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S. Korean students think 40% of Americans are black

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S. Korean students think 40% of Americans are black

Post by momopi » November 3rd, 2008, 11:06 pm ... lack-folk/

As an aside with my students in a couple of classes today, I asked them what percentage of the American population they thought was black. Here are ranges for the answers they gave

* 60% +: 3
* 50-59%: 3
* 40-49%: 16 (the modal answer was 40% with 10 votes)
* 30-39%: 12
* 20-29%: 9
* 10-19%: 3
* 0-9%: 0

The real answer: 12.4%

Considering the disproportionate influence of blacks in popular culture, it is understandable that Koreans would think the number is higher. The relatively high concentration of blacks in urban areas in the United States also helps. There was a lot more coverage of New Orleans than there was of the Mississippi gulf coast when Hurricane Katrina hit.

If much of the rest of the world has the same misconception as this (admittedly very small) sample of Koreans, it might explain some of the ideas floating out there about race relations in America.

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Post by Raja » November 7th, 2008, 12:16 am

The perceptions about US race relations probably come because to reuse a phrase, the revolution was televised. Dry reading of history and Americans telling folks differently is one thing. The entire zenith of the civil rights fight from Ike calling in paratroopers so children could go to school, the sheriffs with dogs and fire hoses through the urban riots were and still are seen. A movie is worth a million words that are only read should a teacher give you that assignment.

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Post by ladislav » November 9th, 2008, 4:59 pm

At least they consider blacks to be Americans. That is a plus. Many Asians do not. Also, I never got an accurate number from my students as far as how many % of the world were native speakers of English. People would give numbers such as 35-90%. It is only some 7%, actually.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!

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