Women and black students less likely to defend free speech

If you think the headline is provocative, that is because the facts are provoking.

Inclusivity is more important than speech, a majority of students say.

When forced to choose, a small majority of college students say inclusivity is more important than free speech, though they widely believe in the importance of both to democracy.

Diverse and inclusive society                       Protecting free speech

All                                                          53                         46
Men                                                       39                         61
Women                                                 64                         35
Whites                                                   47                         52
Blacks                                                    68                         31
At historically black institutions      53                         46
Democrats                                            66                         34
Independents                                       49                         50
Republicans                                          30                         60

The full report is given here.

Michael Barone comments:

So the difference between male and female students may reflect different power positions, with those most at risk of proscription more favorably disposed toward free speech. It may also reflect differences between male and female temperaments on average. Psychological studies over many years conclude that women tend to prize agreeableness and consensus, while men tend to seek out conflict and competition. One can easily imagine evolutionary explanations for this group difference, which of course would not be apparent in every individual.

Female students’ willingness to subordinate free speech to political values is disturbing, in a time when habits of mind and behavior developed on campus tend to leach out to the larger society.

Technical details:
Results for the college student sample are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 3,072 U.S. college students, aged 18 to 24, who are currently enrolled as full-time students at four-year colleges. Gallup selected a random sample of 240 U.S. four-year colleges, drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), that were stratified by college enrollment size, public or private affiliation, and region of the country.

 

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