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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Survey for Mormons about Mormons and Race, What Next?

Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune has outdone herself. Last week, you may recall, she wrote an article about how to properly categorize Mormons. To which I responded, Classification of Mormons is Ridiculous! This week her article is even worse -or better, depending on the scale you use.

This week her article advertises for Mormons - particularly conservative Mormons - to participate in an unscientific survey titled "Mormon Beliefs About Persons of African Descent." This survey is constructed by an LDS social scientist, but there are no safeguards on the survey to ensure that participation really is from LDS people, or that questions are answered honestly in general. This question, while certainly an interesting one, is being asked specifically at a time there is a Mormon candidate for president. The survey author, Darron Smith, admits this is an unscientific survey, yet says:
"The study is a pilot project to assess where members of the LDS faith are in respects to their feelings about race,” Smith writes in an email. “The survey should in no way be construed as an 'official LDS Church' endorsed initiative. Instead it was intended as a fun project to see how we are doing in respect to race in the faith.”
Fun project for him, no doubt. And I don't think that he or the media will find evidence of rampant racism, which is not taught in the LDS Church. For a good article on race and the priesthood, go here (at Breitbart).

Here is the problem, as I see it, with this survey and Peggy Fletcher Stack's invitation. Not only are there not any safeguards against tampering with the data by pretending to be LDS, etc, asking this question during campaign season is inappropriate, at best! Any results we see from this data are going to be skewed. No matter what it shows or doesn't show about Mormons' attitudes towards African Americans, the media will spin this as "Romney is racist" or "Mormons are racist like Romney" - just because it is election year and they have to smear Obama's opponent and prop Obama up. Just like they spin job numbers and economic data to be pro-Obama, as much as they possibly can. Just like they don't report things against Obama.

So this survey asks a fair question. But we will not see a fair answer from it.

If you want to participate in the survey itself (and take your chances or skew the data for them) then use the link to the article up top.

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