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September 18, 2006

white, republican, suburban male with no college degree

So this morning I grabbed a cup of coffee and the laptop to check the daily headlines.

Top on the list was an article in the Rocky Mountain News reporting on a poll it had conducted with CBS 4 Denver on the immigration issue. The poll really didn't shed any new light on anything for me... It found that "Nearly two of every three Colorado voters think illegal immigrants should be allowed to become U.S. citizens if they pay taxes, learn English and meet other requirements" and that "Only 15 percent of those polled favor mass deportations."

That "there's a silent majority that is supportive of a more middle-ground approach."

That "illegal immigration remains a top concern among the state's voters and will be a key issue in the governor's race." (one reason Bill Ritter is getting my vote).

That Bob Beauprez will need to "take advantage of the issue", yet as he raises the issue will "have to defend his record in Congress on this issue." (one reason he is not getting my vote)

That "Voters clearly see that there's more to do on this issue."

And that "61 percent said they support an earned citizenship approach, allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the country and eventually become citizens if they meet certain requirements."

Yada yada yada. We already know this.

But then buried deep into the otherwise unenlightening article, they threw in this statistic: "The typical voter who listed illegal immigration as the top issue this election is a suburban, white, Republican man without a college degree."


Posted by almamia at September 18, 2006 8:03 AM


Perhaps there is a correlation between experiencing discrimination and reaching Lawrence Kohlbergs "postconventional morality" level of reasoning.

Posted by: Anna at September 18, 2006 12:34 PM

Sounds profound, but I'm not familiar with Kohlberg.

Would you care to elaborate?

It has been said that the labor group most affected by immigrant labor is that of those with no college degree (if I recall correctly). My guess is that men are impacted in greater numbers than women, so perhaps that contributes to these results.

I imagine men with no post-secondary education tend to go into the trades and factory jobs -- where many immigrant men also end up. I imagine that the women with no college education have broader options -- office work, bank tellers, stay-at-home moms, etc. I can't imagine too many are wanting to work in restaurant kitchens or in hotel housekeeping -- where many immigrant women work.

Posted by: Alma Mia at September 18, 2006 1:04 PM

I'll try to elaborate, but it might be tough to keep from getting long winded!

Lawrence Kohlberg conducted a study on moral judgement beginning in the 1960's at Harvard University's Center for Moral Education. I won't give a lot of the specifics of the study, but it involved boys aged 6 to 16 in the United States, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey and the Yucatan. He presented them with a number of stories involving a moral dilema.

Based on the responses, he proposed that children follow a universal course from self-interest to principled behavior described by three levels of moral development. Those levels are:
7-10 years - "preconventional level" where rules are obeyed based on expectations of punishment and reward.
Around age 10 - "conventional level" where behavior is guided by opinions of other people and a desire to conform, obeying becomes a value in itself without reference either to punishment or reward.
Sometime during adolescence, a few develop beyond the conventional level to the third level - "postconventional morality", where abstract moral principles are formed and acted on to satisfy his own conscience, rather than to gain approval of others. Reasoning is based on abstract concepts such as freedom, dignity, justice and respect for life. Kohlbergs work with older boys and young men showed that fewer than 10% of them offered clear level three responses.

The main criticism of Kohlbergs work is his exclusion of females. A student of his, Carol Gilligan, addressed this oversight in 1982, based on her theory that he had extracted only an "ethic of justice" because he limited his work to males. Her interviews with women showed they were more concerned with the "caring" thing to do, or an "ethic of caring".

(If you're interested in learning more, I'm sure you could find plenty of resources just by googling his name!)

Posted by: Anna at September 19, 2006 2:07 AM

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