Youth look at national problems

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Content: YOUTH LOOK AT NATIONAL PROBLEMS A Special Report from the Youth in Transition Project JERALD G. BACHMAN E L I Z A B E T H VAN DUINEN SURVEY RESEARCH CENTER INSTITUTE FOR Social Research THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Ann Arbor, Michigan n V
F i r s t P r i n t i n g 1971
YOUTH LOOK AT NATIONAL PROBLEMS A Special Report from the Youth in Transition Project JERALD G. BACHMAN ELIZABETH VAN DUINEN SURVEY RESEARCH CENTER INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
PREFACE This special repoft looks a t how young men view n a t i o n a l problems. I t has evolved from a large research s t u d y -- t h e Youth i n Transition p r o j e c t -- t h e primary purpose o f which was stated several years ago i n the f o l l o w ing terms: Our study of Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n i s focused on some major changes i n adolescent boys during the high school years. I t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y concerned w i t h the way these changes are affected by aspects of the immediate s o c i a l environment. These environmental characteristics include ability requirements, o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r achievement and a f f i l i a t i o n , peer group s t r u c t u r e , and a v a i l a b i l i t y of adult models (Bachman, e t a l . , 1967, p. 1 ) . When the project began i n 1965, we d i d not give much consideration to national events and problems as a part of the "immediate social environment" of high school boys. Our shortsightedness i n t h i s respect was evident i n the f i r s t data c o l l e c t e d ; when asked t o mention "some things you're not too happy about these days," 10 percent of our sample of tenth-grade boys mentioned the d r a f t and/or the war i n Vietnam. When we questioned the boys again near the end of eleventh grade, those personally unhappy about the d r a f t and/or the war had increased t o 19 percent, and 38 percent mentioned the d r a f t and war i n response to a more general question about "problems young men worry about most." Ui
iv The t h i r d data c o l l e c t i o n -- w h e n most of the boys were about to graduate from high s c h o o l -- I n c l u d e d a brand-new section on a t t i t u d e s about the d r a f t and m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e ; a part of that section was a series of questions about the war i n Vietnam. The f o u r t h and f i n a l data c o l l e c t i o n (one year l a t e r ) repeated many questions about the d r a f t , m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e , and the war; i n a d d i t i o n , i t included a new interview segment which asked young men t o state t h e i r views on other important problems f a c i n g the nation and what should be done about them. The responses to some of these questions, especially those dealing with perceptions of national problems, are s u f f i c i e n t l y i n t e r e s t i n g and timely that we f e l t we should make them available i n t h i s special r e p o r t . I t i s always d i f f i c u l t to decide how soon t o p u b l i s h new data; the more thorough a job of analysis one (does, the greater the danger that the f i n d i n g s w i l l be out-of-date by the time they are reported. I n t h i s case, we have decided t o present the findings now, before they grow s t a l e , even though that l i m i t s us to p r i m a r i l y d e s c r i p t i v e data rather than extensive analyses of more complex r e l a t i o n s h i p s . (We hope to present the l a t t e r sort of analyses i n subsequent publications .) Sample and Study Design The Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n p r o j e c t has been studying a national sample of about 2200 young men t o determine t h e i r a t t i t u d e s , plans, and behaviors, p a r t i c u l a r l y those r e l a t i n g to educational and occupational a s p i r a t i o n s . Figure 1 presents a diagram of the study design. Our data c o l l e c t i o n s ,
V using personal interviews and w r i t t e n questionnaires, spanned a period of nearly four years. The f i r s t data c o l l e c t i o n ( f a l l 1966) was made when the boys were i n tenth grade at 87 public high schools throughout the United States. The second (spring 1968) occurred when the m a j o r i t y of boys were f i n i s h i n g the eleventh grade. The t h i r d data c o l l e c t i o n (spring 1969) took place j u s t before those boys s t i l l i n school had graduated. I n June and July o f 1970 data were collected f o r the l a s t time. At t h i s p o i n t most of the boys had been out of high school for about a year. Some were i n the m i l i t a r y , others i n the work force, and a large number were i n college. Our r e t e n t i o n r a t e through a l l four data c o l l e c t i o n s 1B 73 percent o f those who started the s t u d y -- q u i t e high f o r a project stretching over nearly four years.* *For detailed descriptions of study design, sampling, and response r a t e s , see the f i r s t two volumes i n the Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n monograph series (Bachman, et a l . , 1967; Bachman, 1970). Additional monographs on the f o l l o w i n g topics w i l l be issued i n 1971 and early 1972: dropouts, the school as an organization, m i l i t a r y plans and a t t i tudes, drug usage and a t t i t u d e s , t r a n s i t i o n through high school, and vocational education.
vi
Figure 1 THE YOUTH IN TRANSITION STUDY Overview of Research Design
TIME 1
F a l l , 1966
(early tenth grade)
tests, interviews,
questionnaires
N=2213 97% of o r i g i n a l sample
I
TIME 2
Spring, 1968
(late eleventh grade)
interviews,
ques tionnaires
N=1890 83% of o r i g i n a l sample
i
TIME 3
Spring, 1969
(late twelfth grade)
questionnaires
N=1800 79% of o r i g i n a l sample
i
TIME 4 Summer, 1970 (one year beyond graduation) interviews, ques tionnaires N=1620 71% o f o r i g i n a l sample
vii
Acknowledgements A number of people helped i n the w r i t i n g and prepara t i o n of t h i s special report. Those who read and commented on portions of the manuscript include Angus Canpbell, Kent Jennings, Lloyd Johnston, Diane Knapp, Eugene Weiss, and I l o n a Wirtanen. We appreciate the e f f o r t s of Faye Burton who typed f i r s t d r a f t s of the manuscript, Pam Deasy who typed the f i n a l copy, and Ilona Wirtanen who prepared the f i g u r e s . We are g r a t e f u l to Douglas Truax f o r f i n a l e d i t i n g . Other members of the Youth i n Transition project s t a f f have helped i n various ways to make t h i s special report possible; I t i s a pleasure t o acknowledge a l l of them i n the l i s t i n g that f o l lows . The Youth i n Transition Project has been supported p r i m a r i l y through a contract w i t h the National Center f o r Edu c a t i o n a l Research and Development, Office of Education, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n Project S t a f f (Past and Present)
Allison Arscott Jerald Bachman Joy Bingham Lynn Bozoki Janet Bumpass Robert Cope Terrence Davidson John French, Jr. Swayzer Green Penni Holt S a l l y Iman Mary Jacobs Jerome Johnston L,loyd Johnston Robert Kahn Diane Knapp Rita Lamendella
Judith Long Martha Mednick Haydee Navarro Roberta Niaki Guttorm Norstebo Patrick O'Malley Karen Paige Janice Plotkin P h i l i p Rappaport Joel Raynor W i l l a r d Rodgers Susan Shapiro Claire Taylor Barbara Thomas Elizabeth van Duinen P a t r i c i a Veerkamp Ilona Wirtanen
CONTENTS
Preface Sample and Study Design Acknowledgements
iii iv vii
Chapter 1 - Problems Facing the Nation
1
Chapter 2 - Vietnam
11
Chapter 3 - National Unity
23
Chapter 4 - Racial Tensions
35
Chapter 5 - Crime, Violence, and Public Order . . . . 47
Chapter 6 - Pollution
53
Chapter 7 - population growth
57
Chapter 8 - Other National Issues
75
The National Economy
77
The Threat of Nuclear War
79
Chapter 9 - What Young Men Feel They Can Do
83
Chapter 10 - Summary and Conclusions
89
Summary of Major Findings
89
Conclusions
93
Bibliography
97
ix
CHAPTER 1 PROBLEMS FACING THE NATION Young men I n the United States l i v e and work i n a v a r i e t y of environments. They come from d i f f e r e n t family backgrounds, school environments, and work roles. But they share a common n a t i o n a l environment and a common exposure t o Mass Media which d a i l y remind them that t h i s nation i s going through a period of upheaval--a time of s t r e s s and change. This r e p o r t i s concerned w i t h how young men view the major problems facing the nation. We w i l l ask what problems they consider to be most important, what they think should be done, and what they themselves might do t o help. Our information comes p r i m a r i l y from a l o n g i t u d i n a l study called Youth in Transition; t h i s study has c o l l e c t e d i n t e r v i e w and questionnaire data from a nationwide sample of more than two thousand young men, beginning I n f a l l 1966 when they entered tenth grade, and continuing f o r nearly four years. The present report concentrates on the f i n a l data c o l l e c t i o n , which surveyed our sample of young men a f t e r they were out of high school and i n t o the several worlds of higher education, jobs, and m i l i t a r y service.* *The Preface includes a discussion o f the Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n sample and the sequence of data c o l l e c t i o n s .
2 The f i n a l data c o l l e c t i o n occurred i n June and July of 1970. The timing i s important, as we s h a l l see, because the i n t e r v i e w i n g occurred s h o r t l y a f t e r two events of great national importance--the entrance of United States troops i n t o Cambodia, and the events at Kent State U n i v e r s i t y i n c l u d i n g student demonstrations against the war and the death of four students during those demonstrations. Early i n the 1970 interview the young men i n our sample were asked the series of questions summarized i n Figure 1-1. The question sequence began by g i v i n g a respondent an "open-ended" chance to l i s t up to three n a t i o n a l problems, without any suggestions provided by the interviewer. After a respondent l i s t e d these several problems of i n t e r e s t to him, he was asked to comment on the s i x s p e c i f i c problem areas shown i n the lower p a r t of Figure 1-1. Often one or more of these problem areas overlapped the ones named i n the open-ended question, but we considered i t important t o have everyone comment on these six i n s p i t e of any such overlap. A f t e r a respondent rated the s i x t o p i c areas i n terms of importance and suggested solutions t o the problem, an a d d i t i o n a l question (not shown i n Figure 1-1) asked him to make the same suggestions f o r any other problems mentioned i n the e a r l i e r open-ended question. Thus i f a young man mentioned the war i n Vietnam as an important problem f a c i n g the nation, he was asked what should be done about i t -- b y government, schools, or anyone e l s e . Figure 1-2 summarizes responses to the i n i t i a l openended question, "What are the most important problems facing the nation?" Vietnam (and SouthEast Asia generally)
3 F i g u r e 1-1 INTERVIEW SEGMENT ON NATIONAL PROBLEMS Now we have some questions about problems f a c i n g the n a t i o n .
C6. F i r s t o f a l l , what do you think are the most important problems facing this country today? ( L I S T UP TO THREE MENTIONS, BUT DO NOT PROBE I F R GIVES FEWER)*
FIRST
SECOND
THIRD
C7-C12.
(SHOW R CARD C7-C12) 'Here i s a l i s t of problems that are often mentioned. I ' d l i k e to ask you a few questions about them:
How important do you think t h i s problem i s ?
b. Do you have any ideas as co what should be done about t h i s problem -- by government, schools, or anyone e l s e ?
C7. Chance of nuclear war C8. Population growth
( ) 1 EXTREMELY ( ) 2 VERY ( ) 3 QUITE ( ) A SLIGHTLY ( ) 5 NOT AT ALL ( ) 1 EXTREMELY ( ) 2 VERY ( ) 3 QUITE ( ) 4 SLIGHTLY ( ) 5 NOT AT ALL
C9. Crime and violence
( ) 1 EXTREMELY ( ) 2 VERY ( ) 3 QUITE C ) 4 SLIGHTLY ( ) 5 NOT AT ALL
CIO. P o l l u t i o n
( ) 1 EXTREMELY ( ) 2 VERY ( ) 3 QUITE ( ) 4 SLIGHTLY ( ) 5 NOT AT ALL
C l l . Race relations
C ) 1 EXTREMELY ( ) 2 VERY ( ) 3 QUITE ( ) h SLIGHTLY ( ) 5 NOT AT ALL
C12. Hunger and poverty
( ) 1 EXTREMELY ( ) 2 VERY C ) 3 QUITE ( ) 4 SLIGHTLY C ) 5 NOT AT ALL
*Parentheses indicate instructions to interviewers.
4
Percent Mentioning Problem
*io--s·
5to-o*
o<_J
.oe- M
*uoei
Moo
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1
1
1
1
r
Vietnam, S.E. Asia PIII...I...'I.I
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TTTTrrn
Racial tensions; c i v i l
cn
rights
rt
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to P o l l u t i o n ( w a t e r , a i r ) ; Јe ecology
Jfl ow
*· I n f l a t i o n ; high prices
KA
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Hunger; poverty; welfare · 3
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Morale of nation; patriotism; lack of
9
unity; polarization
re
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vo Population growth
5 was the overwhelming f i r s t choice as a n a t i o n a l problem; a t o t a l of 61 percent mentioned t h i s issue; and 44 percent mentioned i t f i r s t . Racial tensions were mentioned next most f r e q u e n t l y (26 percent) followed by p o l l u t i o n (22 percent) . The remaining issues most frequently mentioned were i n f l a t i o n , recession, campus disorders, hunger and poverty, n a t i o n a l u n i t y , and population growth. The major problems mentioned by our sample of young men, mostly one year out of high school, correspond quite c l o s e l y to those mentioned by high school seniors i n Ohio. In a questionnaire study conducted i n May 1970, a sample of Ohio seniors was asked "What do you think are the most important problems facing the American society and our country today?" Vietnam and Cambodia were mentioned by 61 percent, r a c i a l problems by 29 percent, and p o l l u t i o n by 29 percent (Bryant, 1970). Given the differences i n samples and methodology (questionnaire versus I n t e r v i e w ) , the s i m i l a r i t i e s between the two studies are rather striking. # A f t e r answering the i n i t i a l open-ended question about problems facing the nation, our respondents were asked to respond specifically to s i x problems, f i r s t rating their importance and then o f f e r i n g suggestions as to what could be done about them. The importance ratings are presented i n Figure 1-3. P o l l u t i o n heads the l i s t i n importance, w i t h 4 2 percent r a t i n g i t "extremely important" and an a d d i t i o n a l 37 percent r a t i n g i t "very important." Four other issues, population growth, crime and v i o l e n c e , race r e l a t i o n s , and hunger and poverty, are about equal i n rated importance.
Chance of N u c l e a r War Population Growth Crime and Violence Pollution Race Relations Hunger and Poverty
Percent Rating Problem as Extremely/Very
ro
LO
a-*
I
I
L/i I
Important OO I
UJ
9-* O OT 0) oo CO LO H ro ro ro ro 01
7 I t i s of some i n t e r e s t t o note that t h i s generation raised i n the "atomic era" d i d not give such high importance r a t i n g s t o the chance of nuclear war; 17 percent rated the problem as "extremely" important and another 18 percent as "very" important. As we s h a l l note i n Chapter 8, many young men seemed to f e e l that a nuclear stalemate has been reached and that "no one i s stupid enough t o k i l l everyone." The contrast between t h i s low rated concern over nuclear war and the high degree o f concern and d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the Vietnam War i s perhaps a u s e f u l reminder that nuclear war i s a general and d i f f u s e danger to everyone, whereas the war I n Vietnam represents a s p e c i f i c and acute danger to nineteen-year-old males. Another i n t e r e s t i n g contrast l i e s between the high importance ratings given to crime and violence, and the f a c t t h a t t h i s area was seldom volunteered i n response t o the open-ended question about major national problems. The r a t i n g s , no doubt, r e f l e c t an awareness of the seriousness o f crime and violence, b u t the fact that young men do not spontaneously single out t h i s area suggests t h a t , f o r them, "law and order" i s by no means the number-oneproblem facing the nation. A f t e r each problem was rated i n importance, we asked t h i s question: "Do you have any ideas as to what should be done about t h i s problem--by government, schools, or anyone else?" S p e c i f i c suggestions about these issues are discussed i n l a t e r chapters, but one more general dimension i s of i n t e r e s t . A special coding o f each answer dealt w i t h recommendations f o r increased government action. Respondents were n o t asked d i r e c t l y whether government should do more
Percent Expressing Need f o r Government A c t i v i t y 1/1 1
Chance of
Nuclear war
3-a
Population Growth Crime and Violence Pollution
Race Relations
o2 -o9
Hunger and Poverty
ro
00
wH oW cH
WW
ro
td O
6
9 to solve each problem, but the question gave ample opport u n i t y t o volunteer such a view. A good many respondents did s t a t e c l e a r l y that more government action of some sort i s needed; the frequency of such responses d i f f e r s sharply from one issue t o another, as Figure 1-4 indicates. Crime and violence along w i t h p o l l u t i o n are i n the f o r e f r o n t , w i t h almost h a l f of the respondents i n d i c a t i n g a need f o r greater government a c t i v i t y to deal w i t h these problems. When we deal w i t h these issues more extensively i n chapters t o f o l l o w , we w i l l note that much o f the proposed government a c t i o n i n these areas involves tougher laws and s t r i c t e r enforcement. I n the chapters which follow we w i l l take up each of the major national problems i n turn, looking at suggestions as to "what should be done about t h i s problem--by government, schools, or anyone else." Whenever possible we w i l l b r i n g i n other data from the Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n study and other r e l e v a n t studies that bear on the problem areas. We t u r n f i r s t t o the problem which loomed largest i n the minds of young men i n mid-1970 -- the war i n Vietnam.
CHAPTER 2 VIETNAM* The young men i n our study have shown an increasing concern about the war i n Vietnam over the l a s t four years. When we f i r s t asked the tenth-grade boys i n our study back i n 1966 "What are some things you're not too happy about these days?" and "Can you t e l l me some o f the problems young men your age worry about most?" only 10 percent mentioned that they personally were worried about Vietnam. Almost four years l a t e r the f i g u r e had more than t r i p l e d . Simil a r l y , i n 1966 only 7 percent of the boys mentioned Vietnam as one o f the problems t h e i r age group worried about; i n 1970, 75 percent said i t was a source o f worry. Figure 2-1 presents the percentages mentioning Vietnam, the d r a f t , and being sent to Vietnam i n response t o these two questions. When we noticed that concern about Vietnam was growing as our second interview data became a v a i l a b l e , we decided to explore t h i s issue more e x p l i c i t l y . A "Vietnam War Dissent Index" consisting o f the s i x questions shown i n Table 2--1 was used i n the next interviews (spring 1969 and spring 1970). Johnston and Bachman (1970, pp. 6-8) summarized the scale as f o l l o w s : *The data and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n presented i n t h i s chapter draw h e a v i l y on the work o f Johnston (1970) and Johnston and Bachman (1970) . 11
12 Figure 2-1 VIETNAM WAR AND THE DRAFT AS NATIONAL PROBLEMS 80%
I I F a l l , 1967 I 1 (Time 1) i::::.:.vl Spring, 1968 feSgjj (Time 2) Spring, 1970 (Time 4 ) *
<(40H 70% 52 50%i
2P 40%4.
38%
35%
E0) 30%1
QJ
u 20%A
19
10U
10%
"Things you're not too happy about"
7% n "Problems young men your age worry about most"
*This i n t e r v i e w question could not be included a t Time 3, since t h a t data c o l l e c t i o n was l i m i t e d to paper-and-pencil questionnaires.
13 A d e l i b e r a t e e f f o r t was made t o provide a 'balanced' scale; thus there are three a n t i Vietnam War items (a, b, and d) and three items t h a t might be termed 'pro-Vietnam War' (c, e, and f ) . . . . A summary score of the s i x items was calculated f o r each respondent by reversing the scale f o r items a, b, and d and then taking the mean of the responses over a l l s i x items. The r e s u l t i n g s c o r e -- c a l l e d the 'Vietnam War Dissent Index'--was used t o c l a s s i f y the respondents according to t h e i r views toward the Vietnam War.... Values on the index range continuously from one t o four. A low index score indicates support f o r U. S. a c t i v i t i e s i n Vietnam, whereas a high score indicates disagreement w i t h those a c t i v i t i e s . Figure 2-2 presents d i s t r i b u t i o n of t h i s "Vietnam Dissent Index" across our l a s t two data c o l l e c t i o n s . I n the s p r i n g of 1969 there seemed to be more support f o r the war than dissent against i t , although a large group was centered i n the n e u t r a l category. ' Clearly, a t t i t u d e s had changed s u b s t a n t i a l l y by spring 1970 as more young men moved to the "dissenter" side of the scale. Respondents w i t h scores o f 2.75 and up jumped from 20 percent t o 32 percent. On the other hand, the 40 percent of our sample who seemed to be*supporting the Vietnam e f f o r t dropped t o 35 percent. An examination of the i n d i v i d u a l items shown i n Table 2--1 indicates that the increase i n dissent i s spread f a i r l y evenly across most of the questions i n the index. For f i v e out of the s i x items, the increase I n dissenting responses i s between 7 and 12 percent. The one item which did not change i s , "Fighting the war i n Vietnam I s bringing us c l o s e r to world war";65 percent of the respondents agreed or s t r o n g l y agreed w i t h t h i s statement i n 1969 and again i n 1970.
14
TABLE 2-1 VIETNAM DISSENT INDEX ITEMS
"Do you agree or disagree w i t h each of the following statements?" a. F i g h t i n g the war i n Vietnam i s damaging to our n a t i o n a l honor or pride. b. F i g h t i n g the war i n Vietnam i s really not i n the national interest. c. F i g h t i n g the war i n Vietnam i s important to f i g h t the spread of Communism. d. Fighting the war i n Vietnam i s b r i n g i n g us closer to world war. e. F i g h t i n g the war i n Vietnam i s important to protect friendly countries. f- F i g h t i n g the war i n Vietnam i s important to show other nations that we keep our promises
V u60 (0
>>
.H
0c o 0
0) w·u
<
0)
a)
j-<
onCOo)
CO
·H
4-)
·a ca
M (JO
bC 0
·Hc
ca w
oJ-i
CO w
·H O
4-)
·ЈH
10 17 37 36 8 2
9 35 46 8 2 18 34 37 10 1
20 54 21 4 2 21 45 25 8 1
14 51 31 2 2 14 51 30 3 2
12 55 27 3 3 10 48 34 7 2
14 53 26 6 2 11 43 34 10 2
Cases per time: 1969 (Time 3) N = 1799 1970 (Time 4) N = 1620
15 Figure 2-2 DISTRIBUTION OF SCORES ON THE VIETNAM DISSENT INDEX
40% + 30% 420% 4 10% 4-
· Time 3 Spring 1969 Time 4 Spring 1970
1.00- 1.251.74 Support f o r Vietnam policy
3.24
3.25- 3.753.74 4.00 Disagreement with Vietnam policy
Vietnam Dissent Index Scores
16 The Vietnam Dissent Index was examined separately f o r those who dropped out of high school, those who ended t h e i r education w i t h high school graduation, and those who continued i n t o post-high school education. Figure 2-3 presents the 1969 and 1970 dissent scores f o r each of these groups. The r e s u l t s are consistent w i t h the widely-shared impression that college students are particularly diss a t i s f i e d w i t h the war; moreover, the findings indicate that disenchantment w i t h the war showed an appreciable increase during the f i r s t year of college. Dissent over Vietnam was v i r t u a l l y unchanged between 1969 and 1970 among those who graduated from high school but d i d not go on to college. Some increase i n dissent occurred among dropouts, but i t was much smaller than that f o r the college students (and dropouts account f o r a much smaller p r o p o r t i o n of our respondents). We conclude, then, that the o v e r a l l increase i n d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h U. S. p o l i c y i n Vietnam i s due l a r g e l y to changes i n a t t i t u d e s that occurred during the f i r s t year of college. In 1970, i n addition to repeating the Vietnam Dissent questions, we included another item which would allow us to compare ,the views of young men w i t h those of a d u l t s . The question shown at the top of Table 2-2 i s a d i r e c t copy of a Gallup P o l l item used i n December 1969 and March and May of 1970. The four options represent a range of suggested solutions to the Vietnam war. Plan A calls f o r immediate and t o t a l withdrawal; Plan B i s e s s e n t i a l l y the H a t f i e l d McGovern amendment which c a l l s f o r withdrawal w i t h i n eighteen months; Plan C might be called "extended
17 Figure 2-3 VIETNAM DISSENT RELATED TO EDUCATIONAL LEVEL
2.80 2.60 2.40 2.20
Post-high school education or training Dropouts High school graduates without post-high school education or training
2.00
+ Time 3 (Mean = 2.38) (Standard deviation = .50)
+ Time 4 (Mean = 2.51) (Standard deviation = .58)
18
TABLE 2-2 FOUR PLANS QUESTION
"Now I would l i k e t o ask you some questions about Vietnam. Here are four d i f f e r e n t plans the United States -could f o l l o w i n dealing w i t h the war i n Vietnam. Which one do you p r e f e r ? "
PLAN A: Withdraw a l l troops from Vietnam immediately.
PLAN B: Withdraw a l l troops by end of 18 months.
PLAN C:
Withdraw troops but take as many years t o do t h i s as are needed t o t u r n the war over t o the South Vietnamese.
PLAN D: Send more troops t o Vietnam and step up the f i g h t i n g .
PLAN
Adult men (Gallup Poll)
Youth i n Transition
Male Ohio high school students (Bryant, 1970, p. ;
December March May June-July
1969
1970 1970
1970
May 1970
A
16
17 21
25
17
B
17
23 26
34
29
C
45
42 32
27
36
D
14
10 14
12
18
Opinion
8
8
7
3
_
19 Vietnamization" o f the war; Plan D pushes f o r m i l i t a r y v i c t o r y . The Gallup P o l l percentages are shown alongside the Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n data. I t can be seen that although young men are more "dovish" than adults, p a r t i c u l a r l y adult men, the differences are s t i l l not great. This i s r e i n f o r c e d by the data f o r Plan D, which indicates that adults and young men do not d i f f e r s i g n i f i c a n t l y i n the percentage who p r e f e r a m i l i t a r y v i c t o r y i n Vietnam. The young men show a good deal of i n t e r e s t i n speedy w i t h d r a w a l -- P l a n B i s considered favorable by more young men than a d u l t s , and the opposite i s true of Plan C. The Gallup question was also asked of Ohio school students i n June o f 1970 (Bryant, 1970, p. 27). Among the 551 males i n the sample the responses were d i s t r i b u t e d as follows : 17 percent favored Plan A, 29 percent favored Plan B, 36 percent favored Plan C, and 18 percent favored Plan D. I n c i d e n t a l l y , the females i n the Ohio sample, l i k e those i n Gallup's nationwide samples of adults were noticeably more "dovish" than the males. How can we account f o r the d i f f e r e n c e s between our sample and the Ohio high school seniors? F i r s t there i s the obvious p o s s i b i l i t y that young people are a b i t more "hawkish" i n Ohio than i n the nation as a whole. But another important part of the explanation i s that the Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n sample i n 1970 was one year beyond high school, and nearly h a l f of these young men spent the year i n college where t h e i r a t t i t u d e s on the war underwent considerable change. A Purdue Opinion P o l l ( E r l i c k , 1970) conducted with a nationwide sample of high school students i n A p r i l 1970, asked t h e f o l l o w i n g question: "Do you t h i n k the U. S. i s
20 bringing the troops home from Vietnam too soon?" Among t w e l f t h graders (boys and g i r l s combined) the responses were: 6 percent " d e f i n i t e l y yes"; 10 percent "undecided, probably yes"; 18 percent "undecided, probably no"; 60 percent " d e f i n i t e l y no" (about 6 percent of the cases were missing data). Separate breakdowns between g i r l s and boys were not available f o r t w e l f t h graders; however, across grades ten through twelve combined there were male-female differences i n the same sort of d i r e c t i o n as noted i n the Ohio and Gallup data--more g i r l s than boys f e l t that the troops were d e f i n i t e l y not coming home too soon. The Purdue question i s not d i r e c t l y comparable t o the Gallup item used i n both the Ohio study and the l a s t Youth I n T r a n s i t i o n i n t e r v i e w ; nevertheless, i t does add t o the weight o f evidence that most young people are eager f o r disengagement from Vietnam. The above questionnaire items a l l required the respondent t o choose from a l i m i t e d set o f a l t e r n a t i v e s . What s o r t of solutions t o Vietnam are offered t o an openended i n t e r v i e w question? I t w i l l be remembered t h a t 61 percent o f our respondents l i s t e d Vietnam as one of the most important problems facing the nation i n our 1970 i n t e r v i e w questions on n a t i o n a l problems. We also asked each respondent to suggest solutions f o r problems he nominated as important. (These open-ended questions were presented e a r l y i n the i n t e r v i e w , f a r ahead of the more s p e c i f i c Vietnam questions discussed above.) Table 2-3 presents the solutions given by those who mentioned Vietnam as a n a t i o n a l problem. The highest percentage f a l l i n the category, "Get out now, immediately," followed by "Withdrawal as soon as possible w i t h i n s p e c i f i e d time l i m i t s
21
TABLE 2-3 SOLUTIONS SUGGESTED TO THE VIETNAM WAR BY THE 61 PERCENT WHO FELT IT I S A MAJOR NATIONAL PROBLEM
Solutions
Percentage*
Get out now, immediately
10
Withdraw as soon as possible, including
within specified time limits
9
Pro-Nixon, Vietnamization, gradual with-
drawal
7
Win the war or get out
7
Win, bomb, send more troops
8
Negotiations
3
Other specific suggestions
2
Vague answers, "end i t , " no solutions
11
Don't know, approximately
A
* F i r s t mentioned solutions across a l l mentions of Vietnam as a major n a t i o n a l problem.
such as eighteen months." The f o l l o w i n g categories received about equal numbers of responses: "Pro-Nixon plan, strengthening Vietnamese troops, gradual withdrawal"; "Win the war or get out"; and "Fight harder, send more troops, win." The "Win the war or get out" category i s not r e a l l y a suggested s o l u t i o n but rather appears t o be an expression of war-weariness. The code category, "Vague, 'end the war'
22 no s u g g e s t i o n on how t o do so," a l s o c a p t u r e s such a f e e l i n g . These responses convey more f e e l i n g s o f f r u s t r a t i o n and exhaustion w i t h t h e war than dominant moral p o s i t i o n s or p o l i t i c a l solutions. The i n t e r v i e w f i n d i n g s summarized above a r e c o n s i s t e n t with the data presented earlier i n this chapter; together they i n d i c a t e a great deal o f d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t and weariness w i t h t h e war. This d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n a p p l i e s t o a d u l t s as w e l l as young men, i n t h e view o f Converse and Schuman; t h e m a j o r i t y o f Americans f e e l t h a t "we have n o t won and have l i t t l e prospect of doing so" (1970, p. 24). This rather pragmatic assessment that the war has been a bad investment p r o b a b l y accounts f o r much o f t h e i n c r e a s e d d e s i r e f o r rapid disengagement. The urge toward disengagement was somewhat s t r o n g e r among young men i n 1970 t h a n among c r o s s - s e c t i o n s o f a d u l t males. And d i s s e n t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y s t r o n g among those on campuses. Nevertheless, t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s are more s t r i k i n g than t h e d i f f e r e n c e s . Most young men, l i k e t h e n a t i o n as a whole, are i n c r e a s i n g l y i m p a t i e n t w i t h the war and eager for withdrawal from Southeast Asia.
CHAPTER 3 NATIONAL UNITY U n l i k e some i s s u e s which a r e e a s i l y d i s c u s s e d and c a t e g o r i z e d , the problem o f n a t i o n a l u n i t y i s an " u m b r e l l a " problem encompassing many o t h e r i s s u e s i n c l u d i n g campus disturbances, the generation gap, m i n o r i t y group tension, p o v e r t y , and Vietnam. Ten p e r c e n t o f our sample s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned such t h i n g s as "the morale o f the n a t i o n , " "the lack of patriotism," "growing polarizations," "apathy," and " t h e l a c k of u n i t y " as major n a t i o n a l problems. These responses suggest a fear t h a t the n a t i o n i s d r i f t i n g , w i t h o u t a c l e a r sense o f shared goals and purposes. America, they seem t o say, i s f a i l i n g t o h o l d us t o g e t h e r , t o f u l f i l l i t s promise as the " m e l t i n g p o t " o f ideas and groups. Besides the ten percent s p e c i f i c a l l y concerned about n a t i o n a l u n i t y , a number o f o t h e r respondents mentioned r e l a t e d problems. Four percent considered the government's q u a l i t y , i t s lack of responsiveness t o the average c i t i z e n , and t h e need f o r a more democratic government as major n a t i o n a l problems. Three percent mentioned "our n a t i o n a l l e a d e r s h i p " as a problem. I n a l l , 21 p e r c e n t o f our respondents mentioned problems dealing w i t h the nation, government, p o l i t i c s , and n a t i o n a l l e a d e r s h i p . C l e a r l y the d i r e c t i o n of t h i s country i s of considerable concern t o young men, as i t i s to many a d u l t s . 23
24 As w i t h t h e o t h e r problems our respondents were concerned a b o u t , we asked f o r t h e i r s o l u t i o n s . A l i t t l e less than h a l f of those mentioning problems of national u n i t y and government s a i d they d i d n o t know what might solve these problems. The l a r g e s t number o f s o l u t i o n s o f f e r e d were vague statements about " g e t t i n g together," and " a l l s i d e s have t o l i s t e n t o one a n o t h e r . " A sampling of suggested s o l u t i o n s I n d i c a t e s t h e i r wide range and diversity: Get r i d of a l l the c o r r u p t and crooked p o l i t i c i a n s and p u t b e t t e r , younger ones i n . Don't keep pushing your ideas on everybody. The i n d i v i d u a l c i t i z e n must be made t o f e e l a p a r t of where he works and of t h i s country and I t s government. The government should l i s t e n more t o the wants o f the people. Education, creating awareness. L i s t e n t o dissenters. Stop those that break the law. I don't know. I t has t o do w i t h d e a l i n g w i t h the forces which caused p o l a r i z a t i o n i n the f i r s t place--Vietnam, selective service, racism. Stop the war. We must become more i n v o l v e d ; we must a t t e m p t t o f i n d o u t who we are e l e c t i n g and n o t be so impressed by looks. Lower the v o t i n g age. Set a l i m i t on campaign s p e n d i n g , make v o t i n g by congressmen mandatory. Eliminate the electoral college system. Select delegates u n i f o r m l y and d e m o c r a t i c a l l y . Make t h e p r e s e n t p a r t y system more g r a s s - r o o t s ; c u t back on p o l i t i c a l machinery. What o t h e r evidence do we have r e g a r d i n g t h i s concern o f young men about government, p o l i t i c a l d i v i s i o n s , and
25 p o l i t i c a l l e a d e r s h i p ? At a l l f o u r d a t a c o l l e c t i o n s we asked a series o f questionnaire items about p o l i t i c a l a t t i t u d e s . The f i r s t o f these questions asked about i n t e r e s t i n government and c u r r e n t events. At Time 1 -- 10th grade f o r o u r r e s p o n d e n t s -- o n l y about 40 p e r c e n t o f the sample took a "very g r e a t " o r "a l o t o f i n t e r e s t " i n government and c u r r e n t e v e n t s . By Time 4 -- o n e year o u t o f high school f o r most respondents--56 percent d i d so. Correspondingly, t h e number expressing l i t t l e o r no i n t e r e s t i n current a f f a i r s decreased with time. Table 3-1 presents questions d e a l i n g d i r e c t l y w i t h p o l i t i c a l a t t i t u d e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y t r u s t i n government. A l l s i x i t e m s show i n c r e a s i n g c y n i c i s m from 1966 t o 1970. Note t h a t t h e number o f those who f e e l t h e government "pays v e r y much a t t e n t i o n t o what people t h i n k " decreases by almost a t h i r d from 10th grade, 1966, t o one year o u t o f h i g h s c h o o l , 1970. D u r i n g t h e same p e r i o d t w i c e as many come t o f e e l t h a t t h e government pays l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n t o what people t h i n k . By t h e t i m e most o f these young men a r e one year o u t o f h i g h s c h o o l , over 30 p e r c e n t f e e l t h a t most o r q u i t e a few people running the government are crooked or d i s h o n e s t ; and t h e number who f e e l t h a t h a r d l y any a r e crooked or dishonest has dropped by h a l f . This p a t t e r n i s consistent throughout these items. I t i s interesting that the most n o t i c e a b l e s h i f t s occur from 1969 t o 1970. Perhaps the experiences o f c o l l e g e , work, and the m i l i t a r y have created a c y n i c i s m , o r r e a l i s m , which has r e j e c t e d a more t r u s t i n g view o f p o l i t i c s and government. Our f i n d i n g s o f d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h government are corroborated by findings from other studies. Thirty-nine
26
TABLE 3-1
POLITICAL ATTITUDES
Percentages 1966 1968 1969 1970
"Over t h e y e a r s , how much a t t e n t i o n do you f e e l t h e government pays t o what t h e people t h i n k when d e c i d i n g what to do?"
I t pays v e r y much a t t e n t i o n t o what people think. I t pays a l o t of a t t e n t i o n . . . . I t pays some a t t e n t i o n I t pays a l i t t l e attention.... I t pays no a t t e n t i o n t o what people think. Missing data
16
12
10
6
36
35
37
26
35
Al
39
45
10
11
13
20
1
1
2
1
1
2
-
1
"Do you t h i n k some o f t h e p e o p l e running the government are crooked or dishonest?" Most o f them are crooked or dishonest. Quite a few are. Some a r e . Hardly any are. None a t a l l a r e crooked o r dishonest. Missing data
5
3
5
6
18
18
22
26
48
53
55
56
25
23
16
11
4
2
1
1
2
1
1
1
"Would you say t h e government i s p r e t t y much r u n f o r a few b i g i n t e r e s t s looking out f o r themselves, or i s i t run for the benefit of a l l the people?" Nearly always run f o r a few big interests. Usually run f o r a few b i g interests. Run some f o r t h e b i g i n t e r e s t s , some f o r t h e people. Usually run f o r the benefit of a l l the people. Nearly always f o r the benefit of a l l the people. Missing data
9
6
5
7
20
15
16
22
27
34
38
43
29
33
32
23
13
11
8
5
2
1
1
1
27
TABLE 3-1 (continued) POLITICAL ATTITUDES
Percentages 1966 1968 1969 1970
*"Do y o u t h i n k t h e government wastes much o f t h e money we pay i n t a x e s ? "
N e a r l y a l l t a x money i s wasted. 5
4
4
5
A l o t o f t a x money i s wasted.
25
34
42
51
Some t a x money i s wasted.
40
43
39
35
A l i t t l e t a x money i s wasted.
23
17
13
7
No t a x money i s wasted.
5
3
2
1
Missing data
2
1
1
1
*"How much o f t h e time do you t h i n k you can t r u s t t h e government i n Washington t o do what i s r i g h t ? "
Almost always. Often. Sometimes. Seldom. Never. Missing data
28
19
18
11
44
47
48
42
23
29
28
37
3
4
5
7
1
-
1
1
2
1
-
1
*"Do y o u f e e l t h a t t h e people running the government are smart people who u s u a l l y know what they are doing?"
They almost always know what they are doing. They u s u a l l y know what they are doing. They sometimes know what they are doing. They seldom know what they are doing. They never know what they are doing. Missing data
30
22
22
13
48
56
57
53
17
19
17
28
3
3
3
4
1
1
1
1
2
1
-
1
*These t h r e e items compose t h e i n d e x , " T r u s t i n Government."
28 percent of Ohio high school students agree that the government does a ,rbad j o b " o f r e p r e s e n t i n g the views and d e s i r e s of the people. Even more s t r i k i n g are the responses t o t h i s s t a t e m e n t , "The f o r m o f government I n t h i s c o u n t r y needs no major changes." F o r t y - e i g h t p e r c e n t d i s a g r e e d , whereas o n l y 31 p e r c e n t agreed ( B r y a n t , 1970). The H a r r i s p o l l i n Life (1971) found s i m i l a r r e s u l t s t o t h e q u e s t i o n , "How much c o n f i d e n c e do you have i n t h e government t o s o l v e the problems of the 70's?" Twenty-two percent said " h a r d l y any"; 54 p e r c e n t s a i d "some b u t n o t a l o t " ; and o n l y 20 p e r c e n t s a i d "a g r e a t d e a l . " S i m i l a r r e s u l t s were found i n the Purdue study of high school students. Fortyeight percent of the sample of twelfth-graders f e l t that "There are serious flaws i n our society today, but the system i s f l e x i b l e enough to solve them"; the remainder were divided equally between complete endorsement of the present American way o f l i f e , c a l l s f o r r a d i c a l change, and undecided ( E r l i c k , 1970). What i n t e r p r e t a t i o n can we g i v e t o t h i s growing d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h government among young people? I s i t , as one common e x p l a n a t i o n has i t , t h a t t h e r e i s a "generat i o n gap" between youth and t h e i r e l d e r s these days, w i t h young p e o p l e moving away f r o m v a l u e s and a t t i t u d e s o f a d u l t s ? Or do young people s i m p l y s t a r t out o v e r l y I d e a l i s t i c and g r a d u a l l y become more r e a l i s t i c o r more cynical during the high school years? S t i l l another e x p l a n a t i o n o f t h i s phenomenon 1 b t h a t t h e whole c o u n t r y , young p e o p l e and a d u l t s a l i k e , has become i n c r e a s i n g l y d i s s a t i s f i e d during the l a s t few years. In order to distinguish between these several e x p l a n a t i o n s , we need t o know how a d u l t s f e e l about
29 government now, and how they f e l t about I t a few years ago. Fortunately, data of this sort are available from voter studies conducted by the P o l i t i c a l Behavior Program i n the I n s t i t u t e f o r S o c i a l Research; Indeed, many o f t h e I n t e r view and questionnaire Items already discussed I n t h i s c h a p t e r were o r i g i n a l l y developed i n t h a t program. One such question deals with waste I n government; a comparison of y o u t h and a d u l t a t t i t u d e s i s presented i n Figure 3-1. Two t h i n g s a r e i m p o r t a n t t o n o t e from t h e f i g u r e . F i r s t , s u b s t a n t i a l l y more a d u l t s I n 1970 than I n 1964 f e e l t h a t government wastes a l o t o f t a x money; t h e i n c r e a s e o f 22 p e r c e n t i s s i m i l a r t o t h e 29 p e r c e n t i n c r e a s e I n such responses among young men. Second, t h e a d u l t s s t a r t o u t and end up more dissatisfied a l o n g t h i s dimension than t h e young men i n o u r sample. We must, o f course, be c a u t i o u s about such conclusions, since there are important d i f f e r ences i n methodology ( f o r example, the v o t e r s t u d i e s asked the questions about government as p a r t o f an i n t e r v i e w , whereas the Youth i n Transition study presented these q u e s t i o n s as p a r t o f the paper-and-pencil q u e s t i o n n a i r e ) . N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h e data i n F i g u r e 3-1 add a good d e a l t o our a b i l i t y to place youth attitudes i n a larger context. The i n c r e a s e d p e r c e p t i o n o f government waste I s not an i s o l a t e d case o f growing d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n among a d u l t s . A number o f o t h e r items i n t h e v o t e r s t u d i e s show s i m i l a r t r e n d s . When asked how o f t e n they c o u l d t r u s t t h e government t o do what i s r i g h t , t h e p r o p o r t i o n o f v o t e r s who s a i d " j u s t about always" or "most o f t h e t i m e " dropped f r o m 77 p e r c e n t i n 1964 t o 54 percent i n 1970; t h e p r o p o r t i o n o f Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n respondents who answered t h e same q u e s t i o n "almost always" o r " u s u a l l y " dropped f r o m 78 p e r c e n t
30
F i g u r e 3-1 WASTE IN GOVERNMENT: PERCEPTIONS OF ADULTS AND YOUTH
tc m
3 J J cO
B Eh
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1964 Cross-section of v o t e r s ^ < - -- 47%-"-"
30%
1970 Cross-section of v o t e r s 69% '59% 46% 38% x Youth i n Transition Longitudinal Study
31 i n 1966 t o 66 percent i n 1970. A s i m i l a r q u e s t i o n asked, "Do you f e e l t h a t almost a l l o f t h e people r u n n i n g t h e government a r e smart people who u s u a l l y know what t h e y are d o i n g , o r do you t h i n k t h a t q u i t e a few o f them d o n ' t seem to know what they are doing?" The a d u l t s answering "don't know what they a r e d o i n g " i n c r e a s e d from 27 p e r c e n t i n 1964 t o 44 p e r c e n t i n 1970; t h e young men answering "seldom..." or "never know what they are d o i n g " increased from 20 percent i n 1966 t o 32 percent i n 1970. I n sum, we f i n d t h a t growing d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n i s n o t t h e e x c l u s i v e domain of young people; adults are experiencing a s i m i l a r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n . The whole c o u n t r y , y o u t h and a d u l t s a l i k e i t seems, has become more i m p a t i e n t and d i s i l l u s i o n e d w i t h i t s government during recent years. Given t h i s growing concern and d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h government, i s there evidence t o support the widespread notion that young people are "dropping out" of s o c i e t y -- t h a t t h e y want no p a r t o f t h e whole p o l i t i c a l process? One way o f g e t t i n g some p e r s p e c t i v e on t h i s i s s u e i s t o l o o k a t how young p e o p l e r e c e n t l y f e l t about t h e q u e s t i o n o f t h e eighteen-year-old vote. I n 1965, another nationwide study a t t h e I n s t i t u t e f o r S o c i a l Research showed o n l y about h a l f of t h e male high school seniors supported the franchise f o r e i g h t e e n - y e a r o l d s , and somewhat l e s s than h a l f o f t h e females d i d (Beck and Jennings, 1969). I n 1969, t h e s e n i o r year f o r most, we asked t h e young men i n t h e Youth i n Transition study the identically-worded question about w h e t h e r e i g h t e e n - y e a r o l d s s h o u l d be allowed t o v o t e ; 80 p e r c e n t s a i d y e s . (When t h e q u e s t i o n was r e p e a t e d i n t h e 1970 data c o l l e c t i o n , the p r o p o r t i o n i n f a v o r remained
32 about 80 p e r c e n t . ) I t I s w o r t h n o t i n g t h a t those who most vigorously objected to United States policy i n Vietnam i n 1969 were overwhelmingly (about 95 p e r c e n t ) i n f a v o r o f t h e eighteen-year old vote. This overall increase i n support f o r a lowered v o t i n g age I s dramatic evidence t h a t young people, f a r from dropping out of the p o l i t i c a l process, are eager f o r a larger r o l e i n i t . Now t h a t t h e f r a n c h i s e i n n a t i o n a l e l e c t i o n s has been extended t o e i g h t e e n - y e a r o l d s , how w i l l they vote? Table 3-2, Part A presents the p o l i t i c a l preferences o f our respondents i n 1970. ( P a r a l l e l data were obtained i n the three e a r l i e r data c o l l e c t i o n s , b u t no important d i f f e r e n c e s appeared; apparently, the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h government discussed above d i d n o t l e a d t o any massive s h i f t i n p a r t y preference.) Twenty-one percent of the boys i n our study c o n s i d e r e d themselves Republicans w h i l e 32 p e r c e n t p r e f e r r e d the Democrat p a r t y . The r e s t o f t h e sample i s d i s t r i b u t e d in miscellaneous categories, particularly the alternative "Haven't t h o u g h t about i t . " The r e s u l t s from t h e Life (1971) p o l l and t h e Purdue study ( E r l i c k , 1970), shown i n P a r t s B and C o f Table 3-2, show e s s e n t i a l l y t h e same p a t t e r n -- m o r e Democrats than Republicans, b u t s t i l l more who are undecided. We s a i d a t t h e s t a r t o f t h i s c h a p t e r t h a t t h e problem of n a t i o n a l u n i t y i s a broad and somewhat amorphous one. I n s p i t e o f the d i f f i c u l t y i n d e f i n i n g and d e l i n e a t i n g i t , we a r e l e d t o conclude f r o m t h e d a t a p r e s e n t e d here t h a t u n i t y i s a major concern o f young people. That y o u t h have become increasingly d i s s a t i s f i e d with government i n recent years comes as no s u r p r i s e t o those who have observed d e m o n s t r a t i o n s
33 TABLE 3-2 POLITICAL PREFERENCES OF YOUTH IN NATIONWIDE POLLS
PART A: Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n -- N i n e t e e n - y e a r - o l d males i n 1970
How would you d e s c r i b e your p o l i t i c a l p r e f e r e n c e ?
Strongly Republican Mildly Republican M i l d l y Democrat Strongly Democrat N e u t r a l , v o t e s f o r b e s t man, i n d e - pendent, etc. (write-in) Other Haven't thought about i t Missing data
5 16 21 11 ) 14 6 20 7
PART B: Purdue Opinion Panel -- High s c h o o l s e n i o r s i n 1970 (adapted from E r l i c k , 1970)
Suppose t h a t the P r e s i d e n t i a l e l e c t i o n were held today. Which p a r t y do you t h i n k could do a b e t t e r j o b o f handling the problems facing this country?
The Republican P a r t y The Democratic P a r t y The American Independent P a r t y No d i f f e r e n c e between p a r t i e s Undecided Missing data
14% 26 7 18 30 5
PART C: H a r r i s Survey f o r Life -- Youth aged 15 t h r o u g h 21 i n l a t e 1970
How do you i n t e n d t o v o t e i n t h e n e x t e l e c t i o n you a r e e l i g i b l e t ovote in?
Republican Democratic Wallace Other or not sure Will refuse tovote
18% 35 4 40 3
34 on and o f f campuses d u r i n g t h e l a t e 1960's. But we a r e n o t led to conclude that t h i s i s evidence of a generation gap, for adults are also increasingly dissatisfied with government. Perhaps the g r e a t e r d i f f e r e n c e s between youth and adults l i e i n t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s (and o p p o r t u n i t i e s ) t o engage i n a c t i v i s t demonstrations o f t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n s , thus p r o v i d i n g t h e i l l u s i o n o f a l a r g e r gap between t h e generations than i n fact exists. I t i s hard t o know how much o f t h e disenchantment d u r i n g the l a t e 1960's can be traced d i r e c t l y t o United States involvement i n Vietnam. Other events, such as the assassination of three great l e a d e r s -- J o h n Kennedy, M a r t i n Luther K i n g , and Robert Kennedy--have s u r e l y l e f t t h e i r mark. These recent experiences have been e s p e c i a l l y traumatic f o r young people, f o r they i d e n t i f i e d closely w i t h t h e f a l l e n l e a d e r s and y o u t h a r e t h e ones who f a c e the p r o s p e c t o f p e r s o n a l involvement i n a mean and f r u s t r a t i n g war. What i s perhaps most s t r i k i n g i s t h e f a c t t h a t they a r e n o t more c y n i c a l and a l i e n a t e d . When t h e i r views are compared w i t h those o f a d u l t s , today's young people are n o t ready t o give up on t h e i r country. They share w i t h t h e i r e l d e r s an I n c r e a s i n g Impatience w i t h government, but they have n o t dropped o u t . They want t o have a p a r t In-shaping the nation's f u t u r e -- i n d e e d , they may f e e l an i n c r e a s i n g l y desperate need t o do so.
CHAPTER 4 RACIAL TENSIONS R a c i a l t e n s i o n s were mentioned second most o f t e n among major n a t i o n a l problems by the young men we q u e s t i o n e d . I n a l a t e r q u e s t i o n a s k i n g how i m p o r t a n t t h i s problem i s , 62 percent answered "extremely" or "very" important. Neverthel e s s , r a c e r e l a t i o n s was one o f the c a t e g o r i e s r e c e i v i n g the lowest percentage of s o l u t i o n s advocating more government activity. What s o r t o f s o l u t i o n s t o t h i s problem do young men give? Table 4-1 presents the most o f t e n mentioned responses t o t h e q u e s t i o n , "Do you have any ideas as t o what should be done about t h i s p r o b l e m -- b y government, schools, or anyone e l s e ? " Nineteen percent could not t h i n k o f a s o l u t i o n or had no o p i n i o n . T h i r t y - t w o percent mentioned s o l u t i o n s dependent on i n d i v i d u a l g o o d w i l l : "People need t o understand each other b e t t e r . " "People should t r e a t each other f a i r l y , " or a l t e r n a t i v e l y , "should not be p r e j u d i c e d . " "People should get together and work t h i n g s o u t . " This corroborates our e a r l i e r observation that race relations i s a problem few o f our respondents f e e l r e q u i r e s more government a c t i v i t y . E v i d e n t l y many young men f e e l t h a t race r e l a t i o n s i s a problem which can n o t r e a l l y be solved by l e g i s l a t i o n , but only by personal g o o d w i l l . Twelve percent mentioned t h a t "People should be taught t o be f a i r , to get 35
36 TABLE 4-1 SOLUTIONS TO RACE RELATIONS Solutions I n d i v i d u a l g o o d w i l l and understanding People should be taught t o not be p r e j u d i c e d Schools should teach better race relations Government should enforce equal r i g h t , i n t e - gration Seek r a c i a l balance i n t h e schools Reduce or e l i m i n a t e bussing Leave the problem alone, i t w i l l get b e t t e r i f ignored Response I n d i c a t i n g n e g a t i v e a t t i t u d e toward Integration and/or r a c i a l m i n o r i t i e s Don't know, can't t h i n k of a s o l u t i o n
Percentage 32 12 5 4 4 1 2 5 19
along b e t t e r , to not discriminate," or "Education about other races i s needed." Five percent mentioned the schools s p e c i f i c a l l y as the agent t o teach b e t t e r race r e l a t i o n s . Six percent of the sample gave s o l u t i o n s which r e f l e c t e d negative a t t i t u d e s toward i n t e g r a t i o n and/or r a c i a l m i n o r i t i e s . These responses i n c l u d e d , "Stop w o r r y i n g about ' r i g h t s ' , " "Stop r i o t s , b u r n i n g , l o o t i n g , e t c . , " and expressions of a separatist a t t i t u d e , "Different races shouldn't live together." These f i n d i n g s are c o r r o b o r a t e d by a number o f o t h e r s t u d i e s . Among Ohio h i g h s c h o o l s t u d e n t s i n t e r v i e w e d i n June 1970, 90 percent agreed t h a t r a c i s m i s a problem i n
37 t h i s country. However, t h e i r proposed s o l u t i o n s were vague stat e m e n t s about " t r e a t i n g a l l men as e q u a l s . " When asked s p e c i f i c a l l y , o n l y 29 p e r c e n t f a v o r e d b u s s i n g as a s o l u t i o n to racism (Bryant, 1970). A recent Harris p o l l of young p e o p l e , ages 15 t o 2 1 , found 66 p e r c e n t opposed t o b u s s i n g . Yet 58 p e r c e n t o f these same respondents f a v o r e d laws r e q u i r i n g t h e h i r i n g o f m i n o r i t i e s (Life, 1971). We s p e c i f i c a l l y probed f o r r a c i a l a t t i t u d e s i n a q u e s t i o n n a i r e segment used i n t h e 1969 and 1970 data c o l l e c t i o n s . The r e s u l t s are presented i n Table 4-2. There are r e l a t i v e l y few marked changes i n t h e responses t o t h e s e i t e m s f r o m s p r i n g 1969 t o e a r l y summer 1970. The m a j o r i t y of our respondents agree that the government's r o l e i s t o enforce e q u a l i t y , that they would not mind close c o n t a c t w i t h those o f o t h e r races, and t h a t Negroes do miss out on housing, s c h o o l i n g , and jobs because o f d i s c r i m i n a t i o n . The Purdue study o f h i g h s c h o o l s t u d e n t s found 73 percent o f t h e i r t w e l f t h grade respondents (boys and g i r l s combined) having no strong objections t o working closely i n school with a student of another race ( E r l i c k , 1970). T h i s corresponds c l o s e l y t o t h e 75 p e r c e n t o f our sample who s a i d t h e y "wouldn't mind a t a l l " h a v i n g a s u p e r v i s o r of a different race. The q u e s t i o n s i n Table 4-2 have been condensed i n t o three indexes, as i n d i c a t e d i n the t a b l e . For example: responses to the f i r s t three items, dealing with the government's role i n race r e l a t i o n s , were appropriately combined t o produce the index, Race: Strong Government Role. A high score on the index, Perceived Discrimination, I n d i c a t e s t h e respondent f e e l s t h a t Negroes miss o u t on
38
TABLE 4-2 RACIAL ATTITUDES
"Now we'd l i k e t o l e a r n your o p i n i o n s about t h e way people of d i f f e r e n t races g e t along i n America, and how you would l i k e t h i n g s t o be. T r y t o check t h e answers t h a t t e l l how you r e a l l y f e e l ; i f there i s any question t h a t you don't want t o answer, j u s t leave i t blank."
Do you agree o r d i s a g r e e w i t h t h e f o l l o w i n g statements?
STRONG GOVERNMENT ROLE
*"The government i n Washington should see t o i t t h a t White and Negro c h i l d r e n a r e a l l o w e d t o go t o t h e same s c h o o l s i f they want t o . "
60 63 Agree.
27 28 Agree m o s t l y .
7 6 Disagree mostly.
4
3 Disagree.
1
1 Missing data
*"The government i n Washington s h o u l d see t o i t t h a t people are t r e a t e d f a i r l y and e q u a l l y i n j o b s , no matter what t h e i r race may be."
62 70 Agree.
29 24 Agree m o s t l y .
5
3 Disagree mostly
2
1 Disagree.
1
1 Missing data
" I t i s not the government's business t o pass laws about equal treatment f o ra l l races."
16 13 Agree.
18 15 Agree m o s t l y .
26 26 Disagree m o s t l y .
40 44 D i s a g r e e .
2
2 Missing data
SOCIAL DISTANCE
*"Suppose y o u had a j o b where your s u p e r v i s o r was a q u a l i f i e d person o f a d i f f e r e n t race (White, Negro). Would you mind that a l o t , a l i t t l e , ornot at all?"
6
5 I ' d mind i t a l o t .
25 20 I ' d mind i t a l i t t l e .
68 75 I wouldn't mind i t a t a l l .
1
1 Missing data
39 TABLE 4-2 [continued)
SOCIAL DISTANCE ( c o n t i n u e d )
* " I f a f a m i l y o f a d i f f e r e n t r a c e ( b u t same l e v e l o f educat i o n and income) moved next door t o you, how would you f e e l about i t ? 1 1
9
7 I'd mind i t a l o t .
28 23 I ' d mind i t a l i t t l e .
62 69 I w o u l d n ' t mind i t a t a l l .
1
1 Missing data
* " I f you have small children l a t e r on, would you rather they had o n l y White f r i e n d s , only Negro f r i e n d s , or both?"
16 13 I ' d l i k e them t o have o n l y White f r i e n d s .
4
3 I ' d l i k e them t o have only Negro f r i e n d s .
79 82 I ' d l i k e them t o have both White and Negro
friends.
1
1 Missing data
PERCEIVED DISCRIMINATION
*"Do y o u t h i n k t h a t v e r y many Negroes miss o u t on j o b s and promotions because of r a c i a l discrimination?"
39 39 Many.
41 42 Some.
16 13 Only a few.
3
5 None a t a l l .
1
1 Missing data
*"Do y o u t h i n k t h a t many Negroes miss o u t on good h o u s i n g because White owners w i l l n o t r e n t o r s e l l t o them?"
40 40 Many.
41 43 Some.
14 13 Only a few.
3 2 None a t a l l .
1
1 Missing data
*"Do y o u t h i n k t h a t many Negroes miss o u t on good s c h o o l i n g because of r a c i a l discrimination?"
26 31 Many.
43 41 Some.
20 20 Only a few.
10
8 None a t a l l .
1 1 Missing data
* I t e m was r e v e r s e d i n c o n s t r u c t i o n o f i n d e x . **Numbers i n the l e f t h a n d column ( i t a l i c s ) i n d i c a t e percentage f r e q u e n c i e s i n s p r i n g 1969 (Time 3 ) ; numbers i n t h e r i g h t hand column i n d i c a t e percentage f r e q u e n c i e s i n s p r i n g 1970 (Time 4 ) .
40 good housing, j o b s , and s c h o o l i n g because o f d i s c r i m i n a t i o n . Avoidance of close contact w i t h other races I s reflected i n a h i g h score on the index, S o c i a l Distance. The q u e s t i o n s I n Table 4-2 were adapted f r o m o t h e r studies conducted I n the Survey Research Center. I n p a r t i c u l a r , t h e Items were i n c l u d e d because we were interested i n exploring the following relationship r e p o r t e d by Campbell and Schuman (1968, p . 3 5 ) : Among [ w h i t e ] p e o p l e over 40 years o f age, those w i t h h i g h e r l e v e l s o f e d u c a t i o n are no more o r l e s s l i k e l y t o support an open housing law or t o express lack of concern a t having a Negro family next door than people o f lower e d u c a t i o n a l a t t a i n m e n t . The p i c t u r e I s q u i t e d i f f e r e n t among people age 20 t h r o u g h 39. Here we see t h a t t h e a t t i t u d e s expressed by young people whose f o r m a l education has n o t gone beyond h i g h s c h o o l do n o t d i f f e r from o l d e r people o f s i m i l a r e d u c a t i o n a l l e v e l . But those who have gone on t o college d i f f e r substantially both from less educated people o f t h e i r own g e n e r a t i o n and from c o l l e g e educated people o f the o l d e r generation. More o f them b e l i e v e t h a t there should be a law guaranteeing open housing and more o f them say they are not a t a l l disturbed a t the prospect o f a Negro neighbor. Two a l t e r n a t i v e e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p summarized above can be d i s t i n g u i s h e d . One e x p l a n a t i o n i s t h a t c o l l e g e i s somehow p r o d u c i n g t h e change i n r a c i a l a t t i t u d e s . Campbell and Schuman p r e s e n t t h a t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i n the f o l l o w i n g terms (1968, p. 35): Since World War I X those w h i t e s t u d e n t s who have gone on t o c o l l e g e have e v i d e n t l y been exposed t o i n f l u e n c e s w h i c h have moved t h e i r a t t i t u d e s away f r o m the t r a d i t i o n a l p a t t e r n i n t h e d i r e c t i o n s we have observed. We cannot say whether t h i s r e s u l t e d f r o m specific instruction regarding questions of race or from a general atmosphere o f opinion i n the college community but i t I s clear that a sizeable p r o p o r t i o n
41 of these postWar generation college students were affected. I n contrast, the high schools which our respondents attended d u r i n g the postwar y e a r s seem to have been l i t t l e more involved i n the nation's r a c i a l problems than they were i n the prewar period. The a l t e r n a t i v e e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the more l i b e r a l r a c i a l a t t i t u d e s among t h e c o l l e g e educated can be s t a t e d t h i s way: t h o s e i n d i v i d u a l s who are l e s s d i s c r i m i n a t o r y and more s u p p o r t i v e of c i v i l r i g h t s are also more l i k e l y t o go t o c o l l e g e . To s t a t e t h e same e x p l a n a t i o n as a testable proposition: college-bound individuals w i l l show d i f f e r e n t r a c i a l a t t i t u d e s b e f o r e they a c t u a l l y enter college. The c r o s s - s e c t i o n a l survey design used by Campbell and Schuman d i d n o t p e r m i t any comparison o f these a l t e r n a t i v e explanations, but the longitudinal design of the Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n study does. I t requires a comparison of the 1969 d a t a c o l l e c t e d j u s t p r i o r t o h i g h school g r a d u a t i o n ( f o r m o s t ) , and the 1970 data c o l l e c t e d a f t e r the f i r s t y e a r o f c o l l e g e . We found i t u s e f u l t o compare t h r e e levels of educational attainment: high school dropouts, those who graduated from h i g h school but d i d not continue t h e i r e d u c a t i o n , and those who spent the year 1969-70 In post-high school education (college or university i n n e a r l y a l l cases). I t seemed a p p r o p r i a t e t o f o l l o w the p r a c t i c e of Campbell and Schuman and l i m i t these analyses to w h i t e respondents. The r e s u l t s f o r the t h r e e indexes are summarized i n F i g u r e 4-1. They i n d i c a t e t h a t r a c i a l a t t i t u d e s among
42 high school students may be changing b e f o r e g r a d u a t i o n and that college-bound students already have d i f f e r e n t r a c i a l a t t i t u d e s . Support f o r government action to insure equal r i g h t s showed a s l i g h t i n c r e a s e between 1969 and 1970 f o r a l l t h r e e e d u c a t i o n a l subgroups ( P a r t a ) . The r e s u l t s also show t h a t c o l l e g e students were most s u p p o r t i v e o f government a c t i o n both before and a f t e r they entered c o l l e g e , and dropouts were l e a s t s u p p o r t i v e . The d i f f e r ences among e d u c a t i o n a l subgroups i n p e r c e p t i o n s o f d i s c r i m i n a t i o n are shown i n P a r t B. College-bound s t u d e n t s perceived more d i s c r i m i n a t i o n than o t h e r s at the time they graduated (1969), and t h e i r perceptions of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n increased during their f i r s t year of college. High school graduates who d i d n o t go on t o c o l l e g e s t a r t e d out ( i n 1969) p e r c e i v i n g a b i t less d i s c r i m i n a t i o n than those bound f o r c o l l e g e , and a year l a t e r t h e i r perceptions of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n had dropped v e r y s l i g h t l y . The dropouts had t h e lowest p e r c e p t i o n s of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n i n 1969, and they p e r c e i v e d s t i l l l e s s a year l a t e r . The r e s u l t s a l s o show t h a t c o l l e g e students were moat w i l l i n g t o have personal contacts w i t h b l a c k s , and dropouts were l e a s t w i l l i n g (Part C ) -- a p a t t e r n s i m i l a r to t h a t shown f o r government r o l e . O v e r a l l , the w i l l i n g n e s s to have personal contacts w i t h b l a c k s i n c r e a s e d from 1969 t o 1970: however, t h e change on the p a r t o f non-college h i g h s c h o o l graduates was very slight. F i g u r e 4-2 compares one o f t h e f i n d i n g s r e p o r t e d by Campbell and Schuman (1968) w i t h d a t a f r o m the Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n s t u d y . The r e s u l t s suggest t h a t a t t i t u d e s about a Negro f a m i l y moving next door are not very d i f f e r e n t between our sample o f c o l l e g e students and the college-educated
43
StrongJ. role
PART
F i g u r e 4-1 RACE ATTITUDES Post-high school education High school graduates
Dropouts
Weald
role
8 ft
STRONG GOVERNMENT ROLE
(Approximate standard d e v i a t i o n , both times = .64)
WHITES ONLY Spring, 1969 (Time 3)Senior year of high school Summer, 1970 (Time 4)one year l a t e r
3.1 3.0+ 2.9
PART B
Post-high school education
Close 1.2,. 1.3 ·
High school graduates
1.4 1.5'
PART C Post-high school 'education High school graduates Dropouts
Dropouts fi --ts PERCEIVED DISCRIMINATION AGAINST NEGROES (Approximate standard d e v i a t i o n , both times = .72)
1.6 Distant
"1*3
T*4
'
SOCIAL DISTANCE
(Approximate standard d e v i a t i o n , both times = .55)
44 respondents under age 40 i n t h e Campbell and Schuman s t u d y . Such I n t e r p r e t a t i o n s must be made w i t h c a u t i o n , s i n c e t h e two s t u d i e s d i f f e r i n sample and method. (The Campbell and Schuman s t u d y used i n t e r v i e w s and a sample c o n c e n t r a t e d i n 15 major American c i t i e s I n 1968; t h e Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n sample i s a n a t i o n a l c r o s s - s e c t i o n , and the r a c i a l a t t i t u d e items were part of the paper-and-pencil questionnaires i n 1969 and 1970.) N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h e r e i s s u f f i c i e n t s i m i l a r i t y i n findings f o r the college-educated groups i n the two s t u d i e s t o w a r r a n t some f u r t h e r o b s e r v a t i o n s . The dropouts i n our study gave responses roughly comparable to t h e h i g h school-educated group i n t h e Campbell and Schuman study. The h i g h s c h o o l graduates, on the o t h e r hand, were perhaps c l o s e r t o t h e Campbell and Schuman c o l l e g e - e d u c a t e d group. The f i n d i n g s are more p r o v o c a t i v e than c o n c l u s i v e , but they suggest the p o s s i b i l i t y that r a c i a l attitudes are f i n a l l y b e g i n n i n g t o change i n t h e h i g h schools as w e l l as in colleges. I t i s also possible that racial attitudes i n high s c h o o l change more among those who a r e c o l l e g e - b o u n d , f o r by the t i m e they were approaching g r a d u a t i o n some modest differences i n r a c i a l attitudes existed between those i n our sample who would and would n o t go on t o c o l l e g e . F i n d i n g s f r o m two o t h e r s t u d i e s s u p p o r t t h i s e x p l a n a t i o n . The Ohio study of high school students found t h a t , "College p r e p a r a t o r y s t u d e n t s are 10 p e r c e n t h i g h e r on a l l acceptance questions about those o f v a r i o u s races and r e l i g i o n s than are those enrolled i n other c u r r i c u l a " (Bryant, 1970, p. 7). The Purdue study found those s t u d e n t s p l a n n i n g on e n t e r i n g c o l l e g e more aware o f d i s c r i m i n a t i o n i n s c h o o l s , and more w i l l i n g t o work, c l o s e l y i n s c h o o l w i t h s t u d e n t s o f d i f f e r e n t
45 F i g u r e 4-2 RACIAL-ATTITUDES AND EDUCATIONAL LEVELS AMONG WHITE MEN ' I f a Negro f a m i l y w i t h about t h e same income and e d u c a t i o n as you moved n e x t door t o y o u , would you mind i t a l o t , a l i t t l e , or not at a l l ? "
80 70 + d 60 CO u CO 4ocJ 50 + 00 c 4- ·H TG3 40 ·H B u0yat1 30 + PH 20 J.
high school graduates dropouts
college entrants
-- Men under 40 i n 1968* f Y o u n g men i n 1969** OYoung men i n 1970**
10 J-
8th grade 9-11 or less grades
1+2 grade
some college
f. college graduate
*From t h e Campbell and Schuman study o f r a c i a l a t t i t u d e s i n f i f t e e n c i t i e s (1968, p.35). **From t h e Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n study.
46 races. Data from the Purdue study also i n d i c a t e an increased awareness o f and concern about r a c i a l d i s c r i m i n a t i o n as s t u d e n t s progress from t e n t h grade t o t w e l f t h grade (Erlick, 1970). I n summary, we f i n d t h a t t h e r e a r e d i f f e r e n c e s i n r a c i a l a t t i t u d e s between those who e n t e r e d c o l l e g e , those who g r a d u a t e d from h i g h s c h o o l b u t d i d n o t c o n t i n u e t h e i r e d u c a t i o n , and those who dropped out o f s c h o o l . A p o r t i o n of these differences appeared during the f i r s t year of c o l l e g e f o r some o f our r e s p o n d e n t s , b u t another p o r t i o n was a l r e a d y t h e r e by the t i m e t h e y graduated f r o m h i g h s c h o o l . Of course, t h e e f f e c t s o f h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n on r a c i a l a t t i t u d e s may show up most c l e a r l y o n l y a f t e r t h r e e o r f o u r y e a r s o f c o l l e g e , r a t h e r t h a n j u s t one. Thus we cannot draw a f i r m c o n c l u s i o n about how much o f the " c o l l e g e e f f e c t " was a l r e a d y i n e x i s t e n c e by t h e end of h i g h s c h o o l . N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h e d a t a p r e s e n t e d h e r e do p r o v i d e some support f o r the view that high schools have r e c e n t l y become more i n v o l v e d i n the n a t i o n ' s r a c i a l problems.
CHAPTER 5 CRIME, VIOLENCE, AND PUBLIC ORDER Crime and v i o l e n c e have i n c r e a s i n g l y been on Che mind of the nation, receiving the attention of the media, n a t i o n a l l e a d e r s , and t h e g e n e r a l p u b l i c a l i k e . As Chapter 1 n o t e d , young men a r e a l s o q u i t e concerned about t h i s i s s u e . Eleven p e r c e n t mentioned campus d i s o r d e r s s p e c i f i c a l l y as a n a t i o n a l problem (see F i g u r e 1-3). Also 70 p e r c e n t r a t e d c r i m e and v i o l e n c e as e x t r e m e l y or v e r y important from a l i s t of selected national problems--the second h i g h e s t r a n k i n g ( F i g u r e 1-4). We a l s o found t h a t o f the s o l u t i o n s v o l u n t e e r e d by our respondents f o r crime and v i o l e n c e , almost 50 percent i m p l i e d a need f o r more government a c t i v i t y . We asked these young men t o suggest s o l u t i o n s t o crime and v i o l e n c e as a n a t i o n a l problem. Table 5-1 p r e s e n t s the responses t o t h e q u e s t i o n "Do you have any i d e a s as t o what should be done about t h i s p r o b l e m -- b y government, s c h o o l s , or anyone else?" Harsher p e n a l t i e s and enforcements are mentioned f i r s t by 34 p e r c e n t o f our respondents as a necessary s o l u t i o n t o t h i s p r o b l e m . The m a j o r i t y o f these young men suggest t h a t h a r s h e r laws and p e n a l t i e s be passed and t h a t p r e s e n t laws be more s t r i c t l y enforced. Considering a l l t h r e e mentions, 6 p e r c e n t recommend g i v i n g the p o l i c e more a u t h o r i t y and 47
48 l a t i t u d e ; "Stop h a n d c u f f i n g t h e p o l i c e , " o r "We have t o s t a r t realty e n f o r c i n g t h e l a w s . " The r e m a i n i n g c a t e g o r i e s n o t s p e c i f i c a l l y p r e s e n t e d i n c l u d e comments a s , "Send them a l l t o Vietnam. T h a t r 1 1 do them some good." "Curfews s h o u l d be i n s t i t u t e d . " "Go a f t e r t h e M a f i a . " "Be tough on d e m o n s t r a t o r s . " (We w i l l r e t u r n s h o r t l y t o these l a t t e r comments concerning d e m o n s t r a t o r s . ) Changes i n p o l i c e a c t i v i t i e s a r e t h e f i r s t mentioned s u g g e s t i o n s o f 14 p e r c e n t o f o u r respondents. S i x p e r c e n t s p e c i f i c a l l y recommend an i n c r e a s e i n t h e number o f p o l i c e men and 3 p e r c e n t c a l l e d f o r an improvement I n t h e s e l e c t i o n and t r a i n i n g o f p o l i c e . These l a t t e r s o l u t i o n s i n c l u d e d n o t only r i o t training, butalso screening out sadistic applicants and t r a i n i n g i n police-community r e l a t i o n s . The miscellaneous responses i n t h i s general area include improved pay and working c o n d i t i o n s ; improvements i n p o l i c e equipment, i n c l u d i n g the use o f computers; and more cooperat i o n between p o l i c e and community. Changes i n t h e l e g a l system account f o r more than 5 percent o f the suggested solutions. Increased e f f o r t s t o r e h a b i l i t a t e c r i m i n a l s and t o improve t h e penal system are mentioned by 4 p e r c e n t o f t h e respondents. Some recommended t h a t c o u r t s be more harsh, w h i l e others proposed a f a s t e r and l e s s t e d i o u s j u d i c i a l system. Some suggested l e g i s l a t i o n o f morals ( i n c l u d i n g repression o f pornography and p r o s t i t u t i o n ) , w h i l e o t h e r s f e l t we s h o u l d a v o i d l e g i s l a t i n g morals. A very few f e l t that n o t enough criminals were being sentenced t o capital punishment. T h i r t e e n p e r c e n t o f t h e young men*s f i r s t s u g g e s t i o n s d e a l t w i t h t h e r o o t causes o f crime and v i o l e n c e . E i g h t
49
TABLE 5-1 SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS TO CRIME AND VIOLENCE
Harsher p e n a l t i e s and enforcement o f laws Stronger penalties-, harsher laws S t r i c t e r enforcement of laws Give p o l i c e more a u t h o r i t y , l a t i t u d e General statement: toughness needed Changes i n p o l i c e I n c r e a s e the number o f policemen Improve t h e s e l e c t i o n and t r a i n i n g Other vague improvements i n p o l i c e functioning Changes i n c o u r t s and p e n a l system Rehabilitate criminals, improve penal system Attacking root problems Education I n d i v i d u a l l e v e l solutions: "People have t o . . . , " or "Parents should...." Vague: "Do something."
Mentioned Solutions
1st
2nd 3rd T o t a l s
34.0 9.5 1.4
-
13.0 3.3
.5
16.8
11.6 3.2
.3
15.1
4.0 1.3
.3
5.6
3.0
.6
-
3.6
14.2 5.3
.6
-
5.7 1.3
.6
7.0
2.8 1.5
.3
4.5
3.3
.9
.2
4.4
5.4 1.9
.5
-
2.3 1.0
.2
3.5
13.2 5.8 1.3
-
5.0 2.3
.6
7.9
3.3
.9
.4
4.6
3.3
.5
.1
3.9
Other, not coded above Don't know Missing data
7.1 14.6 4.8
Note: The t o t a l percentages are presented f o r each major category, then categories which received f i r s t mentions by over 2 percent of our r e s p o n d e n t s . We have broken down t o t a l s per c a t e g o r y i n t o f i r s t , second, and t h i r d mentioned solutions w i t h i n a p a r t i c u l a r subarea. For example, some of t h e 10 p e r c e n t whose second-mentioned s o l u t i o n c a l l e d f o r h a r s h e r enforcement and laws may a l s o be i n c l u d e d among the 34 p e r c e n t whose f i r s t - m e n t i o n e d s o l u t i o n was a l s o i n t h a t same general area. Therefore, our discussion considers only f i r s t mentions or those totals across individual solutions. Individual solutions receiving less than 2 percent of the f i r s t mentioned responses a r e not r e p o r t e d s e p a r a t e l y , b u t they do c o n t r i b u t e t o the o v e r a l l t o t a l f o r the appropriate major category.
50 percent s p e c i f i c a l l y r e f e r r e d to changes i n education of a d u l t s and young people. Job t r a i n i n g a t the h i g h school l e v e l and f o r i n t e r e s t e d a d u l t s was a l s o mentioned. Some expressed the opinion that the schools should he teaching more about r i g h t and wrong. Most o f the remaining respondents under t h i s heading r e f e r r e d to economic changes, i n c l u d i n g b e t t e r j o b s , and general statements about a b o l i s h i n g slums, i m p r o v i n g housing, and g e t t i n g r i d o f p o v e r t y . Only a few mentioned improved race r e l a t i o n s as a s o l u t i o n to crime and v i o l e n c e . E v i d e n t l y , the m a j o r i t y do n o t see crime and v i o l e n c e as p r i m a r i l y a r a c i a l problem. I n d i v i d u a l - l e v e l solutions are offered by 5 percent o f our sample: " I t ' s up t o t h e p e o p l e , " "People i n t h e community have to get together," "Parents have to teach t h e i r c h i l d r e n b e t t e r , " or "...be s t r i c t e r w i t h them." Fifteen percent of the respondents could not think of any s o l u t i o n ; another 3 percent s a i d vaguely t h a t "something should be done." A number o f young men mentioned campus d i s o r d e r s , student u n r e s t , and r i o t s as n a t i o n a l problems. T h e i r ideas f o r s o l v i n g these problems are presented i n Table 5-2. Repressive solutions, c a l l i n g f o r harsher reactions from p o l i c e , l e g i s l a t o r s , and c o l l e g e and u n i v e r s i t y a d m i n i s t r a t o r s represent the majority of the solutions suggested. Only 2 percent ( o f the t o t a l sample) gave such negative responses as, "Let them leave America i f they don't l i k e i t . " Another 2 percent support d i s s e n t e r s i n statements such, as, "Colleges and u n i v e r s i t i e s should be more r e s p o n s i v e t o s t u d e n t s , " and "The government s h o u l d change p o l i c i e s c a u s i n g p r o t e s t . " C o n c i l i a t o r y remarks, "The government and/or a d m i n i s t r a t o r s should l i s t e n to students," are given by about 1 percent.
51
TABLE 5-2 FOR CAMPUS DSIUSGOGREDSETRESD, SSTOULDUETNITONSUNREST, RIOTS
Repressive College and u n i v e r s i t y a d m i n i s t r a t o r s should be harsher P o l i c e and N a t i o n a l Guard should use more force S t r i c t e r laws should be passed t o stop rioters Other anti-demonstrator responses Conciliatory The government and a d m i n i s t r a t o r s should l i s t e n to students Support f o r dissenters College and u n i v e r s i t i e s should be more responsive to students The government should change policies causing protests Miscellaneous other solutions Specific Vague
Percent Mentioning 2 2 4 2 1 1 1 2 2
52 In the study of Ohio high, school students s i m i l a r negative attitudes toward demonstrators were found. S i x t y four percent specifically disagreed with student dissent over Cambodia; 70 percent f e l t t h a t campus disturbances have served no u s e f u l purpose; and 58 percent agree t h a t "college i s a r e a l p r i v i l e g e and those who demonstrate ought to be kicked out." I n t e r e s t i n g l y , no d i f f e r e n c e s were found between those i n college preparatory curriculum and those not I n such programs (Bryant, 1970). The a t t i t u d e s toward crime, v i o l e n c e , and campus unrest described here are not r a d i c a l or r e v o l u t i o n a r y . The young men I n our sample f e e l q u i t e s t r o n g l y that those who d i s obey the law should be punished, and often punished h a r s h l y . I t i s d i f f i c u l t to d i s c u s s whether these young men recognize the causes of crime. A few mention n a r c o t i c s , organized crime and poverty. But the wording of the question was such that s o l u t i o n s , and not causes, were s o l i c i t e d . Accordingly, to say t h a t only 13 percent of the nation's young men are aware of the root causes of crime would c e r t a i n l y be an understatement. The s o l u t i o n s o f f e r e d here r e f l e c t a core of young men advocating a hard l i n e on law-breakers. Quite a number, however, do recognize t h a t steps beyond harsh laws and s t r i c t law enforcement are necessary. Increases i n the number of policemen and the q u a l i t y of t h e i r t r a i n i n g and equipment were seen by many as important s o l u t i o n s . Attacks on the root causes were Important to an equal number, although, concrete solutions for attacking root problems were rare.
CHAPTER 6 POLLUTION Pollution has Increased In I t s Importance as a national i s s u e as the damage of our n a t u r a l resources becomes more apparent, and as the mass media give Increased emphasis to t h i s problem. Almost 80 percent of our sample rated t h i s issue "extremely" or "very" Important. Less than 1 percent f e l t t h a t p o l l u t i o n was not at a l l an important I s s u e . As Figure 1-3 I n Chapter 1 shows, concern expressed about p o l l u t i o n i s higher than that for any other problem i n our l i s t of s i x . A d d i t i o n a l l y 47 percent of our respondents suggested solutions to p o l l u t i o n which stated or implied the need for more government a c t i v i t y . Table 6-1 presents the s o l u t i o n s which the young men recommended for p o l l u t i o n . T h i r t y - n i n e percent gave f i r s t mention to harsher p e n a l t i e s and enforcement of laws as a s o l u t i o n . Twenty-six percent proposed that we "crack down on p o l l u t e r s , " " f i n e them," or " c l o s e them down u n t i l they stop causing p o l l u t i o n . " S p e c i f i c mention of new and h a r s h e r l e g i s l a t i o n was made by 24 percent of our respondents. The Life p o l l of 15-21 year-olds found that 90 percent agreed that "There ought to be a law p e n a l i z i n g a i r and water p o l l u t e r s " (Life, 1971). We note i n passing that the percentage of respondents advocating harsh p e n a l t i e s and enforcement for v i o l a t o r s I s 53
54
TABLE 6-1 SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS TO POLLUTION
Harsher p e n a l t i e s and enforcement of laws Crack down on p o l l u t i o n , f i n e (gov't) New and harsher l e g i s l a t i o n Government support of p o l l u t i o n c o n t r o l Government support of devices, research Vague proposal regarding government encouragement Technical proposals Alternatives to internal combustion-- other transportation proposals General: Need f o r new devices
Mentioned Solutions 1st 2nd 3rd Totals
39.0 11.2 1.7
-
19.0 18.6
6.0 .8 4.6 .8
25.8 24.0
7.2 1.9 .6
-
3.1
.9 .3
4.3
2.4
.6 .2
3.2
13.6 7.5 1.6
-
5.4 4.2 .9
10.5
6.1 2.8 .4
9.3
Industry action Industry should control pollution
6.6 3.2 .5
-
4.6 2.5 .4
7.5
Educating public
3.7 3.6 .9
-
People must become aware of p o l l u t i o n
2.3 1.7 .5
4.5
Individual level solution
5.6 2.9 .7
-
General, " I t ' s up to the people"
3.7 1.7 .3
5.7
Vague: "Something should be done."
4.2
.6 .1
4.9
Other, not coded above Don *t know Missing data
5.1 10.2 4.7
Note: The t o t a l percentages a r e presented f o r each major category, then c a t e g o r i e s which r e c e i v e d f i r s t mentions by over 2 percent of our respondents. We have broken down t o t a l s per category i n t o f i r s t , second, and t h i r d mentioned s o l u t i o n s w i t h i n a p a r t i c u l a r subarea. I n d i v i d u a l s o l u t i o n s r e c e i v i n g l e s s than 2 percent of the f i r s t mentioned responses are not reported separately, but they do c o n t r i b u t e to the o v e r a l l t o t a l f o r the appropriate major category.
55 about the same whether we a r e asking about p o l l u t i o n or about crime and v i o l e n c e . I t remains for f u t u r e analyses to see whether the same group of i n d i v i d u a l s suggested harsh p e n a l t i e s and laws i n both areas. A more moderate approach to p o l l u t i o n was taken By the 7 percent who i n t h e i r f i r s t s o l u t i o n suggested government support of p o l l u t i o n c o n t r o l . The most s p e c i f i c proposal i n t h i s category was f o r government-sponsored research and programs. A few (not ± n the t a b l e ) recommended that government funds be used to c l e a n up p o l l u t i o n . T e c h n i c a l proposals were given by 14 percent of the respondents (in their f i r s t mention). Proposals specific to t r a n s p o r t a t i o n problems, including a l t e r n a t i v e s to the I n t e r n a l combustion engine, were suggested by 11 percent of t h e s e young men. Nine percent mentioned the need f o r new d e v i c e s and systems but were not more s p e c i f i c . A few respondents s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned improvements i n waste and sewage treatment p l a n t s or an i n c r e a s e i n t h e i r numbers. Industry a c t i o n (without s p e c i f i c mention of government prodding) was suggested by 7 percent of the respondents. Many of these simply s t a t e d that " F a c t o r i e s should c o n t r o l pollution." A s m a l l number of r e s p o n d e n t s -- o n l y 4 percent on f i r s t mention--expressed the need for public education about p o l l u t i o n . Some f e l t that government, s c h o o l s , and t e l e v i s i o n should take the responsibility for getting this job done. The m a j o r i t y of those mentioning education, however, d i d not s p e c i f y how people should come to recognize the problems presented by p o l l u t i o n , but merely s t a t e d that they must become aware of p o l l u t i o n and i t s e f f e c t s .
56 As w i t h s o l u t i o n s to crime and v i o l e n c e , a number of respondents (6 percent) mentioned f i r s t that i n d i v i d u a l actions must solve the problem of pollution. This included suggestions such as, "People shouldn't l i t t e r , " "People shouldn't use so many paper products," or "Stop u s i n g throw away b o t t l e s . " The bulk of t h e statements i n t h i s a r e a were more general, " I t ' s up to the people," "You have to get people to stop polluting." I n c o n c l u s i o n , we found that young men g e n e r a l l y advocate a "hard l i n e " on p o l l u t e r s and c a l l f o r government support o f p o l l u t i o n c o n t r o l and clean-up. A number made some t e c h n i c a l proposals u s u a l l y d e a l i n g s p e c i f i c a l l y w i t h automobiles. A small percentage mentioned the need f o r education about the problem.
CHAPTER 7 POPULATION GROWTH The i n c r e a s i n g concern about man's r e l a t i o n s h i p to h i s natural environment includes the problem of population growth as w e l l as p o l l u t i o n . The a t t i t u d e s of young adults are of c r u c i a l importance i n t h i s area, s i n c e d e c i s i o n s they make (or f a i l to make) w i l l have a d i r e c t bearing on the r a t e at which our population grows. Accordingly, our 1970 data c o l l e c t i o n included s e v e r a l i n t e r v i e w and questionnaire segments that gave s p e c i a l a t t e n t i o n to t h i s and r e l a t e d Issues.* The f i r s t opportunity a respondent had to i n d i c a t e h i s concern over population growth was i n the open-ended question about problems facing the nation; a t o t a l of 9 percent included t h i s as one of those problems (see Figure 1-3). The young men had a second chance to express t h e i r concern about population growth i n the question which asked about i t s importance as a n a t i o n a l problem; 64 percent rated I t "very" or "extremely" important. The next question asked respondents to indicate what should be done about the problem--"by government, s c h o o l s , or anyone e l s e . " The s o l u t i o n s o f f e r e d by the respondents are summarized i n Table 7-1. I t i s notable that 2 percent suggested that t h i s i s not a serious problem, 5 percent f e l t *These segments were developed by J e r a l d Bachman, Terrence Davidson, Lloyd Johnston, Eugene Weiss, and Thomas Poffenber 57
58 that nothing more could be done, and 21 percent s a i d they did not know or could not t h i n k of a s o l u t i o n to t h i s problem. Twenty-five percent advocated the encouragement of b i r t h c o n t r o l and c o n t r a c e p t i o n . Of t h i s group, 7 percent s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned schools as playing an important role through sex education and/or i n s t r u c t i o n i n b i r t h control. The government was a l s o mentioned s p e c i f i c a l l y by 5 percent as an agent which should encourage family planning, i n c l u d i n g making a v a i l a b l e b i r t h c o n t r o l devices and supporting r e s e a r c h on contraception. I n d i v i d u a l l e v e l s o l u t i o n s to overpopulation were mentioned by 16 percent. "People should stop having so many b a b i e s . " " I t ' s up to the i n d i v i d u a l couple to l i m i t their family." S p e c i f i c government l e g i s l a t i o n to reduce population growth was mentioned by 14 percent of our respondents. Seven percent favored higher taxes or fines for those having over a c e r t a i n number of c h i l d r e n . Four percent were unsure as to the type of government a c t i o n needed, but made vague comments that the government should so something about t h i s problem. Fourteen percent f e l t that educating people concerning the population problem i s n e c e s s a r y . Most of t h i s g r o u p -- 10 p e r c e n t -- d i d not s p e c i f y where the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r this education rested. Three percent s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned the s c h o o l s , saying they should make t h e i r students aware of overpopulation. Changes and improvements i n present b i r t h c o n t r o l methods were mentioned by 9 percent of the young men. F i v e
59
TABLE 7*1 SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS OF POPULATION GROWTH
Percent Mentioning*
Birth, c o n t r o l , contraception must be encouraged
25
General statement---birth c o n t r o l should be
encouraged, easily available
12
Schools should provide sex education,
encouragement of b i r t h c o n t r o l and/or
instruction i n contraception
7
Government should support and encourage
b i r t h c o n t r o l and family planning,
including support of research
5
S p e c i f i c government l e g i s l a t i o n to reduce
overpopulation
14
L i m i t family s i z e by l e g i s l a t i o n
7
Higher taxes or fines for having over a
c e r t a i n number of c h i l d r e n
2
Vague, "Government should stop over-
population."
4
Individual level solutions,
16
I n c l u d e s comments such as, " I t ' s up to the
man and w i f e , " "People have to p r a c t i c e
birth control," etc.
Education, about the problem
14
General reference to need f o r education
10
Schools should educate students about the
problem, make them aware of i t
3
B i r t h c o n t r o l changes
9
L e g a l i z e abortion, make i t r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e ,
free, or inexpensive
5
More r e s e a r c h , s a f e r p i l l
2
Adaptation to overpopulation
5
B u i l d more housing, school, e t c .
1
Move people i n t o underpopulated areas
1
Nothing more can or should be done, or they're
doing a l l they can now
5
Population explosion i s not a serious problem
2
Don't know C f l r s t mention only)
21
*Totaled across multiple answers
60 percent mentioned Legalizing abortion, making i t f r e e , inexpensive, or r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e . Another segment of t h i s sub-group--2 p e r c e n t -- a d v o c a t e d more research, i n contraception, p a r t i c u l a r l y development of a safer b i r t h control p i l l . Five percent mentioned adapting to the increasing population (as opposed to decreasing the rate of population growth). These solutions varied, but they Included suggestions such as " B u i l d more houses and s c h o o l s , " "Move people out i n t o the country," " B u i l d new c i t i e s , " and "Make i t so we can move people to the moon." A number of young men were not alarmed about population growth or d i d not have any ideas as to a s o l u t i o n . A s l i g h t l y smaller number f e l t b i r t h c o n t r o l and c o n t r a c e p t i v e s should be encouraged, but did not mention any government laws or regulations to deal with the problem. The f a c t that only a s m a l l proportion of the respondents i n the i n t e r v i e w mentioned s t e p s to be taken by government and schools should not be misunderstood, Tn a l a t e r questionnaire p o r t i o n of the data c o l l e c t i o n , a l l respondents were asked to indicate t h e i r approval or disapproval of s e v e r a l p o t e n t i a l a c t i o n s by schools and government. An overwhelming majority favored high school courses dealing with sex and c o n t r a c e p t i o n , government e f f o r t s to make b i r t h c o n t r o l information and c o n t r a c e p t i v e s a v a i l a b l e to anyone wanting them, and government help f o r other c o u n t r i e s to control their population. Toward the end of the i n t e r v i e w , a s p e c i a l series, of questions asked respondents about t h e i r m a r i t a l and f a m i l y plans. E i g h t percent of the young men were already married
61 by s p r i n g 1970; 5 percent had at l e a a t one c h i l d , and the wives of another 2 percent were expecting a c h i l d . Eight percent of a l l the young men were engaged. When asked i f they would get married i n the next ten y e a r s , 68 percent s a i d they would. This percentage does not i n c l u d e those who were married a t the time of the i n t e r v i e w , or who planned on d e f i n i t e l y g e t t i n g married sometime t h i s coming year. Only 4 percent stated that they would never get married. S i n c e the bulk of these young men did Intend to get married, I t was of I n t e r e s t to know t h e i r family p l a n s . Table 7-2 presents three questions from the i n t e r v i e w asking how much c o n s i d e r a t i o n our respondents had given to the s i z e of t h e i r f u t u r e f a m i l i e s . As responses to the f i r s t q u e s t i o n show, only 14 percent had not thought at a l l about future fatherhood. The 7 percent missing data p r i m a r i l y represents those respondents who a l r e a d y had c h i l d r e n or whose wives were pregnant. While 80 percent had thought about t h i s question, a majority of young men had not d i s c u s s e d t h i s s u b j e c t with anyone--only 35 percent had done so. Twenty-one percent of our respondents had talked with t h e i r g i r l f r i e n d s or fiancees about the subject, 7 p e r c e n t with f r i e n d s . The 4 percent who had d i s c u s s e d t h i s w i t h t h e i r wives are those who did not have any c h i l d r e n and were not expecting at the time. A t o t a l of 7 percent had discussed t h i s with their parents, u s u a l l y mothers, T a b l e 7-3 summarizes two i n t e r v i e w questions: "What i s the l a r g e s t number of c h i l d r e n you would choose to have?" and "What i s the s m a l l e s t number' of children'you
62
TABLE 7-2 CONSTDERATTON GIVEN TO FAMILY S I Z E
"Have you thought a t a l l about whether you'd l i k e to have children...?"
percentage 32 48 14 7
Thought a l o t Thought a l i t t l e Not thought at a l l Missing data (respondents with children or with expecting wife, generally)
"Have you talked with anyone about how many c h i l d r e n to have?"
percentage 35 59 6
Yes No Missing data (respondents with children or with expecting wife, generally)
^ "Who have you t a l k e d t o . . . ? "
percentage* 22 7 4 7 (3) (1) 1
girl friend, fiancee friends wife parents, mother, father mother, s p e c i f i c a l l y father, specifically brothers
(total)
*Totaled across multiple answers
63
would choose Co have?" Most respondents--48 p e r c e n t -- s a i d they would p r e f e r to have at l e a s t two c h i l d r e n . The t y p i c a l reasons given'to support this were, " r t ' s important to have at l e a s t two.," or "An only c h i l d i s spoiled or l o n e l y . " Only 8 percent were w i l l i n g to have no c h i l d r e n a t a l l . "You should have a t l e a s t one," seemed to be the a t t i t u d e of the 32 percent who wanted a t l e a s t one c h i l d . As the " l a r g e s t " column i n Table 7-3 i l l u s t r a t e s , most respondents f e l t they would not want more than four c h i l d r e n . The reason most gave f o r the " l a r g e s t " number of c h i l d r e n they might wish to have was, "That's a l l I could afford." But other comments given i n t h i s s e c t i o n of the i n t e r v i e w a f f i r m the s o c i a l norm that "Larger f a m i l i e s are happier" and "Children are fun for parents."
TABLE 7-3 LARGEST AND SMALLEST NUMBERS OF CHILDREN
"What i s the l a r g e s t ( s m a l l e s t ) number of c h i l d r e n you would choose to have?" (two separate questions)
Number of c h i l d r e n 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and more missing data
Percentage
Largest
Smallest
2
8
2
32
21
48
24
6
24
1
12
6
1
4
5
5
64 We a l s o asked the young men what they thought the I d e a l number of c h i l d r e n would be and Table 7-4 presents these f i g u r e s . The highest p e r c e n t a g e -- 4 1 p e r c e n t -- o f our respondents favored having two c h i l d r e n , but the d i s t r i b u tion of answers i s skewed toward greater numbers of c h i l d r e n . Forty-nine percent favored more than 2 c h i l d r e n . Percentages obtained from the Purdue study of high school students ( E r l i c k , 1970} and the H a r r i s study of young people 15-21 y e a r s old Qj%fe3 1971) a r e a l s o shown i n Table 7-4. Both of the other s t u d i e s seem to have data roughly s i m i l a r to ours; sample d i f f e r e n c e s and d i f f e r e n t r a t e s of missing data are most l i k e l y responsible f o r the lack of complete correspondence. The second question i n Table 7-4 deals with how many boys and how many g i r l s our respondents wanted i d e a l l y . A s l i g h t b i a s toward boys i s apparent; 59 percent of the respondents wanted only one g i r l , 41 percent wanted one boy and 40 percent wanted two boys. A f t e r respondents i n d i c a t e d the i d e a l number of children they would l i k e to have, they were asked what p o s s i b l e advantages and disadvantages were a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the number they chose. Under the heading of advantages, 29 percent s a i d that the number they chose represented what they would be able to a f f o r d ; 20 percent f e l t that "the more c h i l d r e n you have, the happier the family i s " ; and about 23 percent mentioned p e r c e i v e d advantages of small f a m i l i e s such as b e t t e r c h i l d - r e a r i n g p r a c t i c e s and more love f o r each c h i l d , l e s s work and worry f o r p a r e n t s , and population c o n t r o l . The only a p p r e c i a b l e mention of disadvantages involved economic c o n s i d e r a t i o n s ; 17 percent
65 TABLE 7-4 IDEAL NUMBERS OF CHILDREN
" A l l things considered, i f you could have exactly the number of c h i l d r e n you want, what number would that be?"
Number of c h i l d r e n 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and more missing data
Percentage YIT* Harris** Purdue***
"How many boys?" and "How many g i r l s ? "
Number of c h i l d r e n 0 1 2 3 4 5 missing data
Percentage
Boys
Girls
2
8
41
59
40
20
6
3
2
-
-8
1 8
*Youth i n T r a n s i t i o n respondents, spring 1970 * * H a r r i s p o l l , l a t e 1970 (Life, 1971) ***Purdue p o l l of high school students, June 1970 ( E r l i c k , 1970)
66 f e l t that t h e i r i d e a l family s i z e might: he more than they would be able to a f f o r d . I t I s noteworthy that the great majority- of those asked saw no disadvantage a t a l l I n t h e number of c h i l d r e n they considered i d e a l . When we combine t h i s w i t h t h e data I n Table 7-4 I n d i c a t i n g that 25 percent considered t h r e e c h i l d r e n i d e a l and 24 percent p r e f e r r e d four or more, we begin to see the scope of the educational effort required i f young people i n the United S t a t e s a r e to Be made aware of t h e i r own r o l e i n c o n t r o l l i n g population growth. However, an encouraging feature i n the data, i s the fact that a l l but 7 percent s t a t e that a family s i z e of two c h i l d r e n or less i s within their range of acceptance ( i . e . , the s m a l l e s t number they would consider h a v i n g ) . A number of the population i s s u e s t r e a t e d i n t h e personal interview were raised again in the paper-andpencil questionnaire. Several questions dealt with the s i z e and growth r a t e of population i n the world and i n the United States. These questions had correct answers, of course; the percentage answering c o r r e c t l y ranged from 22 to 42 percent, depending on the item. For those who were not accurate, however, the direction of error i s very revealing. Thirty-eight percent overestimated the present p o p u l a t i o n of the United S t a t e s , w h i l e h a l f that many underestimated i t . Over three-quarters of the respondents overestimated the speed with which the population of the United States w i l l double Cat the present rate of Increase). Fifty--six percent overestimated the size of the world population, and 42 percent overestimated the speed of world population doubling. When asked about the i d e a l
67 population s i z e f o r the United S t a t e s , 45 percent wanted i t to remain about the present s i z e , 44 percent p r e f e r r e d i t somewhat or much s m a l l e r than present s i z e , and only 12 percent wanted i t l a r g e r . The preferences f o r world population were even more s t r o n g l y a g a i n s t f u r t h e r growth; 67 percent p r e f e r r e d to have i t s m a l l e r , 24 percent the same, and only 9 p e r c e n t wanted i t l a r g e r . I n short there seemed to be l i t t l e tendency to underestimate the problem I n answers on a " t e s t " of information and a t t i t u d e s ; on the contrary, the tendency was to exaggerate population s i z e and growth r a t e . These young men seemed to have some r e c o g n i t i o n of the problems presented by exploding population, but they appeared unable t o t i e such problems to t h e i r own thoughts about family s i z e , r t i s as i f the population problem were an a b s t r a c t i n t e l l e c t u a l one, f a r removed from thoughts about the number of c h i l d r e n one would p e r s o n a l l y choose to have. That explanation i s certainly consistent with the interview data i n d i c a t i n g that a majority of these nineteen-year-olds had given l i t t l e or no thought to the s i z e of family they might have. I t was a n t i c i p a t e d t h a t some respondents would not r e a d i l y consider the l i n k between t h e i r own family s i z e p r e f e r e n c e s and the growth of population; a c c o r d i n g l y , a number of questionnaire items were included to make the connection s p e c i f i c and unavoidable. Table 7-5 presents these items and responses. Seventy-two percent expressed some w i l l i n g n e s s to use contraceptives to prevent having c h i l d r e n , while 21 percent personally considered contracept i v e s t o be Immoral. More d i r e c t l y r e l e v a n t to the question of population growth are the remaining questions I n the
68 TABLE 7,5 ATTITUDES ABOUT CONTRACEPTION AND POPULATION CONTROL
I p e r s o n a l l y would be w i l l i n g to use contraceptives to prevent having children. I personally consider most methods of b i r t h c o n t r o l to be immoral. A couple should have as many c h i l d r e n as they want, without worrying about i n c r e a s i n g population. To prevent overpopulation, each couple has a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to l i m i t the number of c h i l d r e n they have. I f e e l s t r o n g l y enough about preventing overpopulation that I ' d be w i l l i n g to l i m i t my family to two children.
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69 table. Forty-three percent checked agreement with the statement, "A couple should have as many c h i l d r e n as they want, without worrying about i n c r e a s i n g population." On the other hand, f u l l y 72 percent agreed with, the statement, "To prevent overpopulation, each couple has a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to l i m i t the number of c h i l d r e n they have." C l e a r l y , the above two questions are d i a m e t r i c a l opposites; thus i t i s a b i t d i s c o n c e r t i n g to f i n d some young men Cat l e a s t 15 percent) agreeing w i t h Both. The problem i s that some respondents have a general tendency to agree with a statement i f i t "sounds good," and t h i s d i s t o r t s our responses i n the direction of overstating agreement. This s e r v e s as a u s e f u l reminder that we must be cautious about any very l i t e r a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of percentage responses to questionnaire items; they are most u s e f u l as general i n d i c a t o r s of d i r e c t i o n , not as p r e c i s e estimates. Keeping the above caution i n mind, l e t us consider the l a s t question i n the t a b l e ; 64 percent agreed Cor mostly agreed) w i t h the statement, " I f e e l s t r o n g l y enough about preventing overpopulation that I'd be w i l l i n g to l i m i t my family to two c h i l d r e n . " I n s p i t e of the i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s , each of the l a s t three questions had a m a j o r i t y l i n e d up on the side of personal responsibility to help limit population growth. T h i s commitment to l i m i t i n g family s i z e to two c h i l d r e n comes as a b i t of a s u r p r i s e , given the i n t e r v i e w data summarized above. Nevertheless, a new dedication to family l i m i t a t i o n may have been genuine i n at l e a s t some c a s e s , f o r i t seems l i k e l y that some young men gave more concentrated thought to the matter during the course of the i n t e r v i e w and q u e s t i o n n a i r e than they had throughout the rest of their lifetimes.
70 Given the family s i z e preferences expressed i n the i n t e r v i e w , p l u s some endorsement o f the two-child f a m i l y as a means of curbing population Increase, i t I s of i n t e r e s t to see whether our respondents knew enough about sex and contraception to keep t h e i r f a m i l i e s as small as they p r e f e r r e d . Table 7-6 p r e s e n t s some r e l e v a n t data, the answers to a short quiz designed to measure knowledge of t e c h n i c a l terms f o r reproductive organs and contracept i v e methods. A number of words were given and the young men were asked to i d e n t i f y them as Ca) a b i r t h c o n t r o l method used by men, (b) a B i r t h c o n t r o l method by women, (c) a p a r t of the male anatomy, (d) a part of the female anatomy, or Ce) none of the above. The column on the r i g h t s i d e of the table shows the percent of respondents who gave the c o r r e c t answer. E i g h t y - s i x percent placed "vagina" i n the c o r r e c t category. "Amoeba" was next o f t e n i d e n t i f i e d c o r r e c t l y . " F a l l o p i a n tube" and "scrotum" were a l s o i d e n t i f i e d c o r r e c t l y by over 60 percent of the respondents. Only 5 items out of the 11 were c o r r e c t l y i d e n t i f i e d by more than h a l f of our respondents, and some of these were surely guessing (see i n s t r u c t i o n s i n Table 7-6). Sexual terminology i s not necessarily synonymous with sexual knowledge, of course, and e f f e c t i v e c o n t r a c e p t i o n i s dependent on more than knowing the r i g h t terminology. The question a t the bottom of Table 7-6 I n d i c a t e s that only 40 percent know that a woman i s most f e r t i l e 2 weeks a f t e r menstruation, and that s u r e l y i s not a problem of terminology. T a b l e 7--7 presents s e v e r a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e Items r e g a r d ing s e x education. Only 36 percent reported having a u n i t on sex education i n high s c h o o l ; only 15 percent had s t u d i e d
71 TABLE 7-6 SEX INFORMATION QUIZ
"The next s e v e r a l questions do have c o r r e c t and i n c o r r e c t answers. I f you're not sure about your answers, we'd l i k e you to guess." A vagina i s An amoeba i s A f a l l o p i a n tube i s A scrotum i s An I.U.L. or "loop" i s A cervix i s A seminal vesicle i s A stamen i s A condom i s A tubectomy i s A vasectomy i s
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When i s a woman most l i k e l y to become pregnant? 11% When she i s menstruating ("having her period") 40% About two weeks a f t e r menstruation begins 26% About three days before menstruation begins 24% About three days a f t e r menstruation ends
·Calculation of percentages excludes missing data cases.
72 b i r t h control methods. P a r t i c u l a r l y noteworthy i s the f a c t that the v a s t m a j o r i t y of our respondents who d i d not take these courses wished that they had. The l a s t two questions i n t h i s s e c t i o n dealt with s e x Information from p a r e n t s . T h i r t y - e i g h t percent had received sex Information, and most of them f e l t i t was "very" to "somewhat" worthwhile. F o r t y two percent i n d i c a t e d that they d i d not r e c e i v e s e x education from t h e i r parents and wished they had; 20 percent d i d not r e c e i v e such Information from t h e i r parents and i n d i c a t e d that they were glad they didn't. Incidentally, t h i s l a t t e r figure i s s i g n i f i c a n t l y higher than the percentage who were glad they had not received sex education or b i r t h control Information i n high s c h o o l . I n f u t u r e analyses we w i l l discover whether those who r e c e i v e d v a r i o u s forms of sex education d i d b e t t e r on the sex knowledge t e s t summarized above. The r e s u l t s summarized above represent a challenge to educators. The young men i n our sample, most of them one year out of high school and many o f them ending t h e i r f i r s t year of c o l l e g e , had very l i m i t e d knowledge of population s i z e , r a t e s of population growth, and methods of contracept i o n . Most had no sex education i n high school and most r e g r e t t e d that f a c t . Those who had taken courses were often r a t h e r lukewarm about them; they rated them "somewhat worthwhile" more often than "very worthwhile." Apparently very few saw a c l e a r connection between the population explosion and t h e i r own family s i z e p l a n s , at l e a s t not u n t i l a few q u e s t i o n n a i r e items forced them to do s o . The challenge to educators was s t a t e d w e l l by Burleson i n h i s memorandum:
73 TABLE 7-J SEX EDUCATION "Did you have a u n i t on sex education when you were i n high, school?" 36% Yes 5 8 % No, and r w i s h I had 6% No, and f r a glad I didn't ^'How worthwhile was i t ? " 13% Very worthwhile 18% Somewhat worthwhile 5% Not worthwhile a t a l l "Did you ever study about B i r t h control methods i n high school?" 15% Yes 76% No, and I wish I had 9% No, and T'm glad I didn't *"How worthwhile was i t ? " 7% Very worthwhile 7% Somewhat worthwhile 1% Not worthwhile a t a l l "During your teenage years, d i d you get sex information from your parents?" 38% Yes 42% No, and I wish I had 20% No, and I'm glad I didn't »"How worthwhile was i t ? " 15% Very worthwhile 19% Somewhat worthwhile 3% Not worthwhile a t a l l
74 Educators have a new task, and few of them a r e responding to i t i n any w.ay adequate to the s i z e of the problem. L i f e i n the twentieth century i s becoming more and more a r a c e between-numbers and a q u a l i t y of l i f e . Now and f o r the foreseeable f u t u r e -- i n s o f a r as demographic extrapolations provide us an i n s i g h t on population problems f o r the remainder of t h i s c e n t u r y -- p a r t i c i p a n t s and those about to become p a r t i c i p a n t s I n t h i s v i t a l r e v o l u t i o n r e q u i r e an education that I n c l u d e s a consideration of population problems (Burleson, 1970). Hauser put i t more b l u n t l y some nine years ago: I t i s about time f o r twentieth, century school curricula to incorporate twentieth, century demographic findings I n the context of their twentieth century implications (Hauser, 1962).
CHAPTER 8 OTHER NATIONAL ISSUES This chapter presents b r i e f discussions of three addit i o n a l n a t i o n a l problem areas. Two of these areas, hungerpoverty and the t h r e a t of nuclear war, a r e among the s i x s p e c i f i c a l l y presented i n the interview Csee Figure 1-2). An a d d i t i o n a l area, n a t i o n a l economic problems, was mentioned by a s u f f i c i e n t l y large proportion of respondents to deserve some f u r t h e r d i s c u s s i o n here. Hunger and Poverty Hunger and poverty were mentioned by 11 percent of the respondents i n t h e i r l i s t i n g of n a t i o n a l problems. When asked t o r a t e the importance of t h i s problem area, 63 per- cent r a t e d hunger and poverty as an "extremely" or ' V e r y " important issue. Twenty-seven percent of the solutions o f f e r e d by t h e respondents c a l l e d f o r more government activity (see Figure 1-5). The s o l u t i o n s to hunger and poverty are v a r i e d , as i n d i c a t e d i n Table 8-1. P r o v i s i o n of d i r e c t a i d to the poor i n t h e form of food, j o b s , money and education a r e suggested. "Give more money to the poor." "Education i s t h e answer." The suggested sources of such a i d , when s p e c i f i e d , included t h e government, business, and p r i v a t e i n d i v i d u a l s . Many who mentioned food spoke of changing 75
76
TABLE 8-1 SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS FOR HUNGER AND POVERTY
Direct a i d to poor
Provide food, cut out farm production r e s t r i c t i o n s , use surplus food Find j o b s f o r poor people, employ needy people Provide money, lower taxes of poor, keep or increase welfare Provide or Improve education of the poor Revise the welfare system
Revision i n government emphasis
Feed or help people here or instead of those overseas Spend l e s s on space, more on domestic problems Spend l e s s on Vietnam, Indochina, more on domestic problems Spend l e s s on m i l i t a r y , more on domestic problems Other changes i n national p r i o r i t i e s Vague statement: "Government shouldn't l e t people starve."
People should Be made to work, reduce or get r i d of welfare
Vague n e g a t i v e comments, "People don't have to be poor i f they don't want t o . "
Stop population growth so there's more food
Other, not coded above
Vague: "Something should be done." shouldnlt starve." Don't know C f l r s t mention only)
"People
·Percent Mentioning* 13 11 7 8 4 10 5 4 3 3 12 8 5 4 13 3 18
*Totals across multiple answers
77 a g r i c u l t u r a l r e s t r i c t i o n s on land uae and/or the use of s u r p l u s food; "They ought to stop paying farmers not to farm," " D i s t r i b u t e s u r p l u s food." Some c a l l e d f o r r e v i s i o n of the. w e l f a r e system. A number of respondents seemed to have n e g a t i v e a t t i tudes toward the poor and toward w e l f a r e . "People should be made to work." "Don't give money to women who keep having b a b i e s . " A number of these comments were more vague and i n d i r e c t , e.g., "Nobody has to be poor." Quite a few viewed the problem as one of government p r i o r i t i e s ; they objected to high expenditures on Vietnam, the m i l i t a r y , and the space program; they expressed the view t h a t we should be doing more about dealing w i t h hunger, poverty, and other domestic problems. "We shouldn't spend money going to the moon when people a r e s t a r v i n g . " "Get out of Vietnam; then we can take c a r e of the poor." Four percent f e l t that population growth was r e s p o n s i b l e for hunger and poverty. "Cut down on population." "There are too many people." "Everybody's going to s t a r v e i f we don't stop overpopulation." Vague responses, without s o l u t i o n s , were given by 3 p e r c e n t ; 18 percent had no opinion or ideas on how to s o l v e the problem of hunger and poverty. The National Economy The economic s t a t e of the nation was not among the s i x problem areas that we chose to a s k respondents about s p e c i f i c a l l y ; nevertheless, quite a few mentioned problems i n t h i s area when asked the open-ended question about
78 problems f a c i n g the n a t i o n . Table 8-^2 p r e s e n t s these c a t e g o r i e s of economic problems^ 14 percent mentioned i n f l a t i o n , 14 percent mentioned r e c e s s i o n , and 3 percent mentioned unemployment.
TABLE 8-2 ECONOMIC PROBLEMS
Percent Mentioning*
I n f l a t i o n , high prices, high cost of l i v i n g National economy, r e c e s s i o n , depression, stock market Unemp1oyment Other economic problems
. 14 14 3 2
*Total percentages across f i r s t , second, and t h i r d mentioned problems.
Only those i n d i v i d u a l s who s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned these problem areas were asked to suggest s o l u t i o n s , thus t h e i r answers cannot be taken as representative of what the t o t a l sample would have said. Their proposals are summarized i n Table 8-3. The s i n g l e most frequently mentioned proposal was a c a l l f o r wage and p r i c e c o n t r o l s ; t h i s proposal was made by 8 percent of the respondents, but they represent f u l l y one-quarter of a l l respondents who d i s c u s s e d n a t i o n a l economic problems. Other suggestions, each mentioned by 2 percent of the respondents, c a l l e d f o r more j o b s , changes
79 i n t a x e s , and spending l e s s i n Southeast A s i a and more a t home. A d d i t i o n a l f a i r l y s p e c i f i c s o l u t i o n s ranged from "People should stop asking f o r higher wages" to "The government should subsidize auto companies." S i x percent gave vague s o l u t i o n s such as " P r i c e s should go down" or "Make t h e d o l l a r worth more."
TABLE 8-3 SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS TO ECONOMIC PROBLEMS
Percent Mentioning*
Government should Introduce wage and p r i c e
controls
8
Spend l e s s on Vietnam, Indochina, and more
on problems at home
2
More jobs
2
Changes i n taxes
2
"Other" s p e c i f i c mention of solution to
economic problems
4
Vague mention of s o l u t i o n to economic
problems
6
* F i r s t mentions only; percentages based on t o t a l respondents, not j u s t on those mentioning t h i s as a problem.
The Threat of Nuclear Mar I n response to the open-ended question e a r l y I n the I n t e r v i e w , only 7 percent of the respondents mentioned war (Including nuclear war), defense, or the establishment of peace among the major problems facing the nation. The one
80 important exception, of course, was the war i n Vietnam, which was mentioned by 61 percent of a l l respondents. When asked s p e c i f i c a l l y to rate the importance of the "chance of nuclear war," 17 percent rated i t "extremely" important and 18 percent "rated i t "very" i m p o r t a n t -- f a r lower importance r a t i n g s than were given to any other problem area we asked about. The a t t i t u d e which seemed to be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the low Importance ascribed to nuclear war was w e l l expressed i n the following response, " I don't f e e l the nations w i l l use it...No one i s s t u p i d enough to k i l l everyone." The respondents' proposals f o r d e a l i n g w i t h the chance of n u c l e a r war are presented i n Table 8-4. The percentage having no opinion or s o l u t i o n was higher f o r t h i s n a t i o n a l problem a r e a than f o r any other d i s c u s s e d i n the i n t e r v i e w . Eight percent, i n c l u d i n g the young man quoted above, s a i d they did not consider the threat of nuclear war a very s e r i o u s problem. Another 9 percent s a i d nothing more could (or should) be done. The i d e a that governments should get r i d of n u c l e a r weapons and/or agree not to use them was put forward by 19 percent of the respondents; 6 percent mentioned improved foreign r e l a t i o n s , 5 percent urged negotiating t r e a t i e s w i t h other c o u n t r i e s , and 5 percent made vague suggestions to "Make peace" or "Stop having wars." About 5 percent were " h a r d - l i n e r s " who c a l l e d f o r strong arms, a n t l - b a l l i s t l c m i s s i l e s , bomb s h e l t e r s , or c i v i l defense measures; an example I s the young man who urged that we " I n s t a l l the ABM's a l l over the country." The present generation of young men have strong concerns, and express growing opposition, when i t comes to the war I n Vietnam. The larger threat of nuclear war, however, does
81
TABLE 8-4 SUGGESTIONS FOR AVOIDING NUCLEAR WAR
Faxcent Mentioning*
Don't know., no s o l u t i o n given
31
Don't think. It's-much of a problem or threat
8
Nothing more can Cor should) be done
9
Get r i d of nuclear weapons, agree not to u s e
them, "ban the bomb"
19
Governments should t a l k more, Improve f o r e i g n
relations
6
Negotiate, sign t r e a t i e s , with other countries
5
"Make peace," "Stop having wars"
5
Be armed, ready f o r a t t a c k , have a n t i -
b a l l i s t i c m i s s i l e s , bomb s h e l t e r s , e t c .
5
Other, vague, uncodable
12
* F i r s t mentions only.
not alarm them n e a r l y as much as may have been expected. Perhaps this i s simply a contrast effect; Vietnam i s a clear and present danger, e s p e c i a l l y f o r young men, whereas the danger of a n u c l e a r holocaust I s more a b s t r a c t and remote. On t h e other hand, i t may be the demise of the foreign policy of "brinkmanship" which i s responsible for this f e e l ing t h a t nations can and w i l l avoid the use of nuclear weapons. These young men have seen the bomb s h e l t e r s come
82 and go; since 1961 (the time of the Cuban m i s s i l e c r i s i s ) there has been a more-or-less steady movement away from nuclear threat and counter-threat. I n short, the o v e r a l l trend of experience f o r young men ( i n contrast to t h a t of t h e i r parents] has been gradual reduction i n emphasis on nuclear war. Whatever the reasons may he, the dominant a t t i t u d e among young -men seems c l e a r l y t o Be that a stalemate has been reached. They f e e l that the major powers are s u f f i c i e n t l y aware of the p o t e n t i a l f o r t o t a l destruction i n a nuclear war that they w i l l not s t a r t one.
CHAPTER 9 WHAT YOUNG MEN FEEL THEY CAN DO The sequence o f i n t e r v i e w questions described i n Chapter 1 included one further item we have not y e t discussed. A f t e r the young men I n our sample discussed a number of n a t i o n a l problems and indicated what "government, schools, or anyone else" could do about these problems, they were asked the f o l l o w i n g question directed at t h e i r own opportunities t o deal with the problems: "Thinking over all these problems--the ones you mentioned and t h e ones l i s t e d on the card Csee Figure 1-2 f o r the s i x problems l i s t e d on the c a r d ) -- a r e there any of them you f e e l you y o u r s e l f can do something about?" Table 9-1 presents the answers to t h i s question. Perhaps most s t r i k i n g i s the f a c t that almost onequarter of our respondents said there was nothing they could do about the major problems. The remainder gave most frequent mention t o p o l l u t i o n and race r e l a t i o n s as problems they could do something a b o u t -- o n e - t h i r d of the respondents mentioned each of these areas. One-quarter of t h e young men said that they could do something about population growth. The remaining problems received much less frequent mention. The s p e c i f i c i n d i v i d u a l actions suggested f o r p o l l u t i o n , race r e l a t i o n s , and population growth are presented 83
84
TABLE 9-1 PROBLEM AREAS I CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT
Percentage*
Pollution
34
Race r e l a t i o n s
33
Population growth
24
Poverty, hunger
11
Crime, violence
11
Campus disorders
8
Vietnam
6
Nuclear war, war ([generally)
2
Reference t o a l l problems
5
No problems I , personally, can do anything about 23
*Totaled across multiple answers.
i n Table 9-2. Personal solutions regarding p o l l u t i o n were predominantly general statements of "Don't l i t t e r , " "Don't p o l l u t e . " A number of respondents (8 percent) gave more s p e c i f i c answers, "Pick up l i t t e r , " "Use lead f r e e gasoline," and other automobile related statements. A few, aware of the complex technology necessary to solve the problem, f e l t they could study ecology and p o l l u t i o n . A number (3 percent) volunteered a willingness to organize or j o i n groups to publicize p o l l u t i o n or to clean up. Influencing friends, others and the government was an action suggested by 8 percent .
85 TABLE 9-2
WHAT I CAN DO ABOUT THIS PROBLEM
Pareent Mentioning Solution*
P o l l u t i o n (mentioned by 34%). Don*t l i t t e r or p o l l u t e (general statement) Pick up l i t t e r , "keep c i t y clean" Automobile related statements, usually vague Study problem, including technology or ecology
18.3 4.3 3.7 1.6
Organize or j o i n groups t o make others aware
of the problem or t o clean up
3.0
Influence others, friends, talk to people
4.3
Influence government ( w r i t e congressmen, vote) 4.3
Other direct specific action
2.3
Vague statement, no action Implications
3.1
Race Relations (mentioned by 33%) Try to get along with those of other races, understand others, don't discriminate or be prejudiced Get together w i t h those of other races on a social basis
21.8 2.6
Join organizations to improve race relations
or to support equal rights
.6
Influence opinions ( f a m i l y , f r i e n d s , and
generally)
7.4
Influence government ( w r i t e congressmen, vote)
,4
Other direct specific action
1.1
Vague statement, no action implications
2.6
Population Growth (mentioned by 24%) L i m i t family (vague statement), learn or practice birth control Only have one or two children Not have any children
16.6 3.3 1.9
J o i n organization to encourage and inform
on B i r t h control
.4
Influence others ( t a l k to people about i t )
2.7
Influence government ( w r i t e congressmen, vote)
.3
Other specific action
1.7
Vague statement, no action implications
1.7
*Totaled across multiple mentions of a solution.
86 Race r e l a t i o n s was the area second most often mentioned as an issue the respondents f e l t they personally could help solve. General statements about "Getting along with, others," "Don't s t a r t t r o u b l e , " "Don't d i s c r i m i n a t e or be prejudiced," were given by 22 percent. Getting together s o c i a l l y with, those of other races was-mentioned by 3 percent. Seven percent mentioned influencing the opinions of family, friends, and others I n general. Less than 1 percent mentioned influencing the government. This I s consistent w i t h the f i n d i n g , reported i n Chapter 3, that few of our respondents f e l t that increased government a c t i o n i s the s o l u t i o n to r a c i a l tension. Also less than 1 percent expressed interest i n j o i n i n g organizations to solve t h i s problem. Race r e l a tions i s obviously a problem which our respondents f e l t could best be solved on an I n d i v i d u a l l e v e l , and not by government edict or group pressure. Personal solutions to population growth included 17 percent who made general statements such as "Limit my family" or "Practice b i r t h c o n t r o l . " Three percent stated d e f i n i t e l y "having only one or two c h i l d r e n " as an a c t i o n they personally could do to help solve population growth. Two percent mentioned the i n t e n t i o n of not having any children at a l l . Three percent were w i l l i n g to influence opinions--a lower percentage than those w i l l i n g to influence opinions on race r e l a t i o n s . This r e f l e c t s the f e e l i n g we noticed e a r l i e r that family size seems a more p r i v a t e and i n d i v i d u a l matter. Confirming t h i s I s the lack of any support f o r " i n f l u e n c i n g the government," or organized group action.
87 In sum, three problem areas are mentioned most f r e quently by young men as things they can do something a b o u t -- p o l l u t i o n , race r e l a t i o n s , and population growth. I t i s scarcely s u r p r i s i n g t o f i n d these problems mentioned -most o f t e n -- b u t i t i s s u r p r i s i n g to f i n d that each one i s mentioned by no-more than one-third of the respondents. More s u r p r i s i n g , and disconcerting, i s the' f a c t that almost one-quarter of the young men i n our sample apparently f e l t that they could not make a personal c o n t r i b u t i o n to solving any major n a t i o n a l problem. Perhaps they were overwhelmed by the idea of a "national problem" and thought I t a b i t presumptious to say that t h e i r own e f f o r t s would r e a l l y help solve any problem on a national scale. But the more troublesome p o s s i b i l i t y I s the one suggested I n the chapter on population growth--there may be a fundamental f a i l u r e to perceive the l i n k between i n d i v i d u a l actions and s o c i e t a l outcomes.
CHAPTER 10 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS The primary source of data f o r t h i s special report I s a survey of young men conducted i n the early summer of 1970. A d d i t i o n a l information has been Included from e a r l i e r surveys o f the same respondents, from other surveys of youth, and from several surveys of adults. Occasionally we have found some differences between men and women, and between boys and g i r l s ; however, the s i m i l a r i t i e s have been greater than the differences. Accordingly, we consider t h i s a report about the views of youth, rather than young men only. Summary o f Major F i n d i n g s Young people i n mid-1970 rated Vietnam as the numberone-problem facing the United States. When asked what to do about our Involvement I n Vietnam, a majority favored plans that would have removed a l l U. S. troops by the end of 1971. A series of questions asked f i r s t i n 1969 and repeated i n 1970 revealed that dissent over Vietnam p o l i c i e s had increased during the year; the increase occurred p r i m a r i l y among those who spent that year i n higher education. This increase i n dissent was not l i m i t e d to young people, however. Gallup p o l l data reveal that adults during the same period became increasingly f r u s t r a t e d w i t h the war and eager to get out. 89
90 A r e l a t e d problem mentioned by a number of respondents can be l a b e l l e d "national u n i t y " or the "morale of the n a t i o n . " Data collected on four d i f f e r e n t occasions from 1966 to 1970 reveal a gradual increase i n mistrust and cynicism about government. Surveys of adults i n 1964 and 1970 reveal a p a r a l l e l Increase i n m i s t r u s t ; moreover, the o v e r a l l l e v e l of mistrust and a l i e n a t i o n seems higher among adults. During roughly the same p e r i o d , 1965 t o 1969, a l a r g e s h i f t i n support for the eighteen-year-old vote occurred among young people. Among male high school seniors the l e v e l of support increased from 50 percent i n 1965 to 80 percent i n 1969 (and remained at the same l e v e l I n 1970). Support f o r the eighteen-year-old vote was highest among those who strongly disagreed w i t h U. S. p o l i c y i n Vietnam. Young people, f a r from dropping out of the p o l i t i c a l process, apparently are eager f o r a larger r o l e i n i t . Frequently mentioned as a n a t i o n a l problem was race r e l a t i o n s . The impression gained from open-ended interview comments i s that young men see t h i s as a major n a t i o n a l problem, but they do not f e e l that f u r t h e r government action i s the s o l u t i o n . The most prominent suggestions involved i n d i v i d u a l good w i l l . An examination of r a c i a l a t t i t u d e scales showed differences r e l a t e d to educational a s p i r a tions and attainments. Among whites, h i g h school dropouts were least w i l l i n g to admit the existence of widespread r a c i a l d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , and most l i k e l y t o e x h i h l t d i s c r i m i natory a t t i t u d e s themselves; those who entered college were most aware of r a c i a l i n j u s t i c e , most supportive of government a c t i o n to reverse such i n j u s t i c e s , and least l i k e l y to
91 display discriminatory a t t i t u d e s themselves. Changes i n r a c i a l attitudes occurred during the f i r s t year of college, but some o f the differences summarized above were apparent before high school graduation--those planning to go t o college tend to have s l i g h t l y more l i b e r a l views on race relations. When asked about crime and violence, many young men i n our sample seemed to favor firmer action by police and courts. Some recommended increased numbers of policemen, improvement i n t h e i r t r a i n i n g , and improved equipment. Some addressed themselves to the root causes o f crime and violence; they suggested changes i n education, more job t r a i n i n g , more jobs, b e t t e r housing, and the l i k e . P o l l u t i o n was rated as extremely or very important by 79 percent of the respondents i n our study, lhe solutions they proposed present an i n t e r e s t i n g p a r a l l e l t o those o f f e r e d to deal w i t h crime and violence. A large number mentioned stronger penalties and s t r i c t e r enforcement o f laws. As i n the case of crime and violence, nearly h a l f of the sample urged more government action I n combatting pollution. The young men i n our study seemed a b i t less aware of the problem posed by population growth, i n contrast t o t h e i r concern about p o l l u t i o n . Nevertheless, 64 percent rated the problem extremely or very important when they were asked about i t . Proposed solutions to population growth most often were to encourage contraception. About one i n ten suggested government action to l e g i s l a t e l i m i t s on f a m i l y size or apply higher taxes t o large f a m i l i e s , etc.
92 I t appeared that many respondents simply had not made the connection between t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l behavior and population growth. When asked what they could do personally about the problems under discussion, less than one i n four said he could do something about population growth. When asked about the possible advantages and disadvantages of preferred family size, the only appreciable mention of disadvantages involved economic considerations--17 percent f e l t t h a t t h e i r preferred family size might be l a r g e r than they could a f f o r d . Nevertheless, when t h e i r a t t e n t i o n was drawn s p e c i f i c a l l y to the l i n k between personal family size and population growth, nearly two-thirds agreed or mostly agreed w i t h the statement, " I f e e l strongly enough about preventing overpopulation that I'd be w i l l i n g t o l i m i t my family t o two c h i l d r e n . " Of course, a t t i t u d e s about population c o n t r o l and personal family planning are of limited importance without some rudimentary knowledge about contraception. A short quiz indicated that knowledge i n t h i s area i s rather l i m i t e d -- a t l e a s t when i t comes t o c o r r e c t l y i d e n t i f y i n g reproductive organs or b i r t h c o n t r o l methods. A m a j o r i t y had never taken a class u n i t on sex education i n high school, and most wished t h a t they could have. An overwhelming majority of a l l respondents favored high school courses dealing w i t h sex and contraception, and government e f f o r t s t o make b i r t h c o n t r o l information and contraceptives available to anyone wanting them. When asked about the problem of hunger and poverty, many of the young men i n our sample favored d i r e c t a i d t o the poor i n the form of surplus food, revised welfare systems,
93 improved education, and help i n f i n d i n g jobs. Fifteen percent s p e c i f i c a l l y called f o r changes i n n a t i o n a l p r i o r i t i e s , c i t i n g Vietnam, the m i l i t a r y , and space exploration as areaa t h a t should be de-emphasized I n order to spend more on domestic problems. When asked to rate the importance of the "chance of nuclear war," only 35 percent rated I t extremely or very I m p o r t a n t -- a f a r lower percentage than f o r any of the other problem areas rated. Many young men seemed to f e e l that a nuclear stalemate has been reached and that "no one Is stupid enough to k i l l everyone." This r e l a t i v e l y low concern about nuclear war contrasts sharply w i t h Che strong concerns and growing opposition focused on events i n Southeast Asia; Vietnam i s a clear and present danger, e s p e c i a l l y f o r young men, whereas the danger of a nuclear holocaust i s apparently more abstract and remote. Conclusions A number of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s and conclusions have been offered throughout this special report. In this f i n a l s e c t i o n we w i l l look at j u s t two or three questions about the way youth look at society, and the way they are l i k e l y to f i t into society. Are young people ready to drop out of "the system"-- or try to overthrow it? We can answer w i t h a phrase borrowed from the recent Life (1971) p o l l of youth: "Change, yes. Revolution, no." Young people are d i s s a t i s f i e d w i t h government i n a number of ways, and t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n has been growing i n recent years. But we do not Cake t h i s to be evidence f o r a generation gap, since adults are also
94 increasingly d i s s a t i s f i e d w i t h government. As we said i n Chapter 3, perhaps the greater differences between youth and a d u l t s l i e i n t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s (and opportunities) t o engage i n a c t i v i s t demonstrations of t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n s , thus providing the i l l u s i o n of a larger gap between the generations than i n fact exists. One b i t of evidence i n d i c a t i n g that most young people feel they should work w i t h i n the present p o l i t i c a l structure is the increased support for the eighteen-year-old vote that occurred between 1965 and 1969. A change from 50 percent to 80 percent support among high school seniors i n j u s t four years represents a dramatic s h i f t indeed. In the recent Life (1971) p o l l , only 3 percent indicated they would refuse to vote i n the next election f o r which they were e l i g i b l e . These f i n d i n g s c e r t a i n l y are not consistent w i t h the view that large numbers of young people are dropping out of society. Given the events of the l a t e 1960's--the increased Involvement i n Vietnam and the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther K i n g -- i t i s scarcely s u r p r i s i n g to f i n d young people increasingly d i s s a t i s f i e d and concerned w i t h n a t i o n a l u n i t y . What i s perhaps most s t r i k i n g , as we noted i n Chapter 3, i s the f a c t that they are not more cynical and alienated. When t h e i r views are compared w i t h those of adults, today's young people are not ready t o give up on t h e i r country. They share w i t h t h e i r elders an Increasing impatience w i t h government, but they have not dropped out. They want to have a part i n shaping the nation's f u t u r e -- i n d e e d , they may f e e l an increasingly desperate need to do so.
95 Now t h a t r e c e n t l e g i s l a t i o n and c o u r t d e c i s i o n s h a v e granted the franchise i n national elections to those e i g h t e e n and o l d e r , youth have a new o p p o r t u n i t y f o r i n v o l v e ment i n n a t i o n a l i s s u e s and problems. I t thus becomes a m a t t e r o f g r e a t i n t e r e s t to know what t h e s e new v o t e r s w i l l be l i k e . Are young people very different from adults in their political views? They seem not to be, a t l e a s t i n t e r m s o f t h e i r p o l i t i c a l p a r t y a f f i l i a t i o n o r t h e i r s t a n d on t h e c e n t r a l p o l i t i c a l i s s u e of the Vietnam war. T h e i r a t t i t u d e s on V i e t n a m a r e a b i t more " d o v i s h " t h a n those of a d u l t s , b u t the d i f f e r e n c e s a r e not large. Moreover, i t appears that both young people and a d u l t s a r e growing i n c r e a s i n g l y eager for disengagement i n Southeast Asia, suggesting that i n this a r e a t h e v i e w o f y o u t h today may be t h e p o s i t i o n of a d u l t s tomorrow. The p o l i t i c a l party p r e f e r e n c e s of young people a r e a l s o not v e r y d i f f e r e n t from those of a d u l t s , except that a l a r g e r proportion of young people are undecided or independent. Roughly 30 percent express a p r e f e r e n c e f o r the Democratic P a r t y , w h i l e 20 p e r c e n t p r e f e r the Republican P a r t y . How well-prepared are young people to deal with major national problems? The answer t o t h i s q u e s t i o n i s m i x e d . On one h a n d , some of t h e i n t e r v i e w r e s p o n s e s we h a v e s e e n c l e a r l y r e f l e c t a r t i c u l a t e and well-informed opinions about n a t i o n a l p r o b l e m s . B u t on t h e o t h e r hand, we found a number o f young men who d i d n o t h a v e o p i n i o n s on i m p o r t a n t n a t i o n a l i s s u e s , and o b v i o u s l y had not given them any s e r i o u s thought. I t i s discouraging to note that only about h a l f of the h i g h s c h o o l s e n i o r s i n 1969 c o u l d name one of the U n i t e d
96 States Senators from t h e i r s t a t e , and only one-third could name both. This s o r t of f i n d i n g , along w i t h others mentioned i n t h i s r e p o r t , suggests that much work remains to be done I n educating young people 'for the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of c i t i z e n s h i p . This i s not meant to Imply that the youth we have been studying are less well-informed than t h e i r p a r e n t s -- t h a t may not be the case. But surely we could be doing a b e t t e r job of educating our young c i t i z e n s . Perhaps the advent of the eighteen-year-old vote w i l l provide an opportunity and an i n c e n t i v e f o r high schools to educate young people about n a t i o n a l problems and t h e i r own r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e a f o r dealing w i t h them.
97 BIBLIOGRAPHY Bachman, J. G., Kahn, R. L., Mednick, M. T., Davidson, T. N., & Johnston, L. D. Youth in Transition^ Volume I: Blueprint for a Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Boys. Ann Arbor: Survey Research Center, I n s t i t u t e f o r Social Research, 1967. Bachman, J. G. Youth in Transition^ Volume Tl: The Impact of Family Background and Intelligence on Tenth-Grade Boys. Ann Arbor: Survey Research Center, I n s t i t u t e f o r Social Research, 1970. Beck, P. A. & Jennings, M. K. Lowering the Voting Age: The Case of the Reluctant Electorate. The Public Opinion Quarterly. F a l l , 1969, 33, 370-379. Burleson, D. Memorandum on the Twenty-one Essential Readings i n Population Education. Chapel H i l l : The U n i v e r s i t y of North Carolina, December 16, 1970. Bryant, B. E. High School Students Look at Their World. Columbus, Ohio: R. H. Goettler and Assoc., 1970. Campbell, A. & Schuman, H. Racial Attitudes in Fifteen American Cities. Ann Arbor: Survey Research Center, I n s t i t u t e f o r Social Research, 1968. Converse, P. E. & Schuman, H. "Silent M a j o r i t i e s " and the Vietnam War. Scientific Americany June, 1970, 222 ( 6 ) , 17-25.
98 E r l i c k , A. C. People Problems; Population, Pollution, Prejudice, Poverty, Peace, Report of Poll 89% the Purdue Opinion Panel, June 1370. Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue U n i v e r s i t y , 1970. Gallup I n t e r n a t i o n a l , Inc. The Gallup Opinion Index; Political, Social and Economic Trends. Jan.-March, June 5, 1970, 55-57, 60. Johnston, J. & Bachman, J. G. Young Men Look at military service: A Preliminary Report. Ann Arbor: Survey Research Center, I n s t i t u t e f o r Social Research, 1970. Johnston, J. The Future Soldier: A P r o f i l e of Today's Youth. Paper presented at the conference on Current Trends i n Array Social Work, Denver, Colorado, 1970. Life. A New Youth P o l l : Change, Yes--Upheaval, No. ( P o l l conducted by Louis Harris and Assoc.) Jan. 8, 1971, Vol. 70 ( 1 ) , 22-30.
C1 IURV EYMKE8EA RCH; CEN TE R INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN