Event Title

Changing Perceptions on Immigrants in Contemporary America: Evidence from the General Social Survey

Presenter Information

Eboni Ford, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor

Maria Aysa-Lastra, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Sociology and Anthropology

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 114

Start Date

24-4-2015 1:35 PM

Description

The emerging literature on immigrant criminalization indicates that federal and state policies toward immigrants as well as media coverage are having negative effects on the perceptions of Americans toward persons who were born abroad and now reside in the United States. This is particularly salient after 9/11. In this paper, we compare data on natives’ perceptions of immigrants before and after 9/11. We used data from the General Social Survey in 1996, 2000 and 2004 to explore two particular and related variables: perceptions on the effects on immigrants in the availability of jobs and perception of immigrants on crime. Our findings indicated that there are increasing negative perceptions of immigrants on crime but not on job availability. After September 11, 2001, we observe negative perceptions about immigrants. Rousseau argues that “many sociopolitical events can significantly alter stereotypes of discrimination, and numerous studies have reported increases in discrimination toward Arabs and Muslim minorities in the Western world since the events of September 11, 2001” (2011).

MacDonald, Hipp, and Gill show that back in 1931 there was no indication that immigrants increased crime patterns (2013). However, in this contemporary sample, we observe increased negative discrimination against immigrants compared to the recent past. In conclusion, our findings suggest that public opinion produces negative perceptions on immigrants. The media was a contributing factor as it has fueled negative stigma on immigrants (Massey 2012).

Comments

Presented at the Southern Sociological Society Conference, March 2015

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Apr 24th, 1:35 PM

Changing Perceptions on Immigrants in Contemporary America: Evidence from the General Social Survey

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 114

The emerging literature on immigrant criminalization indicates that federal and state policies toward immigrants as well as media coverage are having negative effects on the perceptions of Americans toward persons who were born abroad and now reside in the United States. This is particularly salient after 9/11. In this paper, we compare data on natives’ perceptions of immigrants before and after 9/11. We used data from the General Social Survey in 1996, 2000 and 2004 to explore two particular and related variables: perceptions on the effects on immigrants in the availability of jobs and perception of immigrants on crime. Our findings indicated that there are increasing negative perceptions of immigrants on crime but not on job availability. After September 11, 2001, we observe negative perceptions about immigrants. Rousseau argues that “many sociopolitical events can significantly alter stereotypes of discrimination, and numerous studies have reported increases in discrimination toward Arabs and Muslim minorities in the Western world since the events of September 11, 2001” (2011).

MacDonald, Hipp, and Gill show that back in 1931 there was no indication that immigrants increased crime patterns (2013). However, in this contemporary sample, we observe increased negative discrimination against immigrants compared to the recent past. In conclusion, our findings suggest that public opinion produces negative perceptions on immigrants. The media was a contributing factor as it has fueled negative stigma on immigrants (Massey 2012).