The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas on December 2, 1982 · Page 11
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The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas · Page 11

Baytown, Texas
Issue Date:
Thursday, December 2, 1982
Page 11
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Page 11 article text (OCR)

Poll Shows Prejudice Is Decreasing Rv H AD0DT ru iramm i »» »-. .... __ THE BAYTOWN SUN Thursday, December 2, 1982 3-B By ROBERT DiVBROU Copley News Service . It may seem as though prejudice in America* is increasing, but it isn't, says Dr. Donald McEvoy, senior vice president and national program director for the National Conference of Christians and Jews. McEvoy says the Harris, Yankelovich and other polls show that the intensity of racial and religious prejudice in America has decreased over the past several decades, but that in the last 2Vfe yeard cross-burnings, swastika-paintings, vandalism and other manifestations of prejudice have increased. "My reading of that is while the statistics of persons who have racist and anti-Semitic attitudes are on the decrease, there seems to be more acting out of such attitudes by that small minority," said McEvoy. McEvoy said the outbreaks are directed primarily against blacks, and Jews, but also are aimed at Hispanics and recent Oriental immigrants. He said the Ku Klux Klan and neo- Nazi groups are still active, but that their numbers have decreased dramatically. "At this time there are probably no more, at the very outside, than 12,000 dues : paying, card- carrying Ku Klux Klanners or neo- Nazis in the country," McEvoy said. "It's still a serious number, but about 10 years ago the number was 10 times that and back in the 1920s there were at least 5 million Ku Klux Klanners. It's really a rather small, insignificant movement, one we have to watch carefully, but I don't think we ought to panic. "Anti-Catholicism persists, but only in pockets,' " McEvoy said. "The intensity and breadth of anti- Catholic feeling on the part of the white Protestant majority has diminished greatly over the years," he said. "We've made tremendous progress in that area and there are many respects in which Catholicism may be the real mainline Christian or religious group in America today. "It's the largest denomination and generally accepted, although there are still pockets of really vicious and primitive kinds of anti- Catholicism." McEvoy said a series of comic books published by Chick Publications Inc. of Chino, Calif. — a series some have called anti-Catholic — was "the kind of stuff I thought had been laid to rest 25 or 30 years ago." He said those who harbor prejudice tend to display their feelings more "as their numbers decrease because they see things kind of slipping away from them. The other thing is that many hardcore bigots have misread the nature of the times and think it's safe and acceptable to be going public again." He said, that hard economic times also tend to promote public outbursts of prejudice, but that this has not seemed to have attracted many Americans to the Klan. "Even during the past two years when unemployment has become such a problem, Klan membership has not grown to the extent I would have anticipated it would. It's still a relatively small group." "I think we will have a difficult time in the next decade coming to terms with the meaning of the new immigration," he said. "We've always been a nation that ac- cepted immigrants. We have a kind of romantic idea about that, that everybody was accepted with open arms whereas that really hasn't been the case, although we have provided everybody with the opportunity to start at the bottom and crawl their way up. "Most of the immigration of the past was at least of European stock while the new wave of immigration is black and Hispanic and Asian and I think there are some people who are simply very fearful that America may be in the process of becoming a non-white country. "I think that's going to cause us to confront some real inter group difficulties." McEvoy said the religious community is one of the best im- struments for promoting racial and religious harmony. "Prejudice is a real challenge to the religious community and I certainly would hope church groups would make every kind of impact they can in promoting an understanding of different cultures and providing the kind of hospitality that'll make it possible for this new transition to take place without undue discord." Much of the appeal of groups like the Klan comes from whites who feel left behind and out of the mainstream, McEvoy said. "Their leaders are charlatans, but a lot of people who get caught up in that sort of thing are people worried about their jobs and financial security or who have emotional insecurity and a great need for acceptance, " he said. "I think a more j ust society all the way round and a moving economy with full employment will take care of that." Il lakes so little. It means so much. 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Abashed Commerce Department economists sent out the word shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday that the leading indicators had risen just 0.2 percent in October, only one-third of the 0.6 percent gain officials had announced at 10 a.m. The index, designed to forecast future trends of the entire national economy, is always news in economic circles. And the economy — mired in a 16-month recession — is big news in even wider circles these days. So, in the minutes and hours after the first annoucement, repdrters had reported the news, newspapers had printed it, analysts had analyzed it, perhaps a few business decisions had been made because of it. On Wall Street, the Dow-Jones Industrial Average rose 36.43 points, the • fourth- biggest one-day increase in history — though analysts didn't credit that gain to the news on the indicators. While all this was happening, according to Commerce officials, a few economists in that federal building were wondering why the increase had been higher than they had expected. On Monday, The Associated Press had run a few officials' guesses that the gain would be only 0.2 percent or 0.3 percent. Chief Commerce economist Robert Ortner explained that Ted Torda, another department economist who specializes in the leading indicators, pored over the figures, and he finally found one component that didn't look right: October's orders to factories for consumer goods. They were down but not nearly as much as expected. After several phone calls back and forth be 'ween Torda and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Commerce agency that actually puts the figures together, the mystery was solved. Yes, factory orders should have been down sharply in October. And that change meant the overall index rose only 0.2 percent. It was already close to 4 p.m., Ortner said, denying that news of the correction was held back until after the 4 p.m. stock market closing. ' ' We let the secretary (Malcolm Baldrige) know; he said get the correction out instantly," Ortner said. No one at Commerce was saying who made the original mistake or what might happen to him or her. Apparently the employee was not added to the nation's already long unemployment rolls — at least not yet. One official, asking not to be named, said the mistake was this simple: Someone used a September figure for orders rather thSn a worse October one. The government routinely revises its statistics when later and better information becomes available. 1900 GARTH ROAD E. T. Store Drawing Crowds LOS ANGELES (AP)' — Children thought the merchandise was out of this world as parents emptied their wallets for E.T. suitcases, E.T. underwear and E.T. running shoes at an exhibit and store named for the extraterrestrial film star. "I'm going to get out of here $50 lighter than when I came in," Marv Kappenman, of Eugene, Ore., said Friday as his daughter and two sons dragged him through the "E.T. Earth Center" at Universal Studios. "The kids are all wild about the E.T. and saw the movie three times." More than 5,000 people crowded into the 13,000-square- foot, tent-like structure in the first two hours after it opened Friday, said Steve Lew, chief operations officer for Universal Studios tours. In the exhibits, children can pick up phones to hear E.T. talk, see a mockup of E.T.'s spacecraft, and play E.T. video games. , The merchandise was the biggest star, however, with stuffed and leathery dolls, snack trays, lunch pails, plates and eating utensils, all emblazoned with the big-eyed space creature.' You name it, they sell it, with E.T. on it — pencils, erasers, notepads, portfolios, pencil cases, diaries, knapsacks, small suitcases, pillows, sheets, blankets and comforters. 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