Monday, April 2, 2012

Has fear of being called a racist overtaken the fears of death and public speaking?

On June 19th, 2011 Jim Rose, who blogs as Libertarian Popinjay, claimed:

“....Being called a racist has become a bigger fear than death and public speaking combined.”

On March 31st, 2012 he said again:

“....I dare say the fear of being called a racist has overtaken the fear of death and public speaking in America.”

Is there any data to back that up? The first place you’d expect to find it would be in a survey of what students in a public university fear. They presumably are influenced by liberal professors with an agenda emphasizing political correctness. Seim and Spates did such a survey, and on August 1, 2010 I blogged about What do US college students fear most? Is it snakes, spiders, or public speaking?

The bar chart shown above lists their results. (Click on it to see a larger version). Spiders came first, followed by public speaking. Neither death nor being called a racist were on their list of questions. They also asked students to write in any additional fears they were bothered by. Their most common five were:

1.5% - Fear of clowns
1.4% - Fear of the dark
1.2% - Fear of failing school
0.7% - Fear of being sexually assaulted
0.5% - Fears related to vomiting

Death and being called a racist evidently weren’t on student’s minds, and presumably were at less that 0.5% versus 19% for public speaking. So, that survey doesn’t support Mr. Rose’s claim at all.

The image of a man pointing was modified from an old poster.

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