Are you white? Do you own a gun?
Well, then you’re a racist.
The Huffington Post says so. Loudly and with little room for argument.
HuffPo cites a study published in an obscure little journal called Plos One. The study is entitled “Racism, Gun Ownership and Gun Control: Biased Attitudes in US Whites May Influence Policy Decisions” and here is how it was performed:
The most recent data from the American National Election Study, a large representative US sample, was used to test relationships between racism, gun ownership, and opposition to gun control in US whites. Explanatory variables known to be related to gun ownership and gun control opposition (i.e., age, gender, education, income, conservatism, anti-government sentiment, southern vs. other states, political identification) were entered in logistic regression models, along with measures of racism, and the stereotype of blacks as violent. Outcome variables included; having a gun in the home, opposition to bans on handguns in the home, support for permits to carry concealed handguns. (source)
So if you are a white conservative Southerner who isn’t too thrilled with the government, you are the study’s target racist, apparently. Add that to owning a gun and/or supporting the Second Amendment, and you are clearly only a step away from a white sheet, pointy hat, and a burning cross.
Are you personally offended yet? Wait, there’s more.
After accounting for all explanatory variables, logistic regressions found that for each 1 point increase in symbolic racism there was a 50% increase in the odds of having a gun at home. After also accounting for having a gun in the home, there was still a 28% increase in support for permits to carry concealed handguns, for each one point increase in symbolic racism. The relationship between symbolic racism and opposition to banning handguns in the home (OR1.27 CI 1.03,1.58) was reduced to non-significant after accounting for having a gun in the home (OR1.17 CI.94,1.46), which likely represents self-interest in retaining property (guns).
Symbolic racism was related to having a gun in the home and opposition to gun control policies in US whites. The findings help explain US whites’ paradoxical attitudes towards gun ownership and gun control. Such attitudes may adversely influence US gun control policy debates and decisions. (source)
Note that last line. The study sets up gun control as the positive outcome. Read this sentence again (emphasis mine).
Such attitudes may adversely influence US gun control policy debates and decisions.
So a biased study is naming people as …um… biased.
Speaking of bias, here is Huffington Post’s authoritative summary of the study:
The study noted that whites are twice as likely to own guns as blacks, and oppose gun control to a far greater extent. Unsurprisingly, “stronger Republican identification, being from a southern state and anti-government sentiment were associated with opposition to gun-control policies,” though not with having a gun in the home.
If you are wondering where you stand, the Symbolic Racism Scale is a nifty little survey that can tell you if you are a racist or not in 8 easy questions:
1. It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.
2. Irish, Italian, Jewish and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same.
3. Some say that black leaders have been trying to push too fast. Others feel that they haven’t pushed fast enough. What do you think?
4. How much of the racial tension that exists in the United States today do you think blacks are responsible for creating?
5. How much discrimination against blacks do you feel there is in the United States today, limiting their chances to get ahead?
6. Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.
7. Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve.
8. Over the past few years, blacks have gotten more economically than they deserve
The study does not say whether you can “cure” yourself of racism by getting rid of your guns. Perhaps that will be the next federally funded expenditure.
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