-­‐six  percent  of  respondents  affiliated   with   all   other   parties   felt   same-­‐sex   marriage   should   be   legal.   A   total   of   thirteen   respondents   were   indifferent   about   the   matter   of   same-­‐sex   marriage   being   legal.   These  results  were  helpful  in  determining  which  political  parties  felt  the  strongest   about  same-­‐sex  marriages.  The  relationship  between  political  party  affiliations  and   same-­‐sex   marriage   was   slightly   lower   than   expected   outside   of   the   Republican   Party.  The  number  of  individuals  of  democratic  affiliation  who  disagreed  or  strongly   disagreed  with  same-­‐sex  marriage  was  more  than  those  who  agreed  at  26  percent  to   19  percent  respectively.      

Table  3:  Bivariate  Analysis:  Normality  of  Homosexuality  

“It  would  be   Strongly   beneficial  to   Agree   society  to   recognize   homosexuality   as  normal.”   Non  Christian   3(3%)  

Agree  

Disagree   Strongly   Indifferent   Disagree  

Total  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

2(2%)  

1(1%)  

6(6%)  

Catholic  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

6(6%)  

0(0%)  

7(7%)  

Orthodox  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

2(2%)  

7(7%)  

29(29%)  

1(1%)  

11(11%)  

  Baptist  

6(6%)  

6(6%)  

5(5%)  

5(5%)    

Church  of   Christ  

 

3(3%)  

1(1%)  

2(2%)  

4(4%)    

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Episcopal  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

1(1%)  

2(2%)  

3(3%)  

Methodist  

4(4%)  

2(2%)  

0(0%)  

7(7%)  

1(1%)  

14(14%)  

Pentecostal  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

2(2%)  

2(2%)  

0(0%)  

4(4%)  

Presbyterian  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

5(5%)  

0(0%)  

7(7%)  

5(5.0%)  

17(17.0%)  

 

  Other  

4(4.0%)   3(3.0%)   2(2.0%)   3(3.0%)    

This  bivariate  table  analyzes  the  results  of  statement  number  1  on  the  survey   instrument,   “It   would   be   beneficial   to   society   to   recognize   homosexuality   as   normal.”  This  table  compares  the  results  of  answers  from  respondents  of  different   religious  denominations  in  relation  to  this  particular  question  on  the  survey.     The   results   were   sparsely   divided   among   the   religious   categories.   Twenty-­‐ three   respondents,   equivalent   to   23   percent   of   participants,   strongly   agreed   with   this  statement.  The  Baptist  denomination  held  the  most  individuals  in  agreement,  at   6   percent,   followed   by   Methodist   at   4   percent,   and   other   religions   also   at   4   percent;   Non-­‐Christian   and   Church   of   Christ   were   each   at   3   percent   each,   Catholic,   Eastern   Orthodox,  and  Presbyterian  all  at  1  percent  each,  and  Episcopalian  and  Pentecostal   at  0  percent.       This   study   sought   to   determine   if   religion   played   a   key   role   in   how   accepting   individuals   are   of   homosexuality.   This   table   shows   that   36   percent   of   individuals   who   identified   themselves   with   either   Non-­‐Christian,   Catholic,   Orthodox,   Baptist,   Church   of   Christ,   Episcopalian,   Methodist,   Pentecostal,   Presbyterian,   or   any   other  

 

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religion   either   agreed   or   strongly   disagreed   with   the   statement   while   44   percent   either  disagreed  or  strongly  disagreed.     It   can   be   concluded   that   religious   affiliation   does   play   a   key   role   in   acceptance  of  homosexuality.  More  individuals  identifying  with  some  religion  were   less   accepting   of   the   normality   of   homosexuality   in   society.   The   Baptist   denomination   or   religion   with   12   percent   acceptance   is   most   accepting   of   homosexuality.       Table  4:  Univariate  Analysis:  Freedom  of  homosexuality   “Homosexuals  should  be   free  to  date  whomever   they  please.”  

Value  

Frequency  

Percentage  

Strongly  Agree  

1  

16  

16.00%  

Agree  

2  

31  

31.00%  

Disagree  

3  

11  

11.00%  

Strongly  Disagree  

4  

16  

16.00%  

Indifferent  

5  

26  

26.00%  

 

Total  

100  

100.00%  

   

Table   4   seeks   to   numerically   analyze   the   results   of   survey   statement   number  

8.   “Homosexuals   should   be   free   to   date   whomever   they   please”   was   question   number   8   on   the   survey   instrument.   This   question   sought   to   measure   the   acceptance  of  homosexuality  based  on  this  statement  that  suggests  that  individuals   who   are   homosexual   should   be   free   to   openly   date   whomever   they   please.   Thirty-­‐

 

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one   percent   agreed   that   homosexuals   should   be   free   to   date   who[m]ever   they   please.     Surprisingly,   26   percent   of   respondents   were   indifferent   about   the   matter.   While   this   instrument   does   not   provide   raw   data   about   the   acceptance   of   homosexuality,   it   suggests   that   many   individuals   do   not   care   either   way   about   homosexuality  or  the  actions  of  homosexuals.     Sixteen   percent   of   individuals   strongly   disagreed   with   the   idea   of   homosexuals  exercising  freedom  in  dating.  All  respondents  answered  this  question,   allowing  100  valid  cases  and  zero  missing  cases  for  this  particular  survey  item.       Table  5:  Cross  Tabulation:  Political  Party  Affiliation  and  Age   Political   Party   Affiliation   Democrat  

Age   18-­‐20   12  (12%)  

21-­‐25   22  (22%)  

26-­‐29   8  (8%)  

30-­‐35   4  (4%)  

36-­‐40   2(2%)  

Republican  

4  (4%)  

6  (6%)  

0  (0%)  

4  (4%)  

4  (4%)   3  (3%)   1  (1%)   2  (2%)  

Independent   1  (1%)  

4  (4%)  

1  (1%)  

2  (2%)  

0  (0%)   0  (0%)   0  (0%)   0  (0%)  

Other  

1  (1%)  

7  (7%)  

1  (1%)  

2  (2%)  

1  (1%)   0  (0%)   1  (1%)   2  (2%)  

Total  

18  (18%)  

39  (39%)  

10  (10%)  

12  (12%)  

7  (7%)   8  (8%)   2  (2%)   4  (4%)  

41-­‐45   46-­‐49   50  +   5  (5%)   0  (0%)   0  (0%)  

   

This  cross  tabulation  is  an  analysis  of  the  two  independent  variables,  political  

party   affiliation   and   age.   This   table   shows   the   number   and   percentage   of   participants   in   this   study   who   identified   with   these   variables.   This   quantitative   analysis  allows  the  results  of  the  survey  to  clearly  be  recognizable  when  assessing   participants  and  their  acceptance  or  rejection  of  homosexuality.                                                1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science            

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Table  6:  Bivariate  Analysis:  Religion  and  Religiosity     “I  spend  a  lot  of   Strongly   Agree   Disagree   Strongly   Indifferent   time  following/  

Total  

Agree  

 

 

Disagree  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

2(2%)  

3(3%)  

2(2%)  

7(7%)  

2(2%)  

3(3%)  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

7(7%)  

Orthodox  

0(0%)  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

2(2%)  

Baptist  

3(3%)  

2(2%)  

1(1%)  

28(28%)  

Church  of  God  in  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

11(11%)  

 

 

adhering  to   religious   guidelines.”     Non  Christian     Catholic  

Christ    

11(11%)   11(11%)   8(8%)  

1(1%)  

  1(1%)  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

3(3%)  

Methodist  

4(4%)  

5(5%)  

4(4%)  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

14(14%)  

 

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

4(4%)  

2(2%)  

3(3%)  

2(2%)  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

7(7%)  

Episcopal  

Pentecostal   Presbyterian  

   

3(3%)  

Other  

  5(5%)  

7(7%)  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

17(17%)  

 

 

 

This  bivariate  analysis  is  based  on  statement  number  5  from  the  instrument  

administered   to   100   participants.   The   item   stated,   “I   spend   a   lot   of   time   following/adhering  to  religious  guidelines.”  This  statement  measures  the  religiosity  

 

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of   participants.   Early   on,   we   hypothesized   that   individuals   who   are   more   religious   will  be  non-­‐accepting  of  homosexuality.     This   table   displays   the   individual   religions   of   participants   and   also   tells   whether  or  not  they  consider  themselves  religious.  Seventeen  percent  of  individuals   from  all  religions  strongly  agree  that  they  spend  a  lot  of  time  following/adhering  to   religious   guidelines.   This   analysis   is   necessary   when   comparing   religiosity   and   acceptance  or  non-­‐acceptance  of  homosexuality.       “All   homosexu al  bars   should  be   closed   down.”   Strongly   Agree  

      Table  7:  Bivariate  Analysis:  Age  and  Homosexual  Bars                 18-­‐20   21-­‐25   26-­‐29   30-­‐35   36-­‐40   41-­‐45  

  50+  

4(4%)  

3(3%)  

3(3%)  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

0(0%)  

Agree  

1(1%)  

4(4%)  

0(0%)  

0(0%)  

1(1%)  

3(3%)  

1(1%)  

Disagree  

8(8%)  

12(12%)  

3(3%)  

5(5%)  

1(1%)  

2(2%)  

0(0%)  

Strongly   Disagree  

2(2%)  

6(6%)  

2(2%)  

2(2%)  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

2(2%)  

13(13%)  

2(2%)  

4(4%)  

3(3%)  

1(1%)  

1(1%)  

Indifferent   4(4%)   Total      

19(19%)   38(38%)   10(10%)   12(12%)  

7(7%)   8(8%)   4(4%)  

  This   bivariate   table   analyzes   the   variable   acceptance   of   homosexuality  

inferred  in  statement  number  6  as  “All  homosexual  bars  should  be  closed  down”  in   comparison   with   the   independent   variable   age.   Early,   we   hypothesized   that   those   individuals   thirty-­‐five   and   under   would   be   less   accepting   of   homosexuality   compared  to  those  older  than  age  thirty-­‐five.                                                1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science            

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This   table   shows   40   percent   of   participants   thirty-­‐five   and   below   indicate   that   they   are   more   accepting   of   homosexuality,   either   by   strongly   disagreeing   or   simply  disagreeing  with  this  statement.  Only  seven  percent  of  participants  thirty-­‐six   and   older   strongly   agreed   or   agreed   with   this   statement.   Seven   percent   of   adults   thirty-­‐six   and   older   strongly   disagreed   with   this   statement   and   5   percent   were   indifferent  about  it.         Table  8:  Bivariate  Analysis:  Political  Party  Affiliation  and  Homosexual  Bars     “All   Democrat   Republican   Independent   Other   homosexual   (Liberal)   (Conservative)   bars  should  be   closed  down.”   Strongly  Agree   9(9%)   3(3%)   0(0%)   1(1%)   Agree   5(5%)   2(2%)   0(0%)   2(2%)   Disagree   18(18%)   7(7%)   3(3%)   4(4%)   Strongly   11(11%)   2(2%)   2(2%)   2(2%)   Disagree   Indifferent   10(10%)   10(10%)   4(4%)   5(5%)   Total   53(53%)   24(24%)   9(9%)   14(15%)           This   bivariate   analysis   pinpoints   the   variables   of   homosexual   bars   and   political  party  affiliation.  This  study  sought  to  determine  which  political  party  was   more  accepting  or  non-­‐accepting  of  homosexuality.  This  table  states  that  14  percent   of   democratic   participants   strongly   agreed   and   agreed   that   all   homosexual   bars   should   be   closed   down,   and   21   percent   of   Democrats   strongly   disagreed   or   disagreed.  Five  percent  of  Republicans  strongly  agreed  or  agreed  with  the  statement   and  9  percent  did  not.     Twenty-­‐one   percent   of   Democrats   felt   that   homosexual   bars   should   remain   open  compared  to  only  5  percent  of  Republicans  agreeing  that  all  homosexual  bars                                              1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science           61    


should   be   closed   down.   From   this   analysis,   the   previous   hypothesis   proved   to   be   true.   Democrats   or   liberals   appear   to   be   more   accepting   of   homosexuality   as   it   relates  to  their  opinion  of  homosexual  bars.  Equally,  10  percent  of  both  Democrats   and  liberals  were  indifferent  about  the  closing  of  homosexual  bars.       Table  9:  Bivariate  Analysis:  Age  and  Same-­‐sex  marriage   “Same-­‐sex               marriage   18-­‐20   21-­‐25   26-­‐29   30-­‐35   36-­‐40   41-­‐45   should  be     legal     unions.”   Strongly   4(4%)   3(3%)   1(1%)   2(2%)   0(0%)   2(2%)   Agree   Agree   2(2%)   8(8%)   3(3%)   1(1%)   0(0%)   0(0%)   Disagree   3(3%)   10(10%)   2(2%)   5(5%)   4(4%)   5(5%)   Strongly   7(7%)   10(10%)   3(3%)   3(3%)   2(2%)   3(3%)   Disagree   Indifferent   2(2%)   8(8%)   1(1%)   1(1%)   0(0%)   0(0%)   Total   18(18%)   39(39%)   10(10%)   12(12%)   6(6%)   10(10%)    

  46-­‐49  

  50+  

0(0%)   1(1%)   0(0%)   0(0%)   0(0%)   2(2%)   0(0%)   1(1%)   1(1%)   0(0%)   1(1%)   4(4%)  

Much   of   the   debate   concerning   homosexuality   is   concerned   with   same-­‐sex   marriage.   This   table   shows   data   concerning   age   and   same-­‐sex   marriage.   Thirteen   percent  of  participants  age  18-­‐  50+  strongly  agreed  that  same-­‐sex  marriage  should   be   a   legal   union.   Fourteen   percent   of   participants   all   ages   agreed   that   same-­‐sex   marriage  should  be  legal  unions.     A  total  of  27  percent  of  participants  agreed  with  same-­‐sex  marriage  to  some   degree.   Specific   to   this   study,   of   participants   36   -­‐50+   only   3   percent   felt   same-­‐sex   marriage  should  be  legal  unions.  Twenty-­‐four  percent  of  individuals  18-­‐35  agreed  to   some  degree  that  same-­‐sex  marriages  should  be  legal  unions.    

 

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Table  10:  Bivariate  Analysis:  Political  Party  Affiliation  and  Morality  of   Homosexuality   “Homosexuality   Democrat   Republican   Independent   Other   is  moral.”   (Liberal)   (Conservative)   Strongly  Agree   6(6.0%)   2(2.0%)   1(1.0%)   2(2.0%)   Agree   7(7.0%)   1(1.0%)   1(1.0%)   2(2.0%)   Disagree   22(22.0%)   4(4.0%)   1(1.0%)   7(7.0%)   Strongly   13(13.0%)   16(16.0%)   3(3.0%)   3(3.0%)   Disagree   Indifferent   5(5.0%)   0(0.0%)   3(3.0%)   1(1.0%)   Total   53(53.0%)   23(23.0%)   9(9.0%)   15(15.0%)       This   table   analyzes   the   variables   morality   of   homosexuality   and   political   party   affiliation.   This   table   clearly   distinguishes   which   political   party   most   feels   homosexuality   is   moral.     Thirteen   percent   of   Democrats   agreed   homosexuality   is   moral   while   20   percent   of   Republicans   disagreed   with   the   idea   of   homosexuality   being  moral.       CONCLUSION                            This   study   sought   to   find   the   variations   of   religion,   age,   and   political   party   affiliation   in   determining   public   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   A   hypothesis   was   stated   early   on   that   religion   plays   a   key   role   in   people’s   susceptibility   to   homosexuality.   Individuals   who   identify   closely   with   a   religion   or   religiosity   are   least  likely  to  accept  homosexuality  and  its  practices.     Political  party  affiliation  such  as  conservative,  liberal,  and  independent  does   reflect   acceptance   of   homosexuality   and   its   practices   such   as   same-­‐sex   marriage.   The  age  group  of  thirty-­‐five  and  younger  is  more  accepting  of  homosexuality  and  its   practices.   This   study   also   found   that   religion   does   play   a   key   role   in   individual’s   acceptance   of   homosexuality.   Thirty-­‐six   percent   of   individuals   who   identified  

 

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themselves   with   some   religion   either   agreed   or   strongly   disagreed   with   the   statement   of   it   being   beneficial   to   society   to   recognize   homosexuality   as   normal   while   44   percent   either   disagreed   or   strongly   disagreed.   It   can   be   concluded   that   religious  affiliation  does  play  a  key  role  in  acceptance  of  homosexuality.     More   individuals   identifying   with   some   religion   were   less   accepting   of   its   normality  in  society.  The  results  of  determining  political  party  affiliation  in  relation   to   acceptance   of   homosexuality   suggested   that   16   percent   of   Democrats   surveyed   felt   that   same-­‐sex   marriage   should   not   be   legal   given   that   they   strongly   disagreed   with  the  statement.     While  22  percent  of  Republicans  either  disagreed  or  strongly  disagreed  with   same-­‐sex   marriage   being   legal,   26   percent   of   respondents   affiliated   with   all   other   parties  felt  same-­‐sex  marriage  should  be  legal.  The  result  of  political  party  affiliation   outside  of  the  Republican  Party  being  for  same-­‐sex  marriage  was  slightly  less  than   expected.   The   number   of   individuals   who   disagreed   or   strongly   disagreed   with   same-­‐sex  marriage  of  democratic  affiliation  was  more  than  those  who  agreed  at  26   percent  to  19  percent.     References     Andersen  R.  &  Fetner,  T.  (2008).  Cohort  differences  in  tolerance  of  homosexuality:     attitudinal  change  in  Canada  and  the  United  States,  1981-­‐2000.  Public         Opinion  Quarterly,  72,  311-­‐330.       Beatty,  K.  M.  &  Walter,  O.  (1984).    Religious  preference  and  practice:  reevaluating         their  impact  on  political  tolerance.  Public  Opinion  Quarterly,  48,  318–329.     Becker,  A.  B.  &  Dietram,  A.  S.  (  2009).    Moral  politicking:  public  attitudes  toward  gay   marriage  in  an  election  context.    International  Journal  of  Press  Politics,  14,         186–211.    

 

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Becker,  A.  B.,  Kajsa  E.  D.,  Dominique  B.,  Dietram  A.  S.  &  Albert  C.  G.  (2010).  Getting           citizens  involved:  how  controversial  policy  debates  stimulate  issue         participation  during  a  political  campaign.  International  Journal  of  Public                              Opinion  Research,  22,  181–203.      Becker,  B.  A.,  Scheufele,  A.  D.,  (2011).  New  voters,  new  outlook?  Predispositions,         social  networks,  and  the  changing  politics  of  gay  civil  rights.  Social  Science         Quarterly,  92,  326-­‐345.     Brewer,  P.  R.  (2003).  The  shifting  foundations  of  public  opinion  about  gay  rights.         Journal  of  Politics,  65,  1208–1220.     Dynes  W.  R.,  Warren  J.,  Percy,  W.  A.  &  Donaldson  S.  (1990).  Encyclopedia  of         homosexuality  (Vol.  492).  New  York:  Garland.       Engemann,  M.  K.  &  Wall,  J.  H.  October  (2009).  The  effects  of  homosexuality  across   different  demographic  and  cultural  groups  Unpublished  paper,  Research     Division  Federal  Bank  of  St.  Louis.  Working  Paper  Series.     (http://research.stlouisfed.org./wp/2009/2009/).     Farlie,  W.  R.  &  Robb,  A.  (2007).  The  new  era  of  homosexuality:  Have  we  learned   to  accept  what  is  wrong?  Unpublished  paper,  University  of  California,  Santa     Cruz.   (http://people.ucsc.edu/~rfairlie/papers/published/cruzjolc%202007%20 %20black  business).         Glenn,  N.  D.  &  Weaver,  C.N.  (1979).  Attitudes  toward  premarital,  extra-­‐marital,  and   homosexual  relations  in  the  U.S.  in  the  1970’s.  Journal  of  Sex  Research,  15,         108-­‐118.     Irwin,  P.  &  and  Thompson,  N.L.  (1977).  Acceptance  of  the  rights  of  homosexuals:  a         social  profile.  Journal  of  Homosexuality,  3,107-­‐121.       Larsen,  S.  K.,  Reed,  M.  &,  Hoffman,  S.  (1980).  Attitudes  of  heterosexuals  toward       homosexuality:  a  Likert-­‐type  scale  and  construct  validity.  Journal  of  Sex         Research,  16,  245-­‐257.       Masci,  D.  (2008).  A  stable  majority:  most  Americans  still  oppose  same-­‐sex  marriage.         Pew  Research  Center  for  the  People  &  the  Press.         (http://pewforum.org/docs/?Doc-­‐ID=290i).       Olson  L.  R.,  Cadge,  W.  &  Harrison,  J.  T.  (2006).  Religion  and  public  opinion  about         same  sex  marriage.  Social  Science  Quarterly,  87,  340-­‐360.    

 

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Rimmerman  C.  A.,  Wald  K.  D.,  &  Wilcox,  C.  (2000).  Politics  of  gay  rights.  Chicago:         University  of  Chicago  Press.     Rimmerman  C.  A.,  Wald  K.  D.  &  Wilcox  C.  (2007).  The  politics  of  same-­‐sex  marriages.     Chicago:  University  of  Chicago  Press.     Simon,  L.  (2011).  Gay,  straight,  and  the  reasons  why:  Science  of  sexual  orientation.         198  New  York:  Oxford  University  Press.       Whitehead  A.  L.  (2010).  Sacred  rights  and  civil  right:  religion’s  effect  on  attitudes         toward  same   sex  unions  and  perceived  cause  of  homosexuality.  Social         Science  Quarterly,  91,  63-­‐79.     Williams  E.  M.  (April  1999).  Homosexuality.  Farmington  Hills,  MI:  Greenhaven  Press.                                                              

 

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RUNNING  HEAD:  PARENTAL  INVOLVEMENT  AND  ACADEMIC  PERFORMANCE  OF   LATIN  AMERICAN  FAMILIES            

The  relationship  between  parental  involvement  and  student   academic  performance  in  Latin  American  Families     Cusi  De  la  Cruz  

  ABSTRACT    

This   research   investigates   the   relationship   between   parental   involvement  

and   academic   performance   of   children   of   Latin   American   families.   The   instrument   developed  was  translated  into  Spanish  for  the  convenience  of  the  respondents.  The   sampling   population   for   this   non-­‐probability   research   was   residents   of   DeSoto   County   Mississippi.   Findings   suggest   a   positive   relationship   between   parental   involvement  and  academic  performance  of  children  in  Latin  American  Families.     Key  Words:  Latinos,  academic  performance,  and  parental  involvement.              

 

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INTRODUCTION   In   his   speech   to   the   graduates   of   the   Booker   T.   Washington   High   School,   U.S   President  Barack  Obama,  said:   Through  education,  you  can  better  yourselves  in  other  ways.  You  learn  how  to   learn   -­‐-­‐   how   to   think   critically   and   find   solutions   to   unexpected   challenges.   Education  also  teaches  you  the  value  of  discipline  -­‐-­‐  that  the  greatest  rewards   come   not   from   instant   gratification   but   from   sustained   effort   and   from   hard   work…with  the  right  education,  both  at  home  and  at  school,  you  can  learn  how   to  be  a  better  human  being…  The  success  of  our  economy  will  depend  on  your   skills.  (Obama,  2011)     The  purpose  of  this  research  is  to  investigate  the  relationship  between  parental   involvement  and  student  academic  performance  of  Latin  American  families.     Problem  Statement   The   emotional   attachment   between   parent   and   child   prepares   or   predicts   the   quality   of   future   relationships   with   teachers,   peers   and   the   emotions   of   the   child.   According  to  Jensen  (2009),  author  of  Teaching  with  Poverty  in  Mind,  children  who   do   not   grow   in   a   strong   secure   relationship   with   their   parents   often   fail   to   learn   appropriate  emotional  responses  to  everyday  situations.     This  affects  their  school  performance  by  creating  a  pattern  of  giving  up  on  tasks,   first  at  school,  where  they  could  get  easily  frustrated,  and  later  beyond  school.  The   pattern   produces   social   dysfunction   that   affects   job   performance   and   social   relations.   Sar   and   Wulff   (2003),   authors   of   the   article   “Family   Builders   Approach:  

 

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Enhancing  the  Well-­‐being  of  Children  through  Family-­‐School  Partnerships,”  suggest   that  a  child’s  success  in  school  is  strongly  influenced  by  parental  involvement.      Research  on  Latin  Americans     In   this   study,   the   word   Latin   American   will   be   used   to   describe   ethnic   groups   that  belong  to  North,  Central,  and  South  America  and  who  share  similar  traditions  in   which  Spanish  or  Portuguese  constitute  the  predominant  language  (Nicoletti,  2010;   Feres,  2008).       According  to  the  National  Council  of  La  Raza  (2007),  Latin  Americans  under  the   age  of  18  years  of  age  are  the  second  largest  and  fastest  growing  group  of  students   in  the  United  States.  In  2003,  nearly  2.9  million  Latin  Americans  were  enrolled  in  U.S   high   schools,   representing   17   percent   of   all   secondary   public   schools   students.   However,   a   lower   percentage   completed   high   school   compared   to   non-­‐Latin   American  peers  (Kohler  &  Lazarin,  2007).  The  national  report  of  the  U.S  Department   of   Education   (2011)   showed   that   the   dropout   rates   for   this   population   have   decreased   from   6.1   percent   in   1972   to   3.4   percent   in   2009.   Also   in   2009,   the   dropout  rates  for  persons  ages  15  through  24  was  4.8  percent  for  African  Americans   and   5.8   percent   for   Latin   Americans   compared   to   2.4   percent   for   Whites.        

The  national  report  also  showed  that  a  pattern  developed  over  thirty-­‐seven  

years   in   the   dropout   rate   among   Whites,   African   American,   and   Latin   Americans.   The   White   population   decreased   its   dropout   rate   from   1972   through   1990,   increased   it   from   1990   through   1995,   and   decreased   it   from   1995   through   2009.   The  rate  among  the  African  American  population  experienced  a  decline  from  1972    

 

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through   1990   and   saw   an   increase   from   1990   through   1995;   the   report   did   not   provide   data   for   1995   through   2009   for   African   Americans.   The   rate   among   the   Latin  American  population  saw  no  measurable  change  from  1972  through  1995,  but   saw   a   decrease   from   1995   through   2009   (Chapman,   Laird,   Ifill,   Kewal,   Ramani,   2011).   According   to   these   data,   the   school   drop-­‐out   rates   of   the   Latin   American   population  in  the  United  States  saw  a  decrease  over  a  fourteen-­‐year  period.         Relevance  to  Social  Work  Practice     The   current   research   is   relevant   to   social   work   practice   because   cultural   competency   and   social   diversity   are   required   in   the   undergraduate   and   graduate   social  work  curriculum  of  the  CSWE  approved  programs  in  the  United  States.  This  is   stipulated  in  the  Code  of  Ethics  of  the  National  Association  of  Social  Workers  (NASW,   2008)1.   The   National   Council   of   La   Raza   states   that   Latin   Americans   have   increased   from   12   percent   of   the   population   in   the   year   2000   to   14   percent   of   the   U.S   total   population   in   2004,   becoming   the   fastest-­‐growing   minority   (Kohler   &   Lazarin,   2007).  This  trend  continues  as  it  is  reflected  in  the  latest  Census  Data  (U.  S.  Census,   2010).   The   growth   of   the   population   has   implications   for   social   welfare   practice,   programs,  policy,  and  education  of  social  work.     The  article  “Latino  Population  Growth,  Characteristics,  and  Settlement  Trends:   Implications   for   Social   Work   Education   in   a   Dynamic   Political   Climate   (2007)   suggests   that   the   growth   of   the   Latin   American   population   presents   a   challenge   to                                                                                                                   1  See  Appendix  on  page  133    

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the  human  services  infrastructure  because  of  the  limited  number  of  bilingual  human   service   personnel   and   programs.   This   is   especially   true   of   personnel   with   knowledge  of  issues  such  as  immigrant  family  structures,  communication  patterns,   migratory  experiences,  and  acculturation  stress.  In  the  same  article,  the  authors  De   Hymes   and   Kilty   state   that   being   culturally   competent   and   knowledgeable   is   required  “to  effectively  serve  and  advocate  on  behalf  of  immigrants  and  their  family   members”  (p.111). ��   It  is  also  important  to  understand  the  historical  and  current  trends  and  how  the   United  States  has  responded  to  these  changes.  The  amount  of  Spanish,  monolingual   clients  is  increasing,  but  the  number  of  skilled  social  workers  able  to  speak  Spanish   is   low.   Data   provided   by   the   National   Council   La   Raza   indicate   that   the   number   of   Spanish  speakers  in  schools  has  increased  from  17.5  percent  in  1993  to  23  percent   in   2004.   Nearly   half   of   all   Latin   American   children   are   English   Language   Learners   (ELL),  and  75  percent  are  Spanish  speakers  (Kohler  &  Lazarin,  2007).     Social   workers   could   facilitate   parental   involvement   in   their   children’s   education   by   applying   the   role   of   mediator   between   home   and   school   and   preventive   roles   of   trainer,   resource   developer,   family   educator,   consultant   and   advocate  (Feyl  &  Garza-­‐  Lubeck,  1990).     Theoretical  background      There  are  many  children  from  Asia  and  Latin  America  who  start  school  with  a   cultural  and  linguistic  disadvantage,  because  they  come  from  homes  where  English   and   Anglo   Saxon   customs   are   foreign   (Curiel,   1990).   This   relates   to   the   systems  

 

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theory   as   adaptation   plays   one   of   the   major   roles   in   the   theory.   “Adaptation   may   be   directed   to   changing   oneself   in   order   to   meet   environmental   opportunities   or   demands”  (Friedman  &  Allen,  2011,  p.12).     Another  assessment  that  is  relevant  when  working  with  different  cultures  is  the   biopsychosocial   development   since   social   workers   should   not   only   evaluate   the   individual   but   also   historical   facts   of   the   culture,   family   history,   and   societal   context   in  order  to  provide  a  more  effective  intervention  (Friedman  &  Allen,  2011).     The  exchange  theory  states  how  people  minimize  costs  (living  as  an  immigrant)   and   maximize   rewards   (the   American   Dream)   through   social   exchange   (National   Catholic  School  of  Social  Service,  2008).     This  theory  could  be  a  way  to  understand  some  of  the  immigrant  families  and   their   children.   According   to   the   National   Science   Foundation   37   percent   of   immigrants  in  the  United  States  come  to  the  country  for  family-­‐related  reasons,  30   percent   for   educational   opportunities,   21   percent   for   job   opportunities,   and   12   percent  for  other  reasons  such  as  scientific,  professional  infrastructure,  and  others   (Kannankutty  &  Burrelli,  2007).     The   research   “Parental   Involvement   and   Expectations:   Comparison   Study   between   Immigrant   and   American-­‐Born   Parents   (2004)   states   that   parental   involvement   in   education   is   intensely   related   to   cognitive   and   social-­‐emotional   development,  attendance  and  success  in  school  and  positive  attitudes  on  education   in   children   (Cakiroglu,   2004).   This   relates   to   the   family   systems   theory,   which   suggests   that   family   systems   can   influence   an   individual   positively   or   negatively   across  their  life  span.  (National  Catholic  School  of  Social  Service,  2008).    

 

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Problem  Statement   The   purpose   of   this   research   is   to   investigate   the   relationship   between   parental  involvement  and  student  academic  performance  in  Latin  American  families.    According  to  the  data  reviewed,  the  operational  definition  for  parent  will  be   a  legal  guardian  or  other  person  such  as  a  grandparent  or  stepparent  with  whom  the   child   lives,   or   a   person   who   is   legally   responsible   for   the   child’s   welfare   (No   child   left   behind,   2004).   The   operational   definition   for   the   independent   variable   “   parental   involvement”   will   be   the   one   used   by   the   No   Child   Left   Behind   policy,   which   is:   participation   of   parents   in   regular   two-­‐way,   meaningful   communication   involving   student   academic   learning   and   other   school   activities,   including   ensuring—a)  that  parents  play  a  fundamental  role  in  assisting  their  child’s  learning;   b)  that  parents  are  encouraged  to  be  actively  involved  in  their  child’s  education  at   school;  c)  that  parents  are  full  partners  in  their  child’s  education  and  are  included,   as   appropriate,   in   decision-­‐making   and   on   advisory   committees   to   assist   in   the   education   of   their   child;   and   d)   the   carrying   out   of   other   activities,   such   as    extracurricular  activities  (No  Child  Left  Behind,  2004).     The   operational   definition   of   the   dependent   variable   “academic   performance”  will  be  the  assigned  final  grade  from  an  instructor  to  a  student  based   on   performance   in   the   course   measured   by   the   standard   letter   grades   A,   B,   C,   D   and   F   in   different   subject   areas   in   addition   to   awards   that   the   students   received   at   school  and  the  grade  point  average  (Jost,  2008).    Based  on  the  related  studies,  in  this   research   the   operational   definition   for   the   second   independent   variable,   “Latin   American  families,”  as  previously  defined.      

 

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LITERATURE  REVIEW   In   this   literature   review   section   there   are   topics   related   to   parental   involvement   and   academic   performance   of   Latin   American   families   starting   with   a   historical  background  of  Latin  America  and  an  explanation  of  the  differences  in  the   terms  “Hispanics”  and  “Latinos,”  following  theories  that  some  authors  (Wen  &  Lin,   2012;   Barac   &   B   Bialystok,   2012;   Rettig,   2002)   have   used   in   their   research.   This   review   includes   characteristics   of   the   Latin   American   population   including   challenges   and   limitations   they   face   regarding   parental   involvement   and   academic   performance.   Various   factors   that   influence   the   academic   performance   of   students   in  Latin  American  families  are  discussed.       Historical  Background    

Latin   American   cultures   have   for   more   than   500   years   experienced  

oppression   by   the   hands   of   different   colonists   such   as   the   Spaniards   and   the   British   who   left   cultural   influences   of   African,   Asian,   Arabic   and   European   beliefs   and   practices.    The  most  evident  and  lasting  influence  of  this  oppression  has  been  that   by  European  Spaniards.     Many   parts   of   Latin   America   were   conquered   by   Spaniards,   who   imposed   their   religion   (Catholicism),   belief   systems,   and   power   structure   through   acts   of   genocide,  sexual  violence,  and  language.  Moreno  and  Guido,  in  Cultural  Competence,   Practice   Stages,   and   Clients,   Systems   (2005)   state   that   “it   is   believed   that   these   historical   events   of   violence,   discrimination,   and   oppression   have   perpetuated  

 

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continued   violence,   drinking,   and   other   maladaptive   behaviors   among   many   Latin   Americans”  (p.  91).     Theories  in  the  Review  of  Literature     The  amount  of  clients  that  speak  Spanish  is  increasing,  but  there  are  a  limited   number   of   skilled   social   workers   speaking   Spanish.   It   is   not   only   a   matter   of   speaking  the  language,  but  also  of  understanding  the  cultural  background  and  being   competent  to  interpret  the  information  given  by  the  client.     A   social   worker   should   be   familiarized   with   the   different   idioms   of   each   country,   for   example,   mental   diseases   that   manifest   with   different   symptoms   and   the  ways  the  Latin  Americans  express  themselves.  It  is  important  to  understand  and   be   knowledgeable   about   the   systems   of   care   from   the   United   States   as   well   as   the   options   that   they   might   have   had   in   their   countries   of   origin.   These   are   essential   for   assessment,   planning,   and   intervention   (Moreno   &   Guido,   2005).   The   collection   of   these   data   may   be   accomplished   by   using   a   culturagram,   including   the   following   categories  on  Figure  1.   Figure  1.  Culturagram  

  (Congress,  2004)  

 

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Ecological  Model   Different   studies   (Barac   &   Bialystok,   2012;   Rettig,   2002)   utilized   the   Ecological  Model  to  evaluate  situation  of  clients  from  different  cultures.    This  set  of   studies   suggests   that   by   implementing   the   Ecological   model   the   behaviors   and   the   rituals   that   a   population   develops   through   the   generations   to   enable   the   group   to   function  in  its  environment  can  be  analyzed.     Therefore,   it   makes   easier   the   decision   regarding   interventions   (Franklin   &   Soto,   2002).   This   model   relates   to   the   purpose   of   this   research   as   social   work   practice  focuses  on  the  person,  situation,  the  system,  and  its  environment  (Ashford,   LeCroy,  &  Lortle,  2006).  According  to  the  research  study  Cultural  Diversity  and  Play   from  an  Ecological  perspective  (2002),  the  ecological  theory  is  based  on  elements  in   the  environment  that  can  influence  or  determine  a  person’s  behaviors.  For  example,   when  a  social  worker  applies  this  theory  she/he  will  become  aware  of  things  such  as   holidays,  religions,  and  how  disabilities  are  treated  in  the  community  in  which  they   are  working  (Rettig,  2002).       There   are   different   components   that   can   be   evaluated   and   that   influence   a   person’s   behavior.   This   multidimensional   framework   assesses   the   person   in   different  aspects:    biophysically  which  refers  to  the  client’s  functioning  in  relation  to   physical   implication;   for   example,   medical   history   that   the   Latin   American   client   could   have   had   before,   current   physical   condition   and   medical   conditions   that   the   client  developed  after  arriving  in  the  United  States,  interventions  such  as  ones  given   in  their  country  of  origin.    

 

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Psychologically   refers   to   the   cognitive   development   and   information   processing   of   the   client.   For   example,   focusing   attention,   distinguishing   reality,   learning   abilities,   performance   (including   academic   performance),   self-­‐perception,   managing   emotions,   having   compassion   and   understanding   for   others,   and   generating  solutions  to  problems.     Moreno   and   Guido   state,   “some   Latinos   have   [a]   tendency   to   express   psychological   distress   through   physical   symptoms”   (2005).   Socially   refers   to   institutions   that   influence   the   client   such   as   family,   community,   society,   the   relationship   that   the   client   develops   with   these   institutions,   and   problems   that   might   arise   between   client   and   institution.   Some   examples   are   issues   within   the   family   or   situations   at   work   or   school   such   as   discrimination   or   poverty   (Ashford,   LeCroy,   &   Lortle,   2006).   According   to   Moreno   and   Guido   (2005),   some   societal,   political,   and   cultural   factors   create   limitations   to   the   biopsychosocial   in   Latin   Americans.   Many   of   them   experience   a   life   under   stressful   circumstances,   especially   women   who   are   not   aware   of   their   rights   in   the   United   States   and   who   find   themselves   isolated   from   family   or   friends;   this   makes   them   an   easy   target   for   oppressors   (YWCA,   2012).   Other   stressors   are   the   difference   in   language,   experiences  of  prejudice,  and  the  migratory  status  (Moreno  and  Guido,  2005).    

The   Social   Exchange   Theory   suggests   that   people   minimize   costs   and  

maximize  rewards  (National  Catholic  School  of  Social  Service,  2008).  The  exchange   of  social  and  material  resources  is  a  fundamental  form  of  human  interaction  (Illman,   1996).   The   book   Cultural   Competence,   Practice,   Stages,   and   Clients   Systems   (2005)   states   that   many   Latin   Americans   decided   to   surrender   their   families,   roles,  

 

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statuses,  and  culture  in  order  to  acquire  benefits  that  this  country  provides  such  as  a   free  educational  system,  more  job  opportunities,  security,  and  freedom  in  areas  such   as  religion,  public  speaking  and  even  sexual  orientation.  They  have  decided  to  give   up  something  to  receive  other  things  in  exchange.      

The   Latin   American   presence   in   the   United   States   is   perceived   as   a   recent  

issue,   but   the   journal   Latino   Population   Growth,   Characteristics,   and   Settlement   Trends:  Implications  for  Social  Work  Education  (2007)  explains  that  Latin  American   cultures  are  actually  a  part  of  the  foundation  of  the  United  States.  On  the  other  hand,   various  research  journals  show  that  the  Latin  American  immigrant  population  had   become   the   fastest   growing   population.   It   has   become   the   largest   minority   population.   In   the   year   2000,   the   Latin   American   population   in   Mississippi   was   39,569,  in  2004  it  increased  to  41,495  and  for  2010  the  Latin  American  population   was   of   81,481   (Ballvé,   2011;   Census,   2010).   According   to   the   book   Cultural   Competence,   Practice   Stages,   and   Client   systems   (2005)   the   Latin   American   population   is   usually   young   “The   mean   age   is   29,   and   the   median   age   is   26.6   with   almost   equal   numbers   of   males   and   females”   (p.   89).   Latin   Americans   are   more   likely  than  other  non-­‐  Latin  Americans  to  live  in  poverty  (Moreno  &  Guido,  2005).   Latin   Americans,   documented   or   undocumented,   face   many   challenges   and   limitations.   Knowledge   of   these   limitations   and   challenges   is   important   for   social   workers  to  improve  their  cultural  competence  (De  Hymes  &  Kilty,  2007).        

 

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Latin  Americans  in  School   The   2010   Census   shows   that   the   fastest   growing   population   of   Latin   Americans   is   in   the   Southern   area   of   the   United   States   (Gilberstson,   2012).     According   to   the   statistics   from   the   Mississippi   Department   of   education   (2012),   there  has  been  an  increase  in  thousands  of  Latin  American  students  in  Mississippi   public  schools  from  the  year  2004  to  2011  as  shown  in  Figure  2.                                                       Figure  2.  Latin-­‐  Americans’  Enrollment  

Thousands  

La+n  Americans'  Enrollment     14   12   10   8,346  

8   6,  221  

6   4  

9,481  

10,515  

11,358  

12,308  

6,946,  

5,  397  

2   0  

  In   Marshall   County   the   enrollment   increased   from   1   percent   to   6   percent   (from   2003   to   2011)   and   in   Desoto   County   it   grew   from   3   percent   in   2003   to   6   percent  in  2011  (Mississippi  Department  of  Education,  2012).       Regardless   of   the   increasing   numbers   in   enrollment   there   is   also   an   increasing  number  of  dropouts  among  the  Latin-­‐American  students  (Franklin  &Soto,  

 

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2002;   Kohler   &   Lazarin,   2007;   Chapman,   Laird,   &   Ifill,   KewalRamani,   2011)   throughout  the  country.     In  2008,  the  graduation  rate  for  Latin-­‐Americans  was  47  percent  compared   to  Whites  (66  percent)  and  African  Americans  (57  percent)    (Alliance  for  Excellent   Education,   2012).   Latin   Americans’   educational   attainment   is   more   deficient   than   that  of  non-­‐Latin  Americans  (Kohler  &  Lazarin,  2007;  De  Hymes,  2007;  Han,  2012).     Minority  low-­‐income  students  often  find  themselves  situated  in  schools  that   almost  seem  to  expect  mediocrity  from  them  as  the  highest  financial  support  goes  to   schools   where   the   percentage   of   U.S-­‐born   White,   middle   class   or   upper   class   students  is  the  majority.  In  schools  populated  with  minorities,  there  is  often  a  lack  of   support  such  as  incentives  for  teachers  and  resources  (Han,  2012).     Those   schools   are   also   overpopulated   and   often   have   teachers   with   less   experience   than   those   employed   at   better   supported   schools.   Poorly   supported   schools  highly  populated  by  minorities  lack  advanced  academic  programs  or  after-­‐ school   enrichment   activities   (NWLC&   MAIDEF,   2009).   These   inequities   affect   the   academic  performance  of  minorities.       Latin  Americans  are  less  likely  to  enroll  in  advanced  courses  not  because  of   lack   of   skill   but   in   many   cases   due   to   their   English   proficiency   levels   (Kohler   &   Lazarin,   2007;   Franklin   &   Soto,   2002).   On   the   other   hand,   not   all   the   English   Language   Learners   (ELL)   have   low   academic   performance;   many   succeed   as   well   or   better   than   non-­‐ELL   children   even   when   attending   schools   with   insufficient   resources  and  with  high  risk  factors  (Han  2012).        

 

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Parental  involvement  and  Academic  Performance   About  half  (45  percent)  of  all  Latin  American  children  in  the  United  States  are   ELL.  The  limited  English  proficiency  affects  the  parental  involvement  and  academic   performance  of  children.  It  affects  parental  involvement  because  parents  may  not  be   able   to   understand   notices   and   school   forms   sent   to   their   homes.   For   example,   “teacher  talk”  at  a  conference  or  open  house  may  become  overwhelming,  since  the   language  barrier  makes  the  necessary  exchange  of  information  between  parent  and   school   difficult.   In   addition,   parents   may   not   realize   the   importance   of   their   attendance  or  involvement  in  the  school  (Dixon,  2005).   No  Child  Left  Behind  (NCLB)  is  an  act  designed  for  public  schools  to  improve   academic  performance  of  students.  This  act  held  the  public  schools  accountable  for   the   performance   of   ELL   students.   The   program   measured   its   effectiveness   by   giving   standardized   tests   in   English   within   three   years   of   a   child’s   entering   the   school   system.     Parental   involvement   is   defined   as   a   two-­‐way   “participation   from   parents,   and   meaningful   communication   involving   student   academic   learning   and   other   school   activities   including:   assisting   their   child’s   learning;   being   actively   involved   in   their   child’s   education   at   school;   serving   as   full   partners   in   their   child’s   education   and   being   included,   as   appropriate,   in   decision-­‐making   and   on   advisory   committees   to   assist   in   the   education   of   their   child;   and   serving   as   full   partners   in   their   child’s   education   and   being   included,   as   appropriate,   in   decision-­‐making   and   on   advisory   committees   to   assist   in   the   education   of   their   child;   and   carrying   out   of   other   activities   such   as   those   described   in   section   1118   section   9101(32)of   the  

 

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ESEA”(NCLB   Action   Briefs:   Parental   Involvement,   2004).   (ESEA   stands   for   Elementary   and   Secondary   Education   Act   which   was   enacted   on   April   11,   1965   to   aid  low  income  children.)     Some   of   the   activities   that   the   ESEA   outlines   include:   a)   that   parents   play   an   important   role   in   assisting   their   child’s   learning;   b)   that   parents   are   partner   with   their  child’s  education  and  are  included,  as  appropriate,  in  decision-­‐making  and  on   advisory   committees   to   assist   in   the   education   of   their   child)   the   carrying   out   of   other  activities,  such  as  extracurricular  activities  (No  Child  Left  Behind,  2004).     Golan   and   Petersen   (2002)   suggest   that   if   there   were   more   programs   in   the   parents’   primary   language,   parental   involvement   could   increase   and   therefore   the   academic  performance  of  their  children.  Schools  that  offer  different  programs  where   parents   can   participate   for   parental   involvement,   show   more   success   regarding   their  children’s  academic  performance  (Cotton  &  Wikelund,  1989).     Studies  support  that  there  is  a  relationship  between  participation  of  parent(s)   at   school   and   at   home   with   the   child’s   school-­‐related   duties   (homework,   projects,   and   others)   and   the   academic   performance   (such   as   grades)   in   Latin   American   families   (Moore,   1997;   Han,   2012;   Franklin   &   Soto,   2002;   Cotton   &   Wikelund,   1989;   Cakiroglu,   2004).     Family   monitoring   is   beneficial   for   school   engagement   of   adolescents  but  not  for  middle-­‐school  children  (Wen  &  Lin,  2012).     The   most   effective   forms   of   parenting   involvement   are   those   that   engage   parents   in   working   directly   with   their   children   on   learning   abilities   at   home   such   as   reading  and  helping  with  homework.    

 

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A   study   by   Cotton   and   Wikelun   in   1989   suggests   that   training   in   parental   involvement  such  as  intensive  seminars  that  offer  extensive  training  components  do   not  have  an  effective  impact  on  children’s  academic  performance  in  comparison  to   effects  of  seminars  that  are  short  and  basic.   According   to   the   research   study   The   Effects   of   Parental   Interaction   on   the   Success   of   Children   (1997),   socioeconomics   (measured   by   the   household   income   level)   is   another   factor   that   affects   parental   involvement.   Children   of   parents   of   a   lower   socioeconomic   status   tend   to   have   lower   academic   achievement   (Cakiroglu,   2004).     However,  research  on  Parental  Involvement  in  Education  (2012)  states  that  a   parent   can   inspire   or   create   a   difference   in   their   children   regardless   of   their   own   level  of  education.  It  is  important  to  know  about  the  social  and  economic  diversity   within  the  Latin  American  population  as  not  all  occupy  the  lower  class  (Moreno  &   Guido,  2005).  One  of  the  limitations  for  parental  involvement  in  school  programs  for   this   population   is   a   lack   of   programs   in   the   parents'   primary   language   (Golan   &   Partersen,  2002).     Another   irrefutable   factor   is   migratory   status.   “Around   1.6   million   children   under  the  age  of  18  are  undocumented  and  3  million  children  are  native-­‐born  U.S.   citizens   but   have   undocumented   parents”   (Kohler   &   Lazarin,   2007).     The   study   Listening  to  Latinas:  Barriers  to  High  School  Graduation  (2009)  states,   Children   who   are   undocumented   or   who   live   in   mixed-­‐status   families   face   a   great   deal   of   emotional   stress,   which   undoubtedly   takes   a   toll   on   their   education  and  may  also  encounter  financial  or  legal  barriers  to  pursuing  higher  

 

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education….   Sometimes   kids   don’t   always   know   that   they’re   undocumented,   in   middle   school   they   are   starting   to   figure   it   out,   but   they   don’t   really   understand—it’s   a   hard   thing   to   comprehend   .   .   .   .   [But   some   kids]   are   worried   about  being  called  by  immigration—they  are  sometimes  not  allowed  to  answer   the  door  and  stuff  in  case  it’s  a  raid.  They  are  living  in  fear.     In  many  instances,  the  negative  perception  of  minority  students  by  teachers  is   related   to   poorer   performance   as   many   parents   feel   embarrassment   or   shyness   about   their   educational   level   or   linguistic   abilities   and   their   lack   of   understanding   about   the   school   policies   and   activities   (Cotton   &   Wikelund,   1989).     The   lack   of   a   translator  for  example  in  Parent  Teacher  Association  (PTA)  meetings  makes  parents   feel   unwelcome   (NWLC   &   MAIDEF,   2009).   This   limits   the   parental   involvement   in   their  child’s  education.       METHODOLOGY     In   this   study,   the   dependent   variable   is   student   academic   performance,   which   was  measured  by  a  survey  and  a  household  chart  using  questions  that  inquire  about   grades   and   recognitions   that   the   children   of   the   participants   have   received.   The   independent   variables   are   parental   involvement   and   Latin   American   families.   The   survey  and  chart  also  measured  parental  involvement  using  questions  in  the  form  of   a  Likert  Scale.     These  questions  required  information  about  the  parent’s  participation  in  school   activities   and   their   assistance   with   educational   tasks   at   home.   The   independent   variable  Latin  American  families  was  operationalized  by  asking  information  related  

 

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to  the  length  of  time  that  the  family  had  been  in  the  United  States  and  the  country  of   origin.  This  study  was  organized  by  planned  observation.  A  sample  population  was   chosen   by   nonprobability   sampling.   Snowball   sampling   was   used   to   identify   participants.           Population  Sample   The   sample   population   comes   from   a   Hispanic   United   Methodist   Church   in   the   area   of   Horn   Lake,   Desoto   County,   Mississippi.   Participants   were   interviewed   based   on   availability.   Criteria   for   participants   were   women   and   men   who   have   children   in   the   Desoto   County   school   system   and   who   identify   themselves   as   Hispanic  or  Latino.  The  number  of  families  that  participated  in  this  study  was  14.       Descriptions  of  Instrument   The  instrument  for  the  research  consisted  of  47  questions.    Questions  1  to  5   and   19   provide   demographic   data   with   questions   about   denomination,   marital   status,   gender,   and   if   the   children   of   the   participants   attended   a   public   of   private   school  (findings  about  demographics  are  include  in  an  appendix  not  included  in  this   publication   but   available   by   request).   Questions   32   to   47   provide   information   about   the   participants’   education   in   their   native   country,   as   well   as   information   about   their  education  in  United  States.       The   independent   variable,   parental   involvement,   was   operationalized   with   questions  20  to  22  and  24  to  26,  where  the  participants  answered  using  a  5-­‐  point   Likert  scale  with  the  options  always,  most  of  the  times,  sometimes,  rarely,  and  never     and  questions  43,  44,  and  47to  indicate  how  often  they  participate  in  their  children’s  

 

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academic   responsibilities.   Questions   28   to   31   measured   the   participation   of   the   parents  in  school  activities.  The  independent  variable  “Latin  American  families”  was   operationalized  on  questions  8  to  18,34,37,  and  40  by  asking  the  participants  if  they   identify  themselves  more  often  as  Hispanic,  Latin  American,  as  other  ethnic  groups,   and   to   rate   their   knowledge   of   English.   The   dependent   variable   “student’s   academic   performance”   was   measured   by   questions   41   and   42   that   asked   about   the   grades   and   awards   of   the   children.     Also,   there   was   an   open-­‐ended   question   (16)   for   the   participants  whose  children  studied  outside  of  the  U.S.  regarding  any  differences  in   the   academic   performance   and   what   they   identify   as   the   reason   (s).   Some   of   the   questions  that  used  5-­‐  point  Likert  scale  with  the  options  always,  most   of   the   times,   sometimes,   rarely,   and   never   were   taken   and   adapted   from   Blue   Ribbon   Panel   on   Education  Parental  Involvement  Survey  (2005)  and  Mansfield  (2009)  which  asked:   How  does  parental  involvement  affect  middle  school  students’  achievement?     In   order   to   create   reliability   a   pilot   study   was   previously   conducted.   This   allowed   the   researcher   to   do   test-­‐retest   and   make   comparisons   between   the   results   of   the   pilot   and   the   final   interviews.   To   ensure   validity,   this   research   used   face   validity   by   making   different   questions   that   measured   parental   involvement   in   different  ways.  This  instrument  was  translated  to  Spanish,  the  participant’s  primary   language   for   the   interview.     The   use   of   the   participant’s   primary   language   increased   the  level  of  participation  as  it  was  easier  to  establish  rapport.          

 

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Procedure   Participants   were   informed   in   a   worship   service   that   there   would   be   a   voluntary   survey   about   parental   involvement   and   the   academic   performance   of   children   of   Latin   American   families.     The   congregation   was   informed   that   the   data   collected  was  going  to  be  confidential  and  was  asked  to  answer  to  the  best  of  their   knowledge.     The   nonprobability   sampling   method   employed   snowballed   as   participants   referred   their   friends   to   the   researcher.     Half   of   the   interviews   was   done  at  the  participants’  homes  and  the  other  half  was  done  at  the  church.       Analysis   The  information  provided  in  the  analysis  shows  cross  tabulation  tables  of  the   variable  academic  performance  (measure  by  GPA  of  the  students  per  household  and   awards)   and   the   variable   parental   involvement   (measured   by   the   parental   assistance   in   homework,   parental   supervision   of   students’   notebooks/folder,   parental   visitations   to   school,   and   parental   participation   in   parent-­‐teacher   conferences  and  school  committees).     Also   included   are   cross   tabulation   tables   of   the   characteristics   GPA   per   of   students   per   households   and   awards   of   the   variable   academic   performance   and   Latin   American   families,   measured   by   the   characteristic   of   language   and   its   relationship  with  the  academic  performance  of  students.   In   this   study   fourteen   Latin   American   individuals   were   interviewed.   The   findings  included  students  from  first  grade  of  elementary  school  to  twelfth  grade  of  

 

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high  school.    To  measure  the  variable  “academic  performance”  a  grade  point  average   of  the  student  per  household  was  made  according  to  a  scale  shown  in  Table  1  below.      

 

 

 

Table  1.  GPA  scale  

   

Letter  grade  

Value  

A  

4.0-­‐3.7  

B  

3.6-­‐2.7  

C  

2.6-­‐1.7  

F  

1.6-­‐0.0  

  Table   2   provides   essential   information   about   students   between   first   and  

twelfth   grades   and   the   grade   point   average   per   household.   This   average   is   based   on   information  provided  by  the  participants,  regarding  the  students’  grades.       Table  2.  Students  in  Household  and  their  GPA     Families  

Grade  level  of  students  in  

Number  of  

GPA  per  

household  

students  from  1st  

household  

to  12th  grades   Family  1  

3rd  

1    

B  

Family  2  

10th    

1    

B  

Family  3  

5th  and  2nd    

2  

B  

Family  4  

4th  and  3rd    

2  

B  

Family  5  

12th  and  11th    

2  

B  

Family  6  

3rd    

1  

A  

Family  7  

10th,  6th,  and  3rd  

3  

A  

Family  8  

9th  and  8th    

2  

B  

Family  9  

10th  and  9th    

2  

A  

 

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Family10  

9th    

1  

A  

Family  11  

2nd    

1  

A  

Family12  

2nd  and  1st  

2  

B  

Family  13  

2nd  

1  

A  

Family14  

4th  and  3rd    

2  

A  

     

Table  3,  shows  that  14.3  percent  of  the  households  where  students  received  

help  when  they  asked  for  it  are  less  likely  to  make  B’s  compared  to  28.6  percent  of   students  that  receive  help  always.  Therefore,  it  shows  that  there  is  a  relationship   between  how  often  Latin  American  students  receive  assistance  with  homework   from  their  parents  and  their  academic  performance  (measured  by  the  GPA).       Table  3.  Students’  GPA  and  Homework  Assistance   Students’  GPA  

Parental  help  in  homework     Always  

A  few  times  

When  asked  

Total  

A  

3  (21.4%)  

2  (14.3%)  

0  

5  (35.7%)  

B  

4  (28.6%)  

3  (21.4%)  

2  (14.3%)  

9  (64.3%)  

Total  

7  (50%)  

5  (35.7%)  

2  (14.3%)  

14  (100%)  

N=  14  

   

  Table   4   shows   that   the   students   who   always   (14.3   percent   )   or   sometimes  

(14.3   percent)    receive   assistance   from   their   parents   with   school   projects,   achieve   better   than   those   who   receive   help   most   of   the   time   (7.1   percent)   or   never   (0   percent).        

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Table  4.  Students’  GPA  and  Parent’s  Assistance  in  School  Projects   Students’  GPA  

Parental  assistance  with  School  Projects   Always  

Most  of  the  

Sometimes  

Never  

Total  

time   A  

2  (14.3%)  

1  (7.1%)  

2  (14.3%)  

0  

5  (35.7%)  

B  

4  (28.6%)  

1  (7.1%)  

3  (21.4%)  

1  (7.1%)  

9  (64.3%)  

Total  

6  (42.9%)  

2  (14.3%)  

5  (35.7%)  

1  (7.1%)  

14  (100%)  

N=  14     According   to   Table   5,   there   is   a   relationship   between   the   academic   performance   of   the   Latin   American   students   and   how   often   their   parents   monitor   their   folders/   notebook.   Those   students   whose   parents   check   their   folders/notebooks  most  of  the  time  (14.3  percent)  achieve  lower  than  those  whose   parents  answered  always  (21.4  percent).     Table  5.  Students’  GPA  and  Parental  Monitoring  of  folders/notebook   Students’  GPA  

Parental  Monitoring  of  Folders/notebook   Always  

Total  

Most  of  the  time  

Total  

A  

3  (21.4%)  

2  (14.3%)  

5  (35.7%)  

B  

4  (28.6%)  

5  (35.7%)  

9  (64.3%)  

7  (50%)  

7  (50%)  

14  (100%)  

N=14  

   

 

 

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Table  6  shows  that  students  whose  parents  visit  their  school  when  necessary   (42.9   percent)   are   more   likely   to   have   a   “B”   GPA   than   those   whose   parents   visit   school  multiple  times  (0  percent)  or  often  (14.3  percent).     Table  6.  Students’  GPA  and  Parental  visitation  to  School   Students’  GPA  

Parental  visitation  to  School   Multiple  times  

Often  

When  

Total  

necessary   A  

1  (7.1%)  

2  (14.3%)  

2  (14.3%)  

5  (35.7%)  

B  

0  

3  (21.4%)  

6  (42.9%)  

9  (64.3%)  

Total  

1  (7.1%)  

5  (35.7%)  

8  (57.1%)  

14  (100%)  

N=  14  

Table   7a   shows   that   parents   who   have   difficulties   with   participating   in   parent-­‐teacher   conferences   (P-­‐T   Conferences)   do   not   have   a   strong   influence   on   their  children’s  academic  performance.  In  the  data  collected  21.4  percent  have  a  “A”   GPA,   and   7   percent   of   the   students   whose   parents   do   not   participate   in   P-­‐T   Conferences  have  an  “A”  GPA.     Table  7a.  P-­‐T  Conference  Difficulties   Students’  GPA  

Difficulty  for  Parental  Participation  in  P-­‐T  Conferences   Yes  

 

No  

No  answer  

Total  

A  

1  (7%)  

3  (21.4)  

1  (7%)  

5  (36%)  

B  

5  (36%)  

4  (28.6%)  

0  

9  (64%)  

Total  

6  (42.9%)  

7  (50%)  

1  (7.1%)  

14  (100%)  

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N=14  

        As   shown   in   Table   7b,   the   greatest   difficulty   for   parents   to   participate   in   a   conference  with  a  teacher  is  the  lack  of  translation  (35.7  percent),  followed  by  time   (14.3  percent).                                  Table  7b.  P-­‐T  Conference  Difficulties   Reasons  

 

 

Percentage   No  translation  

5  (35.7%)  

Time  

2  (14.3%)  

Time  and  no  translation  

1(7.1%)  

Not  applicable  to  participant  

6(42.9%)  

Total  

14  (100%)  

 

N=14  

  According   to   Table   8,   there   is   not   a   strong   relationship   between   the   involvement   of   a   parent   on   school   committees   and   the   academic   performance   of   Latin   American   students.   Students   whose   parents   do   not   participate   in   a   school   committee  (28.6  percent)  achieve  higher  than  those  whose  parents  do  participate  in   a  school  committee  (7.1  percent).     Table  8.  Parental  Participation  in  School  Committees   Students’  GPA  

Parents’  participation  in  a  School  Committees   Yes  

 

No  

Total  

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A  

1(7.1%)  

4  (28.6%)  

5  (35.7%)  

B  

1(7.1%)  

8  (57.1%)  

9  (64.3%)  

Total  

2(14.3%)  

12  (85.7%)  

14  (100%)  

N=14  

  Table  9  shows  that  Latin  American  students  who  use  English  (14.3  percent)   have  a  higher  academic  performance  than  those  who  use  Spanish  only  (7.1  percent),   revealing   that   the   language   spoken   by   students   influences   their   academic   performance.         Table  9.  Language  Used  by  Latin  American  Students  and  Students’  GPA   Students’   GPA    

English  only  

A   B  

Total  

Language  Used  by  Students   Spanish  only   Both  

Total  

2  (14.3%)   5  (35.7%)  

1(7.1%)   3  (21.4%)  

2  (14.3%)   1(7.1%)  

5  (35.7%)   9  (64.3%)  

7  (50%)  

4  (28.6%)  

3  (21.4%)  

14  (100%)  

N=14  

   

For   Latin   American   students   whose   parents   communicate   with   them   in  

Spanish,  50  percent  did  not  receive  an  honor  roll  award  and  only  14.3  percent  did   receive   an   award   for   being   on   honor   roll.   But,   they   are   more   likely   to   receive   an   award   for   being   on   honor   roll   in   comparison   to   students   whose   parents   communicate  in  English  only  or  in  English  and  Spanish.    (Shown  in  Table  10).     Table  10.  Award  for  Honor  Roll  and  Language  used  from  Parent  to  Student   Honor  Roll  award  

Language  used  from  Parent  to  Student   English  

 

Spanish  

Total  

Both  

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Receive  an  award   Did  not  Receive  an   award   Total  

1(7.1%)  

3  (21.4%)  

2  (14.3%)  

6  (21.4%)  

1(7.1%)  

7  (50%)  

0  

8  (57.1%)  

2  (14.3%)  

10  (71.4%)  

2  (14.3%)  

14  (100%)  

N=14    

Table   11   shows   that   there   is   a   relationship   between   the   language   that   children  speak  and  whether  or  not  they  receive  awards  (perfect  attendance,  honor   roll,   principal’s   list,   good   citizenship).   Students   who   use   English   and   Spanish   (50   percent)   are   more   likely   to   receive   awards   than   those   who   only   speak   English   (21.4   percent)  or  Spanish  only.       Table  11.  Language  and  awards    Receive   Awards  

Language  Used  by  children   Spanish  only    

English  only  

Total  

Spanish  and   English  

Yes  

0  

3  (21.4%)  

7  (50%)  

10  (71.4%)  

No  

1  (7.1%)  

2  (14.3%)  

1  (7.1%)  

4  (28.6%)  

Total  

1  (7.1%)  

5  (35.7%)  

8  (57.1%)  

14  (100%)  

N=14  

  CONCLUSION    

Golan   and   Petersen,   authors   of   the   research   Promoting  Involvement  of  Recent  

Immigrant  Families  in  Their  Children’s  Education   (2002),   suggest   that   if   there   were   more   programs   in   the   parents’   primary   language,   parental   involvement   could   increase  and  therefore  the  academic  performance  of  their  children.  In  this  study,  6                                              1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science           94    


(42.9   percent)   of   the   participants   reported   difficulties   with   participating   in   P-­‐T   Conferences.   When   asked   to   explain   the   reason,   five   (35.2   percent)   identified   the   lack   of   translation   as   the   major   inhibitor   of   parental   participation   in   conferences.   This   supports   Golan   and   Petersen’s   suggestions.   Other   studies   (Moore,   1997;   Han,   2012;   Franklin   &   Soto,   2002;   Cotton   &   Wikelund,   1989;   Cakiroglu,   2004)   support   that   there   is   a   relationship   between   participation   of   parent(s)   at   home   with   the   child’s   school-­‐related   duties   (homework,   projects,   and   others)   and   academic   performance  in  Latin  American  families.     This   study   confirms   that   there   is   a   relationship   between   how   often   Latin   American   students   receive   assistance   in   homework   from   their   parents   and   their   academic   performance   (measured   by   the   GPA)   and   that   students   who   “always”   or   “sometimes”   receive   assistance   from   their   parents   with   school   projects   achieve   better  than  those  who  receive  help  “most   of   the   time”   or   “never.”   Family  monitoring   is   beneficial   for   school   engagement   of   adolescents,   but   not   for   middle   school   children   (Wen   &   Lin,   2012).   This   study   shows   that   there   is   a   strong   relationship   between   the   academic   performance   of   Latin   American   students   and   how   often   their   parents  monitor  their  folders/  notebook.     Implications   The  article  “Children  and  School,”  in  the  NASW  journal,  states  that  it  is  usually   believed   that   a   child’s   success   in   school   is   strongly   influenced   by   parental   involvement   (Sar   &   Wulff,   2003,   p.241).   This   research   is   relevant   to   social   work   because   it   contains   information,   which   would   increase   the   knowledge   for   practice  

 

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competencies  related  to  culture.  This  research  is  not  only  beneficial  to  social  work   professionals   but   also   to   parents   as   well   as   educators   to   have   a   better   understanding   of   facts   and   issues   that   may   affect   the   academic   performance   of   Latino  students.     Limitations    

Two   limitations   for   this   research   study   were   that   the   sampling   population  

was   not   varied   and   large   enough   to   develop   a   comprehensive   study   and   a   lack   of   adequate  time  to  reach  potential  participants  for  extended  interviews.     References   Alliance  for  Excellent  Education.  (2012).  Mississippi  high  schools.  Alliance  for   Excellent  Education  [PDF  document].  Retrieved  September  13,  2012,  from   http://www.all4ed.org/files/Mississippi_hs.pdf     Ashford,  J.,  LeCroy,  C.,  &  Lortie,  K.  (2006).  Human  behavior  in  the  social  environment:   a  multidimensional  perspective.  (3rd    ed).  Belmont,  CA:  Thomson  Inc.     Ballvé,  M.  (2011).  Latinos  in  Mississippi:  A  force  for  reconstruction.  New  America   Media.  Retrieved  on  September  13,  2012,  from  http://newamericamedia.org   /2011/09/latinos-­‐in-­‐mississippi-­‐a-­‐force-­‐for-­‐reconstruction.php     Barac,  R.  &  Bialystok,  E.  (2012).  Bilingual  effects  on  cognitive  and  linguistic   development:  role  of  language,  cultural,  background,  and  education.  Child   Development.  83,  (2),  413-­‐422.     Blue  ribbon  panel  on  education.  (2005).  Parental  Involvement  Survey  2005[PDF   document].  Retrieved  November  23,  2011,  from  https://volunteer.ocps.net/   forms/BlueRibbon-­‐ParentSurvey-­‐050222.pdf     Cakiroglu,  S.  (2004).  Parental  involvement  and  expectations:  comparison  study   between  immigrant  and  American-­‐born  parents.  UT  Dallas  [PDF  documents].   Retrieved  on  September  6,  2012  from  http://www.utdallas.edu/scimathed/res   ources/SER/SCE5308_s04/PARENTAL_INVOLVEMENT_EXPECTATIONSC.pdf    

 

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RUNNING  HEAD:  ELECTING  BLACK  MAYORS          

Electoral  Politics  and  Race:  The  Election  of  Eddie  L.  Smith     as  Mayor  of  Holly  Springs,  Mississippi,  1985  and  1989.    

  Tineka  Barber  

  ABSTRACT   In  1989,  Eddie  Smith  Jr.  made  history  by  becoming  the  first  African  American  to  be   elected   Mayor   of   Holly   Springs,   Mississippi.   Four   years   prior,   Smith’s   first   bid   for   mayor   was   unsuccessful.   The   primary   objective   of   this   study   is   to   perform   a   comparative   analysis   examining   the   population   demographics,   newspaper   coverage   and   voter   turnout   in   the   mayoral   campaigns   of   several   notable   African   American   candidates.   The   earlier   campaigns   are   juxtaposed   to   Smith’s   election   to   determine   whether  a  national  paradigm  for  electing  black  mayors  exists.  A  secondary  objective   is   to   analyze   the   degree   to   which   a   shift   in   African   American   population   in   Holly   Springs   and/or   campaign   strategies   contributed   to   the   success   or   failure   of   Eddie   Smith’s  mayoral  campaigns.  The  primary  questions  that  this  study  seeks  to  answer   are   (1)   did   the   population   increase   of   African   Americans   in   Holly   Springs   catapult   Smith   to   victory?   And,   (2)   did   he   employ   a   racial   or   deracial   strategy   to   galvanize   large  voter  turnout?    

 

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INTRODUCTION  

 

Holly   Springs,   Mississippi   is   located   in   Marshall   County,   which   was  

established  in  1836.  As  of  2010  the  population  of  Holly  Springs,  Mississippi  is  7,699,     which  is  3.24  percent  less  than  it  was  in  2000  (USA,  2012).  The  population  growth   rate   is   lower   than   the   state   and   national   average   rates.   Blacks   represent   79.23   percent   of   the   population.     Holly   Springs   has   been   majority   black   for   a   long   time   (A.   DeBerry,  personal  communication,  September  18,  2012).  This  level  of  concentration   is  due  to  the  fact  that  a  lot  of  blacks  moved  to  Holly  Springs  during  and  after  the  Civil   War   and   stayed,   (Refer   to   Table   1).   In   addition,   the   establishment   of   Rust   College   in   1866  helped  maintain  a  large  portion  of  the  black  population.     DeBerry,   current   mayor,   believes   that   Holly   Springs   has   been   transitioning   progressively   in   the   last   25   to   30   years.   However,   before   1989,   regardless   of   the   black  population’s  majority  status,  no  African  American  had  ever  occupied  the  office   of   mayor.   The   purpose   of   this   study   is   to   analyze   and   compare   the   factors   that   contributed  to  the  election  of  the  first  black  mayor  of  Holly  Springs.     In   1989,   Eddie   Lee   Smith   Jr.   made   history   by   becoming   the   first   African   American  to  be  elected  Mayor  of  Holly  Springs,  Mississippi.  Four  years  prior,  Smith   had  run  unsuccessfully  for  mayor.  However,  he  was  reelected  for  three  consecutive   terms  including  terms  in  1993  and  1997.  During  terms  in  office,  he  improved  race   relations  more  than  any  elected  official  in  Holly  Springs  (Oliver,  2009).  Smith’s  focus   on  community  unity  and  the  economic  development  of  all  citizens  of  Holly  Springs   repaired   the   relations   between   blacks   and   whites.   During   Mayor   Smith’s   Administration,   the   City   of   Holly   Springs   experienced   phenomenal   economic                                              1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science           102    


growth,   improvement   in   the   local   school   districts,   and   an   aura   of   unity.   Most   importantly,   African   Americans,   during   the   Smith   era,   began   to   participate   fully   in   the  political  process  after  nearly  a  one  hundred  year  hiatus  (Oliver,  2009,  p.21).     Additionally,  this  study  will  shed  light  on  the  following  questions:  (1)  Do  the   factors   that   led   to   the   election   of   Eddie   Smith   as   mayor   emulate   the   national   paradigm  for  electing  black  mayors  in  America?  (2)  What  are  the  circumstances  that   explain   Smith’s   victory   in   1989,   as   compared   to   his   defeat   in   1985?   And   (3)   What   were   the   voting   population   dynamics   of   the   City   of   Holly   Springs   and   how   did   newspaper  coverage  impact  the  elections  in  1985  and  1989?       The  Purpose  of  the  Study  and  Theoretical  Considerations     The  purpose  of  this  study  is  to  delineate  the  factors  that  led  to  the  election  of   the   first   African   American   mayor   in   Holly   Springs.   There   are   two   independent   variables   and   one   dependent   variable.   The   first   independent   variable   is   racial/deracialized   strategy   and   the   second   is   population   shift.   The   dependent   variable  is  voter  turnout.  For  the  purpose  of  this  study,  racial/deracialized  strategy   can  be  defined  as  a  campaign  strategy  that  either  focuses  on  race-­‐specific  issues  or   avoids  them  (McCormick  &  Jones,  1993).  Population  shift  can  be  defined  as  a  change   in   the   relative   numbers   of   African   Americans   making   up   the   population   in   Holly   Springs.   Equally   important,   voter   turnout   can   be   operationalized   as   the   total   number  of  voters  who  participated  in  the  elections  in  Holly  Springs.   Gilliam   (1975)   defines   black   politics   as   the   process   of   articulating   black   needs  and  of  eliciting  white  response.  On  the  other  hand,  Preston,  Henderson,  and  

 

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Puryear   (1982)   noted   that   electoral   politics   represented   a   new   way   for   blacks   to   gain   equality   and   have   some   significant   policy   implications   that   included   improving   the  social  and  economic  condition  of  blacks  and  the  belief  that  more  can  be  gained   from  working  in  the  system  than  outside  it.     By  1974,  the  growth  of  black  mayors  in  the  nation  had  increased  to  108  from   29   in   1968.   In   short,   the   participation   and   influence   of   the   black   community   has   made   a   difference   because   it   has   given   blacks   the   independence   they   have   always   been   looking   for   in   the   political   arena.   Preston   et   al.,   (1982)   believe   that   despite   the   gains  made  by  blacks  in  public  office,  they  still  have  not  achieved  their  policy  goals.   According  to  Preston  et  al.,  (1982)  black  political  leadership  can  provide  resources   in  ways  that  can  benefit  the  black  community.  For  instance,  Mayor  Maynard  Jackson   of   Atlanta,   Georgia   insisted   on   minority   participation   in   all   jobs   and   building   projects  by  companies  that  do  business  in  his  city       Strategies  for  electing  Black  Mayors   Some  of  the  strategies  for  electing  black  mayors  include  the  percentage  of  the   black   population   and   coalitions.   (Preston   et   al.,   1983)   The   percentage   of   the   black   population  is  important   because  if   the   population   is   over   50   percent   it   works   in   the   favor   of   the   black   mayor.   Coalition   strategies   are   important   as   well   because   they   helps  elect  mayors  in  cities  that  are  not  predominately  black.  Preston  et  al.,  (1982)   gives   five   different   coalitions   that   could   possibly   result   in   the   election   of   a   black   mayor.    

 

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The   first   is   a   conservative   coalition   of   blacks   and   a   city’s   white   businesses   and  financial  community.  Alliances  of  this  type  existed  in  Atlanta  before  the  election   of   Maynard   in   1973.   Richmond’s   current   mayor   Roy   West   was   elected   in   this   manner   as   well.   Second,   blacks   can   form   an   alliance   with   lower-­‐income   whites.   However,   culture   and   politics   in   the   South   make   this   strategy   difficult   to   accomplish   for   black   candidates.   The   third   possibility   is   a   liberal   coalition   of   blacks   and   Hispanics,   labor   unions   and   liberal   whites.   This   coalition   is   common   in   contemporary   municipal   elections.   The   fourth   is   an   independent   black   political   strategy.  The  cities  of  Washington,  Detroit,  Gary,  and  Newark  used  this  strategy.  The   fifth  is  crossover  voting  (Preston  et  al.,  1982).      

Additionally,   Stone   (1968)   claims   that   in   order   to   gain   the   black   vote   three  

preconditions  must  exist:  black  voter  cohesion,  a  two-­‐way  split  of  the  vote,  and  the   political   oscillations   of   fragile   loyalties   among   blacks.   If   black   candidates   get   supporters  to  the  polls  in  large  numbers  and  create  alliances,  they  can  have  success.   Stone   (1968)   has   also   suggested   nine   preconditions   for   black   candidates   to   be   successful   in   campaigns.   They   include   being   recognized   as   a   serious   candidate   by   the   black   community,   the   belief   of   the   black   community   that   the   candidate   has   a   chance   to   win,   the   black   community   uniting   in   a   solid   bloc   vote,   the   black   candidate   having   strong   organization,   good   campaign   techniques,   and   plenty   of   money;   and   campaigning  for  the  white  vote  as  well  as  the  black  vote.  The  black  candidate  must   be  a  member  of  the  majority  party,  no  other  candidate  of  significance  should  enter   the   race,   there   should   be   a   minimum   of   one-­‐third   black   voters   in   the   city,   and   the  

 

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media  must  endorse  the  black  candidate  or  remain  neutral.  These  preconditions  can   reveal  what  conditions  had  a  direct  effect  on  the  election  of  Eddie  Smith.     Significance  of  the  Study   This  study  will  illuminate  and  assess  the  factors  that  influenced  the  election   of  an  African  American  mayor  in  a  rural  North  Mississippi  town.  The  prevailing  body   of  literature  only  covers  the  circumstances  of  black  mayors  elected  in  urban  areas.   Moreover,  this  study  assesses  political  paradigms  across  urban  and  rural  terrains  to   determine   commonalities   and   differentiation   useful   for   political   scientists   to   determine   effective   strategies   for   electing   African   American   candidates.   African   Americans   remain   underrepresented   in   all   public   offices   (Nelson   &   Horne,   1974).   Furthermore,   this   research   highlights   the   changing   population   dynamics   of   the   electorate  and  how  minority  candidates  have  benefited  from  these  changes.     This   paper   continues   with   a   literature   review   that   gives   an   overview   of   the   political   history   of   Holly   Springs,   the   history   of   electing   African   American   mayors   in   the  United  States,  and  information  on  Eddie  Smith’s  mayoral  elections  in  1985  and   1989.  The  methods  to  be  used  to  describe  Smith’s  successful  election  are  discussed   to   evaluate   the   circumstances   surrounding   his   campaign.   Additionally,   the   paper   reveals  the  results  that  came  from  the  investigation  of  information  available  in  The   South  Reporter,   the   community   newspaper   of   Marshall   County   since   1865.   Finally,   the   paper   concludes   with   all   of   the   significant   implications   discovered   during   the   research.      

 

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REVIEW  OF  LITERATURE    

Two   periods   are   important   to   the   development   of   Holly   Springs’   political  

culture:   the   Post-­‐Civil   War   Period   and   the   Civil   Rights   Era   starting   in   the   1950s   and   ending  in  the  1980s.  In  1862,  slavery  virtually  ended  in  Holly  Springs  (Oliver,  2007).   The   city’s   population   at   that   time   was   2,987;   1,912   were   white   and   1,074   were   African   American.   By   1870,   the   population   had   changed;   in   1870   out   of   2,406   residents,  1,500  were  African  American.  Due  to  the  epidemic  of  the  yellow  fever  in   1878,   the   total   population   dropped   to   1,200   African   Americans   and   300   whites   (Sylvester,  2007).      

Like  African  Americans  elsewhere  between  1863  and  1870  there  were  four  

pieces   of   legislation   that   affected   blacks   in   Holly   Springs   politically.   First,   the   Emancipation   Proclamation   (1863)   freed   slaves   in   the   rebellion   states   and   freed   others  after  the  Civil  War.  Secondly,  the  13th  Amendment  (1865)  abolished  slavery   in   the   United   States.   Thirdly,   the   14th   Amendment   (1868)   gave   citizenship   to   the   newly   freed   slaves.   And   finally,   the   15th   Amendment   (1870)   granted   African   American  males  the  right  to  vote.       From  1863-­‐1877  African  Americans  in  Holly  Springs  experienced  the  period   of   Reconstruction.   During   this   period,   the   Reconstruction   Act   of   1867   brought   African   Americans   into   the   arena   of   politics   for   the   first   time   (Oliver,   2007).   The   act   was  designed  to  give  African  Americans  social  and  political  rights  that  they  had  not   enjoyed   before.   Several   African   Americans   rose   during   this   period   of   political   freedom.   In   1870,   Alexander   Phillips   was   the   first   African   American   appointed   to  

 

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serve   as   a   Public   School   Board   Director   for   Marshall   County.   In   1871,   out   of   the   552   registered  voters  in  Holly  Springs  350  were  African  American.     This   same   year,   Logan   Gorman   and   Mack   Hill   were   the   first   African   Americans   elected   to   the   Board   of   Aldermen   in   Holly   Springs.   George   Albright   became  the  first  African  American  from  Marshall  County  to  serve  in  the  Mississippi   Senate  from1874  to  1878  (Oliver,  2007).     Additionally,   seven   African   Americans   served   in   the   Mississippi   House   of   Representatives  from  Marshall  County  between  1872  and  1883  (Oliver,  2007).  They   were,   Robert   Cunningham,   James   Hill,   Alfred   Peel,   A.A.   Rodgers,   G.C.   Shelby,   Adam   Simpson   and   R.   Williams.   Despite   these   political   gains   by   African   Americans,   by   1877  their  political  fate  had  changed.  The  federal  troops  had  been  withdrawn  from   the   South,   taking   way   the   only   federal   enforcement   of   equal   rights   African   Americans   had.   By   1890,   African   Americans   had   once   again   been   disenfranchised;   the   Mississippi   Legislature   had   passed   new   voting   laws   (Oliver,   2007).   The   next   major   era   in   the   African   American   campaign   for   political   office   would   be   the   Civil   Rights  Era.    

In   the   late   1950s,   there   were   two   civil   rights   organizations   that   worked   to  

help   African   American   communities   politically   and   economically   (Oliver,   2009).   These   two   organizations   were   the   Regional   Leadership   Council   (RLC)   and   the   National  Association  for  the  Advancement  of  Colored  People  (NAACP).     The   Marshall   County   branch   of   NAACP   was   organized   by   S.T.   Nero,   a   prominent  figure  in  the  Civil  Rights  Movement  in  the  county  (Oliver,  2009,  p.1).  By   1957,   the   RLC’s   major   goal   was   to   increase   the   number   of   blacks   on   voter   rolls.  

 

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According   to   Oliver   (2009),   African   Americans   were   not   free   politically   because   in   the   early   1950s   and   1960s   nearly   18,000   African   Americans   in   Marshall   County   could  not  vote.  Due  to  the  disenfranchisement,  racial  tensions  would  explode.    

In  Mississippi  counties  where  the  population  of  African  Americans  was  over  

seventy   percent   fewer   than   fifty   African   Americans   were   registered   to   vote   out   of   almost  8,000  potential  voters  (Oliver,  2009,  p.3).  Of  the  miniscule  number  of  African   American  voters,  most  were  not  active  in  their  participation.  Motivated,  however,  to   gain   voting   rights   for   all,   protest   from   African   Americans   in   Marshall   County   officially  started  in  the  1960’s.  Before  then,  African  Americans  were  afraid  to  speak   out  because  of  intimidation  and  violent  tactics  used  against  them.     Also,   the   Student   Nonviolent   Coordinating   Committee   (SNCC)   came   to   Marshall   County   under   the   leadership   of   Robert   Moses   to   organize   voter   registration   drives   and   to   develop   African   Americans   in   Mississippi   as   a   political   force.  Frank  Smith  was  sent  by  SNCC  in  1962  to  organize  voter  education  drives.    

 

In   1964   the   Freedom   Summer   project   came   to   Holly   Springs.   SNCC   was   led   by   the   Council   of   Federated   Organization   (COFO)   to   create   a   summer   voter   registration  project  (Oliver,  2009).     The   summer   project   was   first   led   by   Ivanhoe   Donaldson.   The   project   had   three   objectives:   to   expand   African   American   voter   registration,   to   open/operate   freedom   schools,   and   to   organize   Mississippi   Freedom   Democratic   Party   (MFDP)   precincts.   On   July   26,   1964   the   first   Freedom   Day   took   place;   there   were   fifty   applicants.   At   the   end   of   that   day,   out   of   the   fifty   applicants   forty   five   passed   the  

 

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voter  registration  test  (Oliver,  2009).  Throughout  July  and  August  several  freedom   days  were  held  to  register  voters.     By  the  1960s,  the  Civil  Rights  Act  of  1964  and  the  Voter  Rights  Act  of  1965   allowed   blacks   to   regain   their   voting   rights.   By   1968,   thousands   of   African   Americans  in  Marshall  County  were  registering  to  vote,  making  it  possible  for  them   to   be   elected   to   such   positions   as   members   of   the   board   of   supervisors,   coroner,   sheriff,   tax   collector,   and   members   of   the   election   commission,   constables,   school   superintendents,  school  board  members,  city  alderman  and  mayors  (Oliver,  2009).   For   example,   in   1977,   Eddie   Smith   became   the   first   African   American   alderman   since   Reconstruction.   Osborne   Bell   became   the   first   African   American   coroner   (1966-­‐1979)  and  Sheriff  (1979-­‐1986)  in  Holly  Springs.  The  work  of  SNCC  and  COFO   made   it   possible   for   African   Americans   to   vote   and   participate   in   the   political   process  in  Holly  Springs  and  other  places  around  the  country.  Without  a  doubt,  the   Civil   Rights   Era   in   Holly   Springs   became   the   most   influential   period   since   Reconstruction  (Oliver,  2009,  p.21).      

African   Americans   made   their   breakthrough   in   the   mayoral   office   with   the  

elections  of  Richard  Hatcher  and  Carl  Stokes  in  1967  (Chalmers,  2002).  Hatcher  was   elected   mayor   of   Gary,   Indiana,   and   Stokes   was   elected   mayor   of   Cleveland,   Ohio.   Over  the  next  thirty  years  black  mayors  were  elected  in  several  cities  including,  New   York,   Los   Angeles,   Chicago,   Philadelphia,   Atlanta,   Birmingham   and   Dallas.   Even   cities   that   did   not   have   majority   black   populations,   like   Denver,   Ann   Arbor,   and   Spokane  elected  black  mayors.  In  most  cities  African  American  mayors  got  elected   by   sweeping   energized   black   electorates,   combined   with   a   sufficient   portion   of  

 

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liberal   white,   Jewish,   gay   and   Latino   voters.   Chalmers   (2002)   also   cites   race,   performance   in   office,   and   political   alliances   as   important   factors   to   electing   African   Americans  to  office.   By   the   end   of   the   1960’s,   urban   political   campaigns   had   taken   the   stage   from   the   civil   rights   movement   (Chalmers,   2002).   During   this   time,   African   Americans   fought   for   participation   in   the   politics   and   out   of   all   the   mayors   that   ran   for   political   office  only  Richard  Hatcher  (Gary,  Indiana)  Andrew  Young  (Atlanta,  Georgia)  Marion   Berry  (Washington,  DC)  and  Carl  Stokes  (Cleveland,  Ohio)  were  elected  during  the   Civil  Rights  Movement.  Moreover,  the  protest  of  the  Civil  Rights  Movement  shifted   to  politics  during  this  time  period  (Preston  et  al.,  1982).  This  meant  that  the  search   for   equality   shifted   to   political   participation   and   brought   on   an   era   of   new   black   politics.     Electing  Black  Mayors   According   to   O’Loughlin   and   Berg   (1977),   strong   challenges   were   made   by   black   candidates   for   the   office   of   mayor   in   the   cities   of   Detroit,   Los   Angeles   and   Atlanta   in   1969.   O’Loughlin   and   Berg’s   study   analyzed   the   electoral   support   for   mayoral   candidates   in   six   elections.   This   study   specifically   used   these   three   cities   because  they  had  nonpartisan  ballots.  Of  the  five  mayoral  elections  analyzed  in  this   paper,   only   three   of   the   preconditions   suggested   by   Stone   (1968)   were   not   met.          

Based   on   the   analysis   of   this   study   two   more   preconditions   may   be   added.  

The  first  includes  a  black  candidate  previously  running  for  the  office  of  mayor,  and,   second,   the   turnout   of   black   voters   must   be   greater   than   that   of   white   voters  

 

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(O’Loughlin   &   Berg,   1977).     In   O’Loughlin’s   (1980)   study   on   the   election   of   black   mayors,   it   showed   significant   changes   in   the   electoral   support   of   black   mayors   in   1977.   In   the   previous   study,   O’Loughlin   &   Berg   (1973)   examined   the   bases   of   electoral   support   for   black   mayors   in   Detroit,   Los   Angeles,   and   Atlanta.        

They   found   that   black   mayors   were   elected   in   cities   in   1973   because   of   black  

bloc-­‐voting,   small   support   from   the   white   population,   and   higher   black   voter   turnout.   However,   in   the   1977   study   these   predictions   were   used   to   test   and   evaluate   electoral   trends   since   1973   in   Detroit,   Los   Angeles,   Atlanta   and   New   Orleans.   Based   on   the   1977   elections,   there   were   new   trends   seen   in   the   mayoral   elections  with  black  candidates.  Trends  included  black  bloc-­‐voting,  and  large  white   support.   Furthermore,   this   study   emphasized   social   cleavages   as   a   determinant   of   vote   choice   and   showed   that   neighborhood   factors   such   as   race   are   declining   as   black   candidates   are   gaining   more   white   support   in   elections   (O’Loughlin,   1980,   p.370).        

This   means   that   social   factors   such   as   race   are   no   longer   affecting   African  

American   elections   and   that   African   Americans   are   gaining   more   white   support   because   of   this.   Another   study   examined   the   elections   of   four   minority   mayors:   Henry   Cisneros   in   San   Antonio   in   1981,   Federico   Pena   in   Denver,   Harold   Washington   in   Chicago,   and   Wilson   Goode   in   Philadelphia,   all   in   1983   (Munoz   &   Henry,   1986).   Before   the   election   of   Mayor   Washington,   Chicago   had   been   dominated   by   machine   politics.   The   election   of   Washington   marked   an   electoral   transformation   and   a   political   coming   of   age   for   blacks.   This   transformation   occurred  because  of  an  increase  in  the  black  population,  a  fact  that  led  to  an  increase  

 

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in  registration  and  turnout.  Another  factor  that  helped  Washington’s  election  was  a   split  vote  (Munoz  &  Henry,  1986).      

Philadelphia   on   the   other   hand   had   a   Republican   machine   that   remained  

active   until   1951   (Munoz   &   Henry,   1986).   In   1983,   when   Goode   ran   for   mayor   he   had  to  attract  more  white  support  than  did  Washington.  Of  the  four  cities  studied,   Chicago  had  the  greatest  potential  for  maintaining  rainbow  coalitions.  The  findings   from   this   study   support   the   political   incorporation   theory   of   Browning,   Marshall,   and  Tabb  (1984)  with  some  differences.  Mayors  were  elected  because  of  coalitions,   the   size   of   the   minority   population,   white   support,   organizational   development,   and   political   experience   of   minorities.   Munoz   and   Henry   (1986)   also   found   that   the   political   systems   in   those   cities   had   become   more   open   over   the   years   because   of   political   incorporation.   By   electing   black   mayors,   blacks   have   become   involved   in   the   policymaking   process.   In   order   to   keep   the   momentum,   blacks   will   have   to   maintain  rainbow  coalitions.      

In   addition,   Stovall   (1996)   illustrated   why   it   was   so   difficult   for   African  

Americans  to  get  elected  to  Detroit’s  official  class.  This  study  illustrated  how  African   Americans   from   Detroit   were   elected   at   state   and   federal   levels   before   they   were   elected   at   the   city   level.   However,   on   November   6,   1973   Detroit   finally   elected   a   black   mayor,   Coleman   Young.   The   factors   that   led   to   his   election   were   the   continual   exodus   of   white   residents   from   the   city,   the   addition   to   voting   rolls   of   predominantly   African   American   votes   in   the   eighteen   to   twenty-­‐one   age   bracket,   and  a  much  higher  registration  among  African  Americans  (Stovall,  1996,  p.202).    

 

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Another   study   analyzed   black   mayors   in   309   cities   from   1971-­‐2000   (Marschall  &  Ruhil,  2006).  This  study  found  that  race,  black  representation  on  city   council,  black  educational  attainment  and  reformed  governments  led  to  election  of   black   mayors   in   the   309   cities   observed.   On   the   other   hand,   Southern   states   and   partisan   elections   did   not   help   increase   mayors   in   America   (Marschall   &   Ruhil,   2006).    Additionally,  Orey  and  Ricks  (2007)  did  a  study  on  how  the  deracialization   concept  could  have  negative  impacts  on  the  black  community.  In  1989,  the  concept   of   deracialization   gained   notoriety   because   a   lot   of   African   American   candidates   captured   victories   in   majority-­‐white   electoral   jurisdictions.   Some   of   the   mayors   elected  during  this  election  were  David  Dinkins  from  New  York,  Norman  Rice  from   Seattle,   and   Chester   Jenkins   from   Durham,   North   Carolina.   The   research   in   this   study   created   a   quantifiable   variable   for   measuring   deracialization   (Orey   &   Ricks,   2007,  p.330)     Cooper   (2012)   explored   how   black   mayoral   candidates   in   Denver   have   succeeded  while  black  mayoral  candidates  in  Boston  have  not.  However,  Wellington   Webb   was   the   first   black   mayor   of   Denver   elected   in   2003.   Surprisingly,   Boston   has   a   greater   black   population   but   still   has   not   elected   a   black   mayor   (Cooper,   2012).   Only   two   blacks   in   Boston   have   run   for   the   office   of   mayor.   Some   reasons   why   Boston   has   not   elected   a   black   mayor   include   a   relatively   small   population,   long-­‐ serving   incumbents   and   limited   opportunities   for   African   Americans.   To   deeply   explore  how  black  mayoral  candidates  have  succeeded  in  Denver  the  campaigns  of   Webb  and  Hancock  were  examined.  According  to  Cooper,  neither  of  the  candidates  

 

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was  expected  to  win.  Both  candidates  were  pro-­‐business,  moderate  Democrats,  and   they  assembled  broad  coalitions  (Cooper,  2012,  p.4).     Until   1991,   Memphis   was   the   only   majority   black   population   that   had   not   elected   a   black   mayor   (Vanderleeuw,   Liu,   &   Marsh,   2004,   p.505).   At   that   time,   former  school  superintendent  Willie  W.  Herenton  was  elected  as  mayor  in  Memphis   (Vanderleeuw  et  al.,  2004).  Vanderleeuw  et  al.,  (2004)  gave  several  reasons  why  an   African   American   had   not   earlier   been   elected   as   mayor.   These   reasons   include   racial   reflexivity,   divided   black   leadership,   and   in-­‐fighting   competition   among   blacks.  Herenton  was  elected  as  Mayor  three  times.  In  1991,  Herenton  was  elected   as   mayor   because   he   was   the   only   black   candidate   and   also   because   of   heavy   mobilization   of   the   black   electorate.   In   1995,   Herenton   was   re-­‐elected   because   of   forging   a   biracial   coalition   that   gained   him   a   third   of   the   white   vote.   In   1999,   Herenton  was  elected  again  with  a  vote-­‐plurality.     In   a   study   on   the   election   of   Jackson,   Mississippi’s   first   black   mayor,   Orey   (2005)  used  three  research  questions  to  determine  the  extent  to  which  the  media  of   the   Clarion   Ledger   racialized   the   1993   and   1997   mayoral   elections   of   Harvey   Johnson.   Each   news   item   was   coded   by   campaign   issues,   mention   of   race,   the   placement   of   the   story,   and   the   tone   of   the   overall   news   item.   The   findings   of   this   study   revealed   that   in   contrast   to   the   1993   mayoral   election,   in   1977   the   media   decreased  its  mention  of  race.  This  change  in  media  is  argued  to  have  contributed  to   Mayor   Johnson’s   victory.   The   findings   did   not   however   offer   evidence   of   the   Clarion   Ledger  using  race  as  an  issue  in  either  election  (Orey,  2005).  

 

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1985  Mayoral  Election  of  Eddie  Smith       During  the  1985  primary  election  in  Holly  Springs,  six  candidates  sought  the   office   of   mayor.   Among   the   six,   five   were   white   and   one   was   African   American.   D.   Rook   Moore,   a   graduate   of   Mississippi   School   of   Law   and   a   practicing   attorney   in   Holly  Springs  for  nineteen  years,  was  the  first  to  announce  in  The  South  Reporter  his   candidacy   for   mayor.   Eddie   Lee   Smith   Jr.,   the   only   African   American   candidate,   announced   his   candidacy   on   March   21.   His   qualifications   included   professional   training   (Master   of   Business   Administration),   four   years   as   Alderman,   and   forty   years   of   experience   in   the   community   in   many   areas.   Bill   Fitch   announced   his   candidacy   as   well.   His   qualifications   included   his   having   been   the   first   vice-­‐ president   of   the   Chamber   of   Commerce   and   a   member   of   the   board   of   directors.    

John   D.   Brown,   the   fourth   candidate,   listed   his   previous   positions   as  

Alderman  at  large  and  Mayor  Pro-­‐Tempore,  chairman  of  trustees,  president  of  Holly   Springs   Development   Corporation,   and   Director   of   the   Chamber   of   Commerce   as   his   qualifications.   The   last   two   candidates   were   Johnny   Alldredge   and   Thomas   Boone.   Some  of  Thomas  Boone’s  experience  came  from  his  Bachelor  Degree  in  Mechanical   Engineering,  sales  engineering,  and  real  estate.    

Eddie  Smith  had  been  a  long-­‐time  local  civil  rights  leader,  and  he  employed  a  

deracialized  strategy.  For  the  duration  of  his  campaign  he  avoided  making  reference   to   race-­‐specific   issues.   He   also   employed   a   coalition-­‐building   strategy   (A.   DeBerry,   Personal   Communication,   September   18,   2012).   During   the   1985   primary,   2,200   voters  cast  their  ballots.  Smith  received  39  percent  of  the  vote,  Brown  received  22   percent,   Boone   received   18   percent,   Fitch   received   8   percent,   Moore   received   7  

 

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percent,   and   Alldredge   received   2   percent.   In   the   runoff   election   Brown   defeated   Smith   with   52   percent   of   the   vote.   According   to   Smith,   Brown   defeated   him   because   he  was  able  to  gain  five  percent  of  the  black  vote.     The  1989  Mayoral  election    

In  the  1989  election,  three  candidates  ran  for  the  office  of  mayor,  two  of  them  

white.   The   two   whites   were   William   (Bill)   Minor,   a   business   owner,   and   Scott   Robinson,   a   part-­‐time   pharmacist   at   Robinson’s   Drugstore.   The   African   American   candidate   was   Eddie   L.   Smith,   Jr.   Of   the   three   candidates,   Smith   took   46   percent,   Robinson   took   28   percent,   and   Minor   took   26   percent   of   the   vote.   This   set   the   stage   for  a  runoff  between  Smith  and  Robinson.      

The   first   results   showed   that   Robinson   had   defeated   Smith   by   342   votes   to  

win  the  race  for  Mayor  of  Holly  Springs  in  a  record-­‐setting  runoff  (Webb,  1989).  It   was  alleged  however  that  Robinson  in  fact  had  received  a  substantial  vote  to  defeat   his   opponent,   Robinson   with   1,151   votes   and   Robinson   with   1,209   votes.   DeBerry   questioned  this  result,  reasoning  that  his  winning  Alderman-­‐at-­‐large  indicated  that   Smith   should   have   won   Mayor.   The   votes,   he   argued,   were   parallel.   Typically,   the   people   that   voted   for   DeBerry   would   have   voted   for   Smith   (A.   DeBerry,   Personal   communication,   September   18,   2012).     A   week   following   the   ’89   election,   the   Democratic   Executive   Committee   would   declare   Smith   the   winner   of   the   Holly   Springs   Mayoral   race   (Webb,   1989).   When   originally   declared   the   loser   of   the   election,   Smith   challenged   the   results;   stating   that   the   name   of   his   opponent   and   his   had   been   reversed   on   the   electronic   voting   machine.   Also,   Shoupe   Voting   Machine  

 

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Company   revealed   testimony   that   their   company   committed   an   error,   which   switched   names   on   the   ballots   so   that   when   voters   had   pressed   a   button   to   vote   for   Smith,  the  machine  had  recorded  a  vote  for  Robinson.  Smith  eventually  won  with  56   percent  of  the  vote,  becoming  the  first  African  American  mayor  of  the  city.       METHODOLOGY   This   study   employs   methods   of   historical   analysis   and   collection   of   quantitative  data  to  bring  light  to  the  circumstances  under  which  Eddie  Lee  Smith,   Jr.  was  elected  Mayor  of  Holly  Springs.  Population  demographics  of  Marshall  County   from   Reconstruction   to   1989   will   be   examined.   Second,   voter   turnout   will   be   examined  to  demonstrate  the  impact  it  had  on  the  1985  and  1989  mayoral  elections.   Last,   the   local   press’   coverage   of   the   election   will   be   analyzed   to   see   if   the   media   racialized  Mayor  Smith’s  campaign  efforts.  The  newspaper  used  in  this  study  is  The   South   Reporter.  This  study  argues  that  the  print  media  racialized  the  1985  mayoral   election,  which  caused  Smith  to  be  unsuccessful  in  winning  the  office  of  mayor  in  his   first   bid.   In   a   racialized   election   between   white   and   black   opponents,   anti-­‐black   sentiments  are  likely  to  surface  and  make  it  hard  for  a  black  candidate  to  get  vote   support  from  the  white  electorate  (Orey,  2005).         The  Purpose  of  the  Study   As  mentioned  earlier,  the  purpose  of  this  study  is  to  delineate  the  factors  that   led   to   the   election   of   the   first   African   American   mayor   in   Holly   Springs.   There   are   two   independent   variables   and   one   dependent   variable.   The   first   independent  

 

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variable   is   racial/deracialized   strategy,   and   the   second   is   population   shift.   The   dependent   variable   is   voter   turnout.   For   the   purpose   of   this   study   racial/deracialized   strategy   can   be   defined   as   a   campaign   strategy   that   either   focuses   on   race-­‐specific   issues   or   avoids   them   (McCormick   &   Jones,   1993).   Conversely,   population   shift   can   be   defined   as   a   change   in   the   relative   numbers   of   African   Americans   making   up   the   population   in   Holly   Springs.   Equally   important,   voter  turnout  can  be  operationalized  as  the  total  number  of  voters  who  participated   in   the   elections.   The   secondary   data   used   to   conduct   this   study   was   newspaper   coverage  of  the  mayoral  elections  of  1985  and  1989  in  The  South  Reporter.    

Similar   to   Reeves,   Jefferies,   and   Orey   (1997,   2000,   &   2005)   this   study  

examines  whether  the  newspaper  items  made  a  reference  to  race.  Each  news  item   was  coded  on  the  basis  of  the  key  campaign  issues,  the  race  of  the  candidate,  date  of   the   story,   placement   of   the   story,   and   the   tone   of   the   overall   news   item.   First,   the   number  of  items  that  included  a  reference  to  the  race  of  the  candidate  was  recorded.   Secondly,   the   number   of   items   that   included   a   reference   to   any   aspect   of   race   in   discussing  the  electorate  or  campaign  issues  was  recorded.  Finally,  the  tone  of  the   news   item   was   classified   as   favorable,   somewhat   favorable,   unfavorable,   balanced   or   neutral   (Jefferies,   2000).   A   favorable   news   item   included   any   news   item   that   identified   only   positive   aspects   of   the   candidate   or   his   campaign.   Conversely,   an   unfavorable   news   item   only   focused   on   negative   aspects   of   the   candidate   or   his   campaign.   A   somewhat   favorable   news   item   made   reference   to   both   positive   and   negative   aspects   of   the   candidate   or   his   campaign   while   the   number   of   positive   aspects  outweighed  negative  aspects.  Similarly,  a  somewhat  unfavorable  news  item  

 

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made   reference   to   both   positive   and   negative   aspects   of   the   candidate   or   his   campaign   but   the   number   of   negative   aspects   outweighed   the   positive.   A   balanced   news  item  made  references  to  both  positive  and  negative  aspects  of  the  candidate  or   his   campaign.   A   neutral   news   item   did   not   make   any   positive   or   negative   references   to   the   candidate   or   his   campaign.   The   tone   of   Smith’s   campaign   news   coverage   in   the  two  elections  (1985  and  1989)  was  compared  to  ascertain  media  bias.  The  unit   of  analysis  is  each  newspaper  item.   Validity  is  another  important  factor  to  take  into  account.  Validity  “describes  a   measure   that   accurately   reflects   the   concepts   it   is   intended   to   measure”   (Babbie,   2010,   p.12).   In   this   study,   the   instrument   is   analyzing   how   the   news   coverage   racialized  Mayor  Smith’s  campaign  efforts  and  if  the  voter  turnout  for  Mayor  Smith   increased  from  1985  to  1989.  This  study  contains  content  validity,  the  “the  degree   to  which  a  measure  covers  the  range  of  meaning  included  within  a  concept”  (Babbie,   2010,  p.3).     The  mayoral  elections  in  Holly  Springs  during  the  years  of  1985  and  1989  are   studied  on  a  local  level.  This  gives  the  study  its  content  validity.  This  study  is  valid   because   it   will   show   whether   the   media   racialized   the   campaign   and   if   the   voter   turnout   for   Eddie   Smith   increased   during   the   elections   in   1985   and   1989.   Content   analysis,  “the  study  of  recorded  human  communications,”  was  used  to  examine  the   articles   and   ads   published   in   the   South   Reporter.   (Babbie,   2010,   p.333)   The   timeframe  of  the  analysis  extends  from  January  1  of  the  election  year  until  election   day  in  1985  and  1989.  In  1985,  twenty-­‐seven  news  items  dealing  with  the  election   were  coded  for  The  South   Reporter.  In  1989,  twenty-­‐one  news  items  were  coded.  If  

 

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the   percentages   of   racial   references   are   high   in   both   campaigns   one   can   infer   that   the  news  coverage  of  The  South  Reporter  racialized  the  campaigns  of  Mayor  Smith.  If   the   percentages   of   racial   references   are   not   high   in   both   campaigns   one   can   infer   that   the   news   coverage   of   The   South   Reporter   did   not   racialize   the   campaigns   of   Eddie  Smith.         FINDINGS    

The   type   of   data   used   for   analysis   consists   of   four   multivariate   tables,   two  

bivariate  tables,  and  one  univariate  table.  Two  of  the  multivariate  tables  identify  the   issues  of  the  campaigns  reported  in  The  South  Reporter  in  the  mayoral  elections  of   1985   and   1989.   The   other   two   multivariate   tables   report   the   tone   of   the   South   Reporter’s   campaign   coverage   in   the   mayoral   elections   of   1985   and   1989.   The   bivariate   tables   show   the   population   of   Marshall   County   from   1860-­‐1980   and   the   voter  turnout  by  ward  in  the  1985  mayoral  election.  The  univariate  table  will  show   the  voter  turnout  in  the  1989  mayoral  election.       Analysis     Table  1:    Marshall  County  Population  by  Race  

 

Census  Year  

White    

Black    &  Other  

Total  Population  

1860  

11,376  (39.46%)  

17,447  (60.54%)  

28,823  (100%)  

1870  

12,917  (43.91%)  

16,499  (56.09%)  

29,416  (100%)  

1880                                      10,992  (37.47%)  

18,338  (62.53%)  

29,330  (100%)  

1890    

16,312  (62.64%)  

26,043  (100%)  

9,731  (37.36%)  

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1900  

8,966  (32.39%)  

18,708  (67.61%)  

27,674  (100%)  

1910  

7,454  (27.81%)  

19,342  (72.19%)  

26,796  (100%)  

1920  

7,264  (27.82%)  

18,841(72.18%)  

26,105  (100%)  

1930  

7,093  (28.52%)  

17,776  (71.48%)  

24,869  (100%)  

1940  

7,556  (29.60%)  

17,966  (70.40%)  

25,522  (100%)  

1950  

7,374  (29.37%)  

17,732  (70.63%)  

25,106  (100%)  

1960  

7,264  (29.64%)  

17,239  (70.36%)  

24,503  (100%)  

1970  

9,101  (37.87%)  

14,926  (62.13%)  

24,027  (100%)  

1980  

13,  647  (46.58%)  

15,649  (53.42%)  

29,296  (100%)  

 

 

 

As   stated   earlier,   racial   dynamics   between   the   populations   in   Marshall  

County   have   impacted   the   voting   body   since   the   end   of   Reconstruction,   blacks   at   that   time   largely   disenfranchised   at   city   and   county   levels.   However,   the   black   population  and  the  voting  base  in  the  area  increased  during  the  post  1960’s  era  as   blacks  moved  from  neighboring  counties  to  work  in  factories  newly  opened  in  Holly   Springs   in   the   1970s   and   ‘80s.   Table   1   shows   the   population   of   Marshall   County   a   year   before   the   Civil   War   until   twenty   years   after   the   Civil   Rights   Movement.   It   shows   how   the   population   fluctuated   over   the   years   and   how   by   1980   the   county   had   its   biggest   population   since   Reconstruction.   The   population   shift   eventually   put   African  Americans  in  Holly  Springs  in  the  position  to  elect  the  first  African  American   mayor  because  it  gave  them  more  in  numbers  than  any  other  race.  Yet,  the  office  of   mayor   could   not   be   won   until   a   Black   candidate   could   garner   at   least   10-­‐20   percent   of  the  white  vote.  Mayor  Smith  accomplished  this  when  he  was  elected  in  1989.                                              1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science            

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Table  2:  Voter  Turnout  for  the  1985  Mayoral  Election  in  Holly  Springs,  MS.   Mayor  

Ward  1  

Ward  2  

Ward  3  

Ward  4  

Total  

Brown  

101  

116  

576  

481  

1274  

(7.92%)  

(9.10%)  

(45.22%)  

(37.76%)  

(100%)  

323  

453  

178  

211  

1165  

(27.73%)  

(38.89%)  

(15.27%)  

(18.11%)  

(100%)  

Smith  

  In   the   1985   runoff   between   John   D.   Brown   and   Eddie   L.   Smith   Jr.,   Brown   received   1,274   votes   to   Smith’s   1,165   of   the   2,439   total   votes.   Of   his   1,274   votes,   Brown  received  7.92  percent  from  Ward  1,  9.10  percent  from  Ward  2,  45.22  percent   from   Ward   3,   and   37.76   percent   from   Ward   4.   Of   Smith’s   1,165   votes,   27.23   percent   came   from   Ward   1,   38.89   percent   came   from   Ward   2,   15.27   percent   came   from   Ward   3,   and   18.11   percent   came   from   Ward   4.   When   assessing   this   election   there   are  some  important  considerations  to  take  into  account.  They  include  the  fact  that   Wards   1   and   2   are   predominately   African   American   and   that   Wards   3   and   4   are   predominately   white.   This   is   important   because   it   explains   the   disparity   in   votes   among  the  wards.  It  explains  why  Smith  received  substantial  votes  in  Wards  1  and  2   but   not   in   Wards   3   and   4.   It   also   explains   why   Brown   had   a   heavy   margin   of   victory   in   Wards   3   and   4,   which   were   due   to   approximately   65   to   75   more   voters   coming   out,   electors   who   did   not   come   out   in   the   primary   election   (Webb,   1985).   In   this   election   Brown   received   a   larger   turnout   because   he   was   able   to   garner   at   least   five   percent  of  the  black  vote.  In  Mayor  Smith’s  opinion,  the  reason  he  did  not  win  the   election  was  because  whites  were  not  ready  to  vote  for  blacks.    

 

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Table  3:  Voter  Turnout  for  the  1989  Mayoral  Election  in  Holly  Springs,  MS.   Mayor  

Votes  

Smith  

1,543  (56.47%)  

Robinson  

1,189  (43.53%)  

Total  

2,732  (100%)  

   

In   the   1989   runoff   between   Scott   Robinson   and   Eddie   Smith   Jr.,   Smith  

received  1,543  votes  and  Robinson  received  1,189  votes  out  of  the  2,732  votes  that   were   cast.   Of   those   accounted   votes,   Smith   received   56.47   percent   and   Robinson   received   43.53   percent.   In   the   1989   election   Smith   was   able   to   galvanize   a   larger   voter  turnout  than  in  the  1985  election  because  of  his  ability  to  form  coalitions  with   youth   and   his   ability   to   siphon   a   percentage   of   the   white   vote.   In   general,   more   voters  turned  out  in  1989  than  in  1985.  However,  data  for  the  1989  election  at  the   ward  level  was  not  available  as  previously  shown  in  the  1985  election.     Table   4:   Campaign   Issues   Identified   in   the   South   Reporter   Coverage   of   the   1985   Mayoral  Primary  Election  Holly  Springs,  MS.  

 

Issue  

N  

Percent  

Jobs  

22  

81%  

Business  

16  

59%  

Economic  Development  

14  

51%  

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Drugs  

12  

44%  

Crime  

8  

29%  

Education  

7  

25%  

Race  

5  

18%  

Taxes  

4  

14%  

Neighborhood  

2  

7%  

Poverty  

1  

3%  

 

 

 

Among  the  twenty-­‐seven  news  items  in  The  South  Reporter  pertaining  to  the  

1985   mayoral   election,   jobs   were   the   most   mentioned   item   at   81   percent.   Most   of   the  candidates  thought  that  if  the  residents  of  Holly  Springs  had  more  jobs  it  would   eliminate  crime  and  poverty.  Business  was  also  an  important  news  item  in  the  1985   campaign.   It   was   mentioned   59   percent   of   the   time.   Among   the   candidates   Eddie   Smith   mentioned   business   the   most.   His   platform   was   effective   management,   which   wanted   to   invest   in   the   people   and   businesses   in   Holly   Springs.   The   issue   of   economic  development  was  identified  approximately  51  percent  of  the  time.  Other   major  issues  that  were  identified  in  the  1985  campaign  included  drugs  (44  percent),   crime   (29   percent),   education   (25   percent),   race   (18   percent)   and   taxes   (14   percent).   Nevertheless,   The  South  Reporter’s   coverage   of   the   1985   election   did   not   conform   to   the   previous   finding   of   media   bias   in   biracial   political   contest   (Reeves,   1997;   Jefferies,   2000).   The   least   mentioned   issues   in   the   1985   campaign   included,   neighborhoods  (7  percent)  and  poverty  (3  percent).    

 

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Table    5:  Campaign  Issues  Identified  in  the  South  Reporter  Coverage  of  the  1989   Mayoral  Primary  Election  Holly  Springs,  MS.   Issue  

N  

Percent  

Economic  Development  

8  

38%  

Jobs  

7  

33%  

Business  

7  

33%  

Education  

5  

23%  

Environment  

5  

23%  

Taxes  

3  

14%  

Race  

3  

14%  

Neighborhoods  

2  

9%  

Police/Fire  Department  

1  

4%  

  Among   the   twenty-­‐one   news   items   on   the   1989   mayoral   election   published   in   The   South   Reporter,   14   percent   of   them   made   reference   to   race.   In   1989,   there   was   a   4   percent   decrease   in   the   number   of   items   that   mentioned   the   race   of   candidates  compared  to  1985.  This  decrease  is  significant  because  it  created  a  less   racialized   political   environment   that   positively   impacted   the   campaign   efforts   of   Smith.  All  three  of  the  items  in  the  1989  election  that  mentioned  race  were  included   towards  the  last  few  weeks  of  the  campaign  and  were  within  the  first  five  pages  of   The   South   Reporter.   Similarly,   the   other   important   news   items   published   on   the   1989  mayoral   election   were   economic  development  (38   percent),   jobs   (33   percent),                                              1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science           126    


business   (33   percent),   education   (23   percent),   environment   (23   percent),   and   taxes   (14   percent).   The   least   mentioned   issues   in   the   1989   mayoral   election   were   neighborhoods  (9  percent)  and  police/fire  department  (4  percent).     Table   6:   Tone   in   the   South   Reporter’s   Campaign   coverage   of   the   1985   Mayoral   Election  in  Holly  Springs,  MS.     Tone  

Smith  

Moore  

Fitch  

Brown  

Alldredge  

Boone  

Favorable  

7%  

11%  

22%  

18%  

0%  

14%  

 

(2)  

(3)  

(6)  

(5)  

(0)  

(4)  

Somewhat   Favorable    

11%  

0%  

7%  

0%  

0%  

0%  

(3)  

(0)  

(2)  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

Balanced  

3%  

0%  

0%  

3%  

0%  

0%  

 

(1)  

(0)  

(0)  

(1)  

(0)  

(0)  

Neutral  

14%  

3%  

3%  

3%  

7%  

7%  

 

(4)  

(1)  

(1)  

(1)  

(2)  

(2)  

Somewhat   Unfavorable    

0%  

0%  

0%  

0%  

0%  

0%  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

Unfavorable  

0%  

0%  

0%  

0%  

0%  

0%  

 

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

(  )  =  Total  number  of  news  items      

  Table  6  reveals  that  Smith  received  7  percent  of  favorable  news  coverage.  A  

favorable  news  item  is  one  that  only  identifies  positive  aspects  of  the  candidate  or                                              1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science           127    


his  campaign.  Moreover,  Fitch  received  22  percent  of  the  news  items  that  mentioned   his   name.   This   was   the   highest   percentage   received   by   any   of   the   candidates.   The   next   highest   was   the   18   percent   received   by   Brown   who   was   the   mayor-­‐elect   for   1985.   Other   favorable   news   coverage   included   Boone   (14   percent)   and   Moore   (11   percent).  The  vast  majority  of  all  the  candidates’  news  items  fell  under  the  neutral   category.   None   of   the   candidates’   news   items   were   unfavorable.   In   the   somewhat   favorable   news   category   Smith   received   11   percent   and   Fitch   7   percent.   In   the   balanced   category,   Smith   and   Brown   received   3   percent.   In   the   neutral   category,   Moore   received   3   percent,   Smith   14   percent,   Fitch   and   Brown   3   percent,   and   Alldredge  and  Boone  7  percent.       Table   7:   Tone   in   the   South   Reporter’s   Campaign   coverage   of   the   1989   Mayoral   Election  in  Holly  Springs,  MS.  

 

Tone  

Smith  

Robinson    

Minor  

Favorable  

9%  

19%  

33%  

 

(2)  

(4)  

(6)  

Somewhat   Favorable    

0%  

0%  

0%  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

Balanced  

9%  

0%  

0%  

 

(2)  

(0)  

(0)  

Neutral  

23%  

9%  

9%  

 

(5)  

(2)  

(2)  

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Somewhat   Unfavorable    

0%  

0%  

0%  

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

Unfavorable  

0%  

0%  

0%  

 

(0)  

(0)  

(0)  

(  )  =  Total  number  of  news  items    

  Table   7   reveals   that   Smith   received   9   percent   of   favorable   news   coverage.  

This  finding  also  reveals  that  Smith  had  more  coverage  in  this  election  than  in  the   one  in  1985.  Conversely,  Robinson  and  Minor  received  19  percent  and  33  percent  of   favorable   coverage   respectively.   Also,   Smith   received   9   percent   of   balanced   coverage   in   the   news   items   that   mentioned   his   name.   Another   interesting   finding   was   that   Smith   received   more   neutral   coverage   (23   percent)   than   he   did   in   1985;   this  shows  that  the  media  was  racially  unbiased  in  1989.  Additionally,  Robinson  and   Minor  received  9  percent  of  neutral  coverage.  

  CONCLUSION  

 

The  findings  from  this  study  reveal  that  the  population  shift  in  Holly  Springs  

from   Reconstruction   to   1980   had   a   direct   effect   on   the   larger   voter   turnout   that   elected   Holly   Springs’   first   African   American   mayor.   This   study   agreed   with   previous  research  (Preston  et  al.,  1983)  that  some  of  the  strategies  for  electing  black   mayors   include   the   percentage   of   the   black   population   and   the   use   of   coalitions.   These  are  two  factors  that  made  a  difference  in  Mayor  Smith’s  successful  campaigns.    

 

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Also,   the   explanation   for   Mayor   Smith’s   victory   in   1989   when   compared   to   his  defeat  in  1985  is  the  fact  that  he  was  able  to  garner  some  10-­‐20  percent  of  the   white  vote  (Gibbes,  1989).  Furthermore,  this  study  of  Mayor  Smith’s  bids  for  office   concurs   with   (Stone,   1968)   preconditions   for   black   candidates   to   be   successful   in   campaigns.   In   detail,   Mayor   Smith   had   strong   organization,   good   campaign   techniques;   he   campaigned   for   the   white   vote   as   well   as   the   black   vote   (deracial   strategy),  and  the  media  for  the  most  part  remained  neutral  for  the  duration  of  his   campaigns.  This  study  shows  that  the  factors  that  elected  Smith  as  mayor  emulate   the  national  model  for  electing  black  mayors  in  America.        Additionally,   this   study   agreed   with   previous   research   that   the   media   was   not  biased  in  biracial  political  contests  (Orey,  2005).  This  study  revealed  that  race   received   little   attention   in   both   elections.   Therefore,   The   South   Reporter   did   not   engage   in   racially   polarizing   news   coverage   during   the   1985   and   1989   elections   because   the   percentage   of   racial   references   was   not   high   in   either   election.   The   limitation   and   weakness   of   this   study   was   the   unavailability   of   information,   the   limited  number  of  interviews  and  the  inability  to  obtain  a  copy  Smith’s  speeches.      

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Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers Approved by the 1996 NASW Delegate Assembly and revised by the 2008 NASW Delegate Assembly The 2008 NASW Delegate Assembly approved the following revisions to the NASW Code of Ethics: 1.05 Cultural Competence and Social Diversity (c) Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.

2.01 Respect (a) Social workers should treat colleagues with respect and should represent accurately and fairly the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues. (b) Social workers should avoid unwarranted negative criticism of colleagues in communications with clients or with other professionals. Unwarranted negative criticism may include demeaning comments that refer to colleagues’ level of competence or to individuals’ attributes such as race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.

4.02 Discrimination Social workers should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability.

6.04 Social and Political Action (d) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race,          1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science           134      


ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability.

Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics Professional ethics are at the core of social work. The profession has an obligation to articulate its basic values, ethical principles, and ethical standards. The NASW Code of Ethics sets forth these values, principles, and standards to guide social workers’ conduct. The Code is relevant to all social workers and social work students, regardless of their professional functions, the settings in which they work, or the populations they serve. The NASW Code of Ethics serves six purposes: 1. The Code identifies core values on which social work’s mission is based. 2. The Code summarizes broad ethical principles that reflect the profession’s core values and establishes a set of specific ethical standards that should be used to guide social work practice. 3. The Code is designed to help social workers identify relevant considerations when professional obligations conflict or ethical uncertainties arise. 4. The Code provides ethical standards to which the general public can hold the social work profession accountable. 5. The Code socializes practitioners new to the field to social work’s mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards. 6. The Code articulates standards that the social work profession itself can use to assess whether social workers have engaged in unethical conduct. NASW has formal procedures to adjudicate ethics complaints filed against its members.* In subscribing to this Code, social workers are required to cooperate in its implementation, participate in NASW adjudication proceedings, and abide by any NASW disciplinary rulings or sanctions based on it. The Code offers a set of values, principles, and standards to guide decision making and conduct when ethical issues arise. It does not provide a set of rules that prescribe how social workers should act in all situations. Specific applications of the Code must take into account the context in which it is being considered and the possibility of conflicts among the Code‘s values, principles, and standards. Ethical responsibilities flow from all human relationships, from the personal and familial to the social and professional. Further, the NASW Code of Ethics does not specify which values, principles, and standards are most important and ought to outweigh others in instances when they conflict. Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist among social workers with respect to the ways in which values, ethical principles, and ethical          1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science              

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standards should be rank ordered when they conflict. Ethical decision making in a given situation must apply the informed judgment of the individual social worker and should also consider how the issues would be judged in a peer review process where the ethical standards of the profession would be applied. Ethical decision making is a process. There are many instances in social work where simple answers are not available to resolve complex ethical issues. Social workers should take into consideration all the values, principles, and standards in this Code that are relevant to any situation in which ethical judgment is warranted. Social workers’ decisions and actions should be consistent with the spirit as well as the letter of this Code. In addition to this Code, there are many other sources of information about ethical thinking that may be useful. Social workers should consider ethical theory and principles generally, social work theory and research, laws, regulations, agency policies, and other relevant codes of ethics, recognizing that among codes of ethics social workers should consider the NASW Code of Ethics as their primary source. Social workers also should be aware of the impact on ethical decision making of their clients’ and their own personal values and cultural and religious beliefs and practices. They should be aware of any conflicts between personal and professional values and deal with them responsibly. For additional guidance social workers should consult the relevant literature on professional ethics and ethical decision making and seek appropriate consultation when faced with ethical dilemmas. This may involve consultation with an agency-based or social work organization’s ethics committee, a regulatory body, knowledgeable colleagues, supervisors, or legal counsel. Instances may arise when social workers’ ethical obligations conflict with agency policies or relevant laws or regulations. When such con-flicts occur, social workers must make a responsible effort to resolve the conflict in a manner that is consistent with the values, principles, and standards expressed in this Code. If a reasonable resolution of the conflict does not appear possible, social workers should seek proper consultation before making a decision. The NASW Code of Ethics is to be used by NASW and by individuals, agencies, organizations, and bodies (such as licensing and regulatory boards, professional liability insurance providers, courts of law, agency boards of directors, government agencies, and other professional groups) that choose to adopt it or use it as a frame of reference. Violation of standards in this Code does not automatically imply legal liability or violation of the law. Such determination can only be made in the context of legal and judicial proceedings. Alleged violations of the Code would be subject to a peer review process. Such processes are generally separate from legal or administrative procedures and insulated from legal review or proceedings to allow the profession to counsel and discipline its own members.          1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science              

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A code of ethics cannot guarantee ethical behavior. Moreover, a code of ethics cannot resolve all ethical issues or disputes or capture the richness and complexity involved in striving to make responsible choices within a moral community. Rather, a code of ethics sets forth values, ethical principles, and ethical standards to which professionals aspire and by which their actions can be judged. Social workers’ ethical behavior should result from their personal commitment to engage in ethical practice. The NASW Code of Ethics reflects the commitment of all social workers to uphold the profession’s values and to act ethically. Principles and standards must be applied by individuals of good character who discern moral questions and, in good faith, seek to make reliable ethical judgments.

Ethical Standards The following ethical standards are relevant to the professional activities of all social workers. These standards concern (1) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to clients, (2) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to colleagues, (3) social workers’ ethical responsibilities in practice settings, (4) social workers’ ethical responsibilities as professionals, (5) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to the social work profession, and (6) social workers’ ethical responsibilities to the broader society. Some of the standards that follow are enforceable guidelines for professional conduct, and some are aspirational. The extent to which each standard is enforceable is a matter of professional judgment to be exercised by those responsible for reviewing alleged violations of ethical standards.

1. SOCIAL WORKERS’ ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO CLIENTS 1.05 Cultural Competence and Social Diversity (a) Social workers should understand culture and its function in human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths that exist in all cultures. (b) Social workers should have a knowledge base of their clients’ cultures and be able to demonstrate competence in the provision of services that are sensitive to clients’ cultures and to differences among people and cultural groups. (c) Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.          1866:  Rust  College  Journal  of  Student  Research  –  Social  Science              

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To  read  the  full  Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers, please visit: http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/default.asp

 

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1866: Rust College Journal of Student Research - Diversity