More Tolerance For Differences A Good Resolution For New Year


As we move towards 2011, a recent study on America’s diversity attitudes shows that the country is not quite prepared to usher out all forms of discrimination along with the past year.

In fact, USA Network’s second annual “United or Divided” diversity poll yielded much the same results as the “Characters Welcome” network’s first survey in 2009:  Americas believe racial prejudice is still a troubling issue for the country, but are unsure exactly what to do about it.

Americans surveyed gave the country a grade of C or below when it comes to a myriad of discrimination issues, whether it be racial prejudice, providing rights to gays and lesbians, promoting religious tolerance or preventing hate crimes.

Overall, 59% of Americans believe that amount of intolerance, discrimination and prejudice that exists in the USA is a very or fairly serious problem, up 8% since last year’s survey, which is part of the network’s “Characters United” diversity initiative.

Further, 61% percent said that the amount of division and lack of unity in the country has changed for the worse in the last decade, compared to 55% in last year’s survey.  More than half of respondents blame the economic recession for America’s less tolerant attitudes towards those who are different.

Yet there’s no majority consensus on how much more effort needs to be afforded to rectify the situation. For example, nearly 50% of those surveyed said that the country has already gone far enough or has struck the right balance in providing rights to gays and lesbians, and 62% believe that Americans are too tolerant of illegal immigrants.

So what can be done to rectify the situation? NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios president Bonnie Hammer said that Americans have to “get out our comfort zone and reach across the divide with understanding and respect.”

Not a bad resolution for the New Year.