May 29, 2011

Nobody knows nothing

Karl Smith and Kevin Drum point to a new Gallup Poll asking "Just your best guess, what percentage of Americans today are gay or lesbian?" The mean guess was a ridiculous 24.6%. Only 4% said less than 5%, which is probably the best guess.

Polling companies seldom ask questions on which people can make obvious fools of themselves, since those can raise questions about the value of opinion polls.

Looking at the demographic crosstabs, it's evident that low intelligence people were most likely to wildly overestimate the percentage of homosexuals: 53% of people making under $30,000 annually said that at least 25% of the population was gay, and 47% of those with no more than a high school education. 43% of Democrats versus 24% of Republicans got the question wildly wrong.

In general, people are terrible at estimating or remembering demographic statistics. A 2001 Gallup survey, right after the release of 2000 Census results, found that the average American estimated that 33% of the population was black and 29% were Hispanic. That adds up to 62%, but who's counting? Not most people.

In that 2001 survey, nonwhites estimated that 40% of the population was black and 35% was Hispanic (adding up to 75%). In contrast, people claiming postgraduate degrees estimated that 25% were black and 24% Hispanic (only about double the Census numbers), which proves the value of advanced education.

Here, roughly, is how people think: You ask somebody how many Americans are Hispanic and they think of that guy on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s saying "Beisbol been berry berry good to me." And what's more American than baseball? And there are a lot of Latin ballplayers. But the guy on SNL who said that was black. So that means there are a lot of guys who are black comedians and also a lot of guys who are Hispanic baseball players. 

Something that people almost never do is think about fields in which the group they are being asked about is rarely represented. If you ask people about gays, they think about fashion designers, musical actors, Republican politicians, interior decorators, and the like. They don't think about, say, oil company engineers or baseball players.

Four years ago on iSteve, I asked "Where are the famous old gay baseball players?

Baseball players are extremely famous. I have a book by Bill James that lists his picks of the top 900 baseball players of all time, and I'd heard of the large majority of them, plus most of his picks for the next 225 best players. I could tell you facts about well over 500 baseball players.

I pointed out that while I had heard of two minor major league players were gay, I had never heard of a famous player who turned out to be gay. I said I'm sure I'm not aware of some, but I would suspect that no more than 1.0% of famous baseball players were homosexual. 

This is not to say that baseball players are representative of the general population. I'm just saying that famous baseball players are one intensely studied group, of which very few turn out have been gay.

I'd heard lots of rumors over the years, but most of them were obvious gay fantasies about handsome, manly athletes like Mike Piazza and Sandy Koufax (The elegant and taciturn Koufax, who grew up the son of a rabbi in Brooklyn, has lived most of his post-retirement life in conservative small rural towns with his various wives and girlfriends, which would be an extremely improbable choice of locales for a gay Jewish celebrity.) 

However, a number of commenters pointed to one famous old baseball player as not being publicly out of the closet, but his homosexuality being open knowledge. He's not a Hall of Famer but he's definitely one of the top 500 players of all time. I won't put his name here, but if you are interested, you can make your guess, then go look at the comments to my 2007 post and see if your guess matches up.

The funny thing is that I'd never heard rumors about him, probably because he's not the kind of individual to excite gay fantasies: not a great athlete but instead a highly skilled craftsman. He's a best-case scenario for a stereotypical gay athlete: famously charming, cultivated, fastidious, sociable, does lots of charity work: a gentleman. 

He went straight from high school to the majors, but seems like a college-educated player. I once wrote a spec screenplay for an HBO sports comedy show and modeled a basketball player on this baseball player (I hadn't heard the gay rumors yet). In my little plot, this center from Tulane had dined his way out of the NBA, packing on 20 pounds of solid fat, but was now looking forward to winding up his playing career in the Italian basketball league because of the opportunity to sample Italy's regional cuisines on road trips.

During his long career, this baseball player was fairly famous for being famous. That's because he'd do the kind of socially gracious, media-friendly things that ballplayers almost never do. For example, when traded to Montreal, he learned French, which made him hugely popular with local fans.

But his name doesn't come up much because he doesn't Shatter Stereotypes. 

82 comments:

nooffensebut said...

"Karl Smith and Kevin Drum point to a new Gallup Poll asking 'Just your best guess, what percentage of Americans today are gay or lesbian?' The mean guess was a ridiculous 24.6%. Only 4% said less than 5%, which is probably the best guess."

My dear Mr. Sailer, you are not keeping up with the fast-changing rate of being born gay. The most recent studies suggest that the percentage of womyn who are least sort-of sometimes lesbian is 15%, which is a dectupling of the rate shown in older studies. Guessing 25% might be a fair extrapolation of this rate of increase.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of stunning that people think such a severely dysgenic trait could exist in a quarter of the population.

RKU said...

I think I've seen somewhere that the average person also estimates Jews as being something like 20% of the population. So that means America is around 80% black, Hispanic, and Jewish.

I wonder if it would be possible to persuade the Chinese that 90% of the population of China was actually Caucasian, and that's why almost all the Chinese leaders also were also Caucasian. Maybe that's why the Chinese government is a little nervous about having their media and Internet dominated by foreigners.

Mike Hunt said...

I read Moneyball expecting a chapter about being a gay baseball player, but it wasn't there and there were references to an ex-wife and daughter. I thought that maybe he was another McGreevey, but then I found out I mixed up my Beans....

As for the mystery player, the only mystery is where he falls on the list of famous baseball players. He is just below HOF level. There are 205 players in the HOF. He did something in baseball that has only been done by Ty Cobb and Gary Sheffield. Plus, he had a 23 year MLB career.

Actually the mystery is, why has he been traded so many times? Given his lifestyle, it might not be such a mystery...

hbd chick said...

this is what you get when almost every tv show -- every sitcom, anyway -- and almost every hollywood movie includes at least one gay character and one black character (and, maybe, one hispanic character).

people believe that what they see on their tv screens reflects reality.

Mike Hunt said...

Also, Bill James ranks the mystery player as the 25th greatest RF of all time...

Rex Little said...

I've only heard of one gay major-league player, a guy named Billy Bean. (Not current A's GM Billy Beane.) He can't be the one you're referring to, as he certainly wasn't one of the top 500 (probably not even top 5000) of all time.

Anonymous said...

your recent vdare column suggested that there is a natural selection process at work that has selected fro conformity in americans--that conformist americans are most likely in recent times to be successful.

I agree.

But your suggestion implies a quasi-ecosystem at work.

I agree.

Also, however, just like in the 'natural ecosystems' that are the subject of TV documentaries, there are natural, environmental forces at work that act as the filter for this selection process you propose.

My question is, what are the forces that constitute this filter that causes selection?

For example, in the Arctic, the animals with thicker fur are predominantly selected for survival. The force that acts as the filter is the climate.

What is force in the american quasi-ecosystem that acts as the filter to cause people to become more conformist?

Similarly, you point out that americans seem to believe that there are a huge number of gays. This is something that is new. And quite contrary to reality, as well.
Surely, there must be a force that has caused americans to shift their opinion on the number of gays in america.

You might well answer, and I think you implied it above, that gays are a focus of popular culture. I agree. However, why what the force that caused popular culture to become so gay-oriented? Things happen for a reason. Please speculate.

Anonymous said...

How well do people do on economic statistics, like the GDP growth, or unemployment, or the prime interest rate?

Cennbeorc

anony-mouse said...

The overestimation of Blacks and Hispanics isn't quite as stupid as you make out.

The people in major Metropolitan areas (many of them immigrants who don't know their new country well) simply extrapolate what they see.

The people in, for example, rural plains areas realise they are outliers when it comes to the population of minorities and simply give their estimates of what they believe big cities are like.

Anonymous said...

Yep, people are addicted to pop culture, and they see a lot of gay people and they hear a lot of 'gay is good' message. Besides, in terms of cultural and political influence, gays are nearly 50% of the population.

Glaivester said...

Any rumors about famous athletes being asexual?

Thrasymachus said...

Mostly this is media oversaturation, obviously, but I think it also has something to do with probability of meeting a homosexual. I speculate homosexuality is more of a lower-class phenomenon than portrayed; if less common among people with graduate degrees, it is more likely to be open.

It's hard to find the truth about sex, particularly homosexuality, so who knows.

Tony said...

The chunky but talented Rusty Staub.

David said...

The answers you get will inevitably depend on the location of your correspondents. For example --

>estimated that 40% of the population was black and 35% was Hispanic (adding up to 75%)<

is a more or less accurate estimate for Orlando, FL, at least according to City Data dot com a few years ago (just reverse the NAMs).

An average dope living in Orlando and looking around would understandably tend to answer according to what he sees. Very difficult for most people to get a sense of the United States as a whole...and the national media don't help with this, since they overrepresent national diversity, at least where blacks and Jews are concerned.

The old joke about the liberal NYC columnist who was surprised by Nixon's re-election is worth bringing up in this context. The punchline is, "But no one whom I know voted for him!"

Anonymous said...

"Instead, he's a best-case scenario for a stereotypical gay athlete: famously charming, cultivated, fastidious, and sociable"

I won't look at your old post because I know it's Rusty Staub.

Staub is, according to all reports, just as you described him, "charming, cultivated, fastitidous, and sociable." To that I would add, "Charitable."

These characteristics surely went a long way in seeing to it that the sporting press didn't out him and that his teammates didn't ostracize him, at least I know of no such ostracizing of him as was done to the baseball player Billy Beane.

However, I was wondering if behind the closed doors of the locker room there were any problems with disgruntled jocks and managers. What would you guess would be the reactions of his teammates in those days?

True, as far as I know, there's no indication Staub flaunted his sexual proclivities, but still, I'd not think that even his great personality or production at the plate would stop some of them from being pretty upset at knowing there was a "queer" among them. And, they had to know. When a ball player doesn't partake of the ladies who follow the team around, when he doesn't go out with the guys in visiting cities to booze it up and meet with bevies of groupies, when he excuses himself because he has appointments and "friends to see" while he's on the road, they'd have to know.

Also, and my major point, back to the age-old question of nature-nurture: I wonder if some of Staub's gracious/charming personality traits were developed along the way as a kind of shielding device since a growing kid who knows he's different and knows he can become the object of scorn if the truth be known learns to offset the possibility of rejection and scorn if he can get people to like him, really, really like him, first. A bright kid would recognize this. Doing for others, (including being the first to offer money or other help to friends who are cash-strapped or otherwise in trouble), going the extra mile in charitable work, always being the go-to guy when stuff needs to be done, would be behaviors that endeared such a person to others so that no matter his "eccentricities," people protected him.

I bring this up because at least two gay men I knew well who remained as closeted as they could (they never seemed to realize we knew), seemed so much like Staub in behavior as to be eerie, and while it might be easy to conclude that they were all simply born with such traits, I often get the feeling that while they were in fact, decent, good guys, they had learned very early in life how to go the extra mile in everything in order to ingratiate themselves to others.

I just couldn't figure out and I've often wondered just how much of that behavior was entirely genuine- or maybe a better word is "instinctive"- and how much had been developed initially as a strategy and over the long years had become habitual.

James Kabala said...

Were people always this dumb? I always heard that when Kinsey came out (no pun intended) with his 10% figure in the 1950s, both the general public and the press treated this as a shockingly high number - and rightly so, since it was indeed too high, but it was still much lower than 24.6!

Is the cause just increased gay TV and media presence, and if so, is this true for racial minorities also? Would someone in the 1940s (not in a city or state where actual blacks were common, but in someplace like New Hampshire or Idaho) have had a more realistic or even an overly low estimate of the black population?

Chief Seattle said...

One thing about the estimates of black and hispanic percentages - although they were wildly off, they both had the percentage of blacks and hispanics roughly equal, which is correct. That's curious considering Steve's contention that there are few famous hispanics considering their numbers. I guess famous rappers or sports stars don't skew peoples estimates that much. It would be interesting to see the estimates broken down by state - how much higher are the estimates of hispanics in California vs. Illinois vs. Vermont. Are people answering from what they see on the street, or by trying to remember some obscure fact they saw on TV or in a newspaper at some point?

Daveg said...

In college I lived with 5 guys one of whom was gay. During a break he went to San Fran and claimed to have slept with a pitcher from the giants.

He seemed credible because he said he did not know it was a pitcher for the giants at the time and only found out after.

This made sense as he was not a baseball fan, as you might imagine.

This was around 1988, but I could be off by a year of so.

Not much to go on, but maybe someone else cAn add info.

Anonymous said...

If you ask people about gays, they think about fashion designers, musical actors, Republican politicians, interior decorators, and the like.

Heh.

Veracitor said...

Ya gotta remember that people on the left side of the IQ bell curve watch an awful lot of TV. And nowadays TV talks about gays and lesbians all the time. So it's hardly surprising that people who watch a lot of TV pick up the notion that there are a lot of gays and lesbians. There sure are on TV!

I also think that many whites are eager now to promote gays-- over blacks-- as the most important oppressed minority because whites have more hope of successfully liberating them.

Whites realize that 45 years of trying have proved that no amount of intervention (short of the hypothetical application of ball-peen hammers strictly to white noggins) will "close the gap" for NAM's. Indeed, frustration has caused advocates for NAM's to seriously mistreat modern whites-- punishing them ever more harshly and unjustly for their supposed, though undetectable, racism despite the fact modern American whites are the least racist people in the history of the world.

Since gays and lesbians are generally as smart as straights, they don't show big "gaps" in school or job performance. Whites can "liberate" gays, give them gay marriage, even give them some (hardly-needed) affirmative action-- and expect it to work! Liberating the gays will prove that whites are good! That whites can and will liberate people! That blacks, not whites, are responsible for black underachievement, because "Look! We liberated the gays and they don't have any gaps!"

Anonymous said...

I suspect this is how most people think about percentages: "Less than 10% is basically the same as nothing. Round it off to zero, right? But black/Hispanic/gay people do exist in appreciable numbers, you see them on the news and I even know one personally! There are definitely not zero black/Hispanic/gay people. So there must be more than 10% of them. What's more than 10%? 20%. QED"

Dutch Boy said...

Can we please dispose of this ridiculous term "gay"? Homosexual is a suitably clinical term.

Anonymous said...

I remember back in the 1990's, the WSJ did a big write-up on academic research that looked at half a dozen industrialized countries, and came to the conclusion of 1.67-3.33% of the adult male and female population. I also remember listening that week for NPR's take and it was predictably skewed towards the not everyone who is gay or lesbian will admit to it line. The authors however got similar numbers no matter what country they looked at and I believe that they included two Scandinavian countries and France in their sample and as we know from NPR, those countries are far more socially enlightened then us hillbillies in the US.

Nevertheless, I think the media has conveniently forgotten about the study, because I have never heard mentioned once since the week it was released. When I read the number it sounded pretty accurate, most people know a few people who are gay or lesbian, but the 10% always seemed like a big overestimate. Although the study may have disappeared down the memory hole, it seems like the media is pegging the number lower than the 10% number now, so maybe it had an indirect effect.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I cannot believe people were that off on those numbers. In the 1980s, I remember the homosexual lobby trying to push 10% as the default gay population. But in reality it is probably closer to 2%. I imagine the full-court, nonstop discussion of gays in the media, on TV shows and the whole debate about same-sex marriage has probably confused most people into thinking 1/4th of the population is gay.

I wonder how this affects the support for gay marriage. Each year polling data shows more and more people, maybe not yet 50%, supporting gay marriage. I guess if you believe 1/4th of the population is gay, it makes sense to support gay marriage. But how many folks who support gay marriage would if they knew the real number was closer to 2%?

Likewise, I am surprised at the overestimation of the hispanic community. Maybe that is why we don't have more support for tighter immigration controls. I mean if you believe 1/3 of the population is already hispanic, how can you prevent the inevitable? But if people knew in 2001 that hispanics were 10% and about 15% today, maybe they might feel like there is a real chance to preserve their culture.

I imagine on other issues people probably grossly underestimate the true facts. For example Lawrence Auster is always bringing up black on white crime statistics and the fact that the MSM hides those figures. I wonder how many whites know the true numbers? If Hollywood and the MSM can get people to think homosexuals are 1/4 the population, they can probably get them to believe whites commit all the interracial crimes.

Anonymous said...

Pedro Martinez? I don't buy it, but he's also a HoF'er, so maybe you're thinking of somebody else.

Anonymous said...

Most Americans think Jews are recent refugees from the Holocaust.

not a hacker said...

Rusty Staub was always known as just a great guy. Somehow I can't see him joining in the disruption of a religious service.

Anonymous said...

Le Grand Orange, I presume?

Whiskey said...

Steve you underestimate the degree to which TV and movies influence people's estimation of Black, Hispanic, and Gay populations.

Almost every actor in a commercial is Black. And Blacks show up over and over again as: Doctors, mild mannered Middle class guys, computer geniuses, lawyers, cops, and so on. If you just watched TV, you'd think America was about 75% or more Black. Gays are another wildly over-represented group, and always shown positively.

Of course, TV is a female (and gay) ghetto, about 85% of viewers overall of nets/cable are women, so the female predominance tends to shape what they are presented with (stuff demographically they like). Women find Beta White guys their workplace competition without any bit of "sexiness."

One of the worst parts of modern society, and its self-destructiveness, is the emphasis on "sexy men" and optimizing access to same by women, which works out about as well as making sexy women the ideal for men.

Anonymous said...

Lifetime exclusive heterosexuals are probably a lot less common that you think.

Anonymous said...

The media still holds incredible power over people and the ability to shape public opinions and perceptions if Americans seriously think that a full quarter of the population is comprised of homosexuals, and of course that we are already majority minority.

I wonder what the totals will be with the increase in south asian and chinese immigration in the next decade or so.

Anonymous said...

Rusty Staub
But only because of the "learned French" thing. I saw him playing right -- 70 feet or so in front of me -- for the Mets at Riverfront when i was a teenager. "Gay" didn't pop to mind for the guy, but then that was back when blissfully i never thought about "gay" at all.
Good work he's done on the charity front in NY.

read it said...

I love this blog because I my thoughts are so often vindicated here.

When I first learned about the how and why of public polling back when I was I teen, I was stunned at the stupidity of it. I called it, "Let's ask the ignorant what they think!" 25 years later, I see it still holds true.

Thanks for stating the obvious, Steve.

No one in the MSM will.

AnotherDad said...

"Lifetime exclusive heterosexuals are probably a lot less common that you think."

I always find it hilarious\ridiculous\pathetic when folks cook this stuff up.

Contra this i'd say "lifetime exclusive heterosexuals" are so overwhelming it's ridiculous -- and especially compared to the media presentation.

It's particularly clear that male sexual orientation is pretty much binary. Either you got wired up properly or not. Homosexuality is not something that's "kinda interesting" or "a phase" or ... anything with me. It's not "sexual" at all, just disgusting. I'm interested in, turned on buy, excited by (get the heart beating) ... girls -- especially by attractive ones in 16-25 sweet spot with .7 waist to hips ratios, full breasts, big eyes, etc. etc. And in 40 years of locker room, campfire, dorm room, barroom, road trip discussions i've never heard another straight guy say anything to indicate any other thought. Homosexuality is something that makes a fine joke -- a guy who doesn't know what his equipment is for -- but that's about it. Generally, it's not something remotely interesting -- like sports, gear, gadgets, politics, business and women -- that comes up. It's just not part of our wiring.

As far as i can tell, male homosexuals (which includes all the practicing "bi"s) are ~2%. They are who they are -- bad wiring, probably in utero. But they are a tiny demographic entirely distinct from the vast bulk of normal men.

barbra's black hoodie said...

"One of the worst parts of modern society, and its self-destructiveness, is the emphasis on "sexy men" and optimizing access to same by women, which works out about as well as making sexy women the ideal for men."

Whiskey sours my grapes of wrath

I'm pretty sure no one will call you faggy and send you to Canada if you put on a little aftershave now and then.

As for the article, your perception of demographics is shaped by where you live. Some of those people may well have lived in areas that were 25% gay, and 65% black or hispanic. It's not as if most of us have a helicopter and telescope allowing us to scan large swaths of the country to see if, in fact, there are as many gays/ blacks/ latinos two states over.

I've even found it necessary to remind certain minorities that, despite their overwhelming presence in my city and state, they don't exist in such great numbers elsewhere. Unfortunately, this has yet to deter them from asserting their will on what's left of the white hetero population here.

Steve Sailer said...

This player did get traded more than was common for a hitter of his consistency, which might reflect dislike of his homosexuality, although a lot of the trades could be explained on objective grounds as sending him to ballparks where his skills were more likely to flourish: e.g., he got slower, so get him out of the huge Astrodome outfield to little Jarry Park, and he wrecked his throwing arm smashing into the outfield wall to make a Championship Series-saving catch, and later was traded to the American league where he could DH.

glib, facile n snarky said...

"Lifetime exclusive heterosexuals are probably a lot less common that you think."

And you know this because they've had same sex encounters with you?

Nanonymous said...

Lifetime exclusive heterosexuals are probably a lot less common that you think.

I'd bet it is still over 85% of men and ~66% of women.

AnotherDad said...

Whiskey said:
"One of the worst parts of modern society, and its self-destructiveness, is the emphasis on "sexy men" and optimizing access to same by women, which works out about as well as making sexy women the ideal for men."

Actually this is far, far worse than sexy women being the ideal for men. "Sexy women" is 90% a physical attribute that correlates with young, healthy and fertile, and entirely appropropriate for men to chase. (It does not correlate with "slutty", and women frequently end up being far less "sexy" when they slut it up.) Men will be motivated to chase "sexy", but will generally not be able to "land" their aspirational "sexy", but a "sexy" fertile young woman of more or less matching value. And nature takes it's course. I.e. the chase for "sexy" gets men doing what we need them to do.

On the other hand, women chasing "sexy" men -- alpha males, and especially the "bad boys" (especially blacks the media put forward as "cool" male ideal) -- does the reverse. Any average to attractive woman can find a attractive "sexy" man to sleep with her -- we men are quite generous that way -- but not marry her. And this sleeping around renders the woman *less* attractive as a wife, less amenable, less bonded to her husband, more likely to divorce, more likely to be a single mom.

For instance the Duke slut -- she's "unmarriageable". (Ok, she'll probably find someone eventually, but any guy with a brain should steer clear. He'll never measure up to what she *thinks* she deserves and a few years down the road she'll be unhappy with him, and he'll end up spending his income on child support of her kid(s), while she's out chasing the ever more elusive alpha athlete she craves.)

Generally -- on point with Steve's great post today -- college women are more on the ball about choosing the right kind of "alpha" to chase. (Intelligent, socially competent ... looks like doctor, lawyer, investment banker, etc.) While lower class women are not getting the old ("find a suitable husband") message and have bought the media's nonsense -- Bristol Palin now with black boyfriend -- and are a disaster area.

But generally, women chasing "sexy" -- and catching sexy -- is a disaster destroys the sort of behavior we need for civilization.

Mr. Lidden said...

"My dear Mr. Sailer, you are not keeping up with the fast-changing rate of being born gay. The most recent studies suggest that the percentage of womyn who are least sort-of sometimes lesbian is 15%, which is a dectupling of the rate shown in older studies. Guessing 25% might be a fair extrapolation of this rate of increase."

If so, then lets hope this trend continues among the liberal sectors of our population. A couple of more generations of increasing at that rate, and a lot of problems discussed on this blog will de facto disappear.

Anonymous said...

HBD Chick has it exactly correct: the wild overestimation of the black/Jewish/Hispanic/gay population is the direct result of the domination of media/images by those who seek to over represent these categories.


The denigration of those outside those categories is also having an immense affect on what people think or rather the opinions and attitudes people have been programmed to hold.


I’d say this polling data also undermines the increase in support for “gay marriage.” A huge section of the population merely repeats what they have been told to say. Another argument for actual conservatives getting some control over old style media, like cable TV networks etc. so they can start telling people what to think too.

Marlowe said...

Never underestimate public ignorance.

"Ill-informed voters attempting to make political judgments on the basis of personal experience may fall into egregious errors. Even with respect to unemployment and inflation, basic economic issues with which most people have substantial personal experience, ill-informed voters tend to make spectacular errors. In a survey taken during the 1992 election, during which economic issues were a particular focus of publicity, the vast majority of respondents could not estimate the inflation or unemployment rate within 5 percent of the actual level; the electorate's mean estimates of both rates were approximately twice as high as the real level."

- Ilya Somin When Ignorance isn't bliss POLICY ANALYSIS Sep 22 2004

If you ask Mr Caplan about it he'll talk your hind legs off, I'm sure.

Marlowe said...

Has the queer nation come up with its own version of the One Drop rule?

TMI77 said...

"However, why what the force that caused popular culture to become so gay-oriented? Things happen for a reason. Please speculate."

1. blackmail. 2. Inclusion in the diversity industry via sexual orientation protection laws. 3. Feminism ended up promoting more "mannish" women to high places, and these lesbians then broke down barriers for gays in order to serve their own interests. 4. Birth control pills screwing up women hormonally so that they prefer feminized men. (And possibly giving literal estrogen poisoning to the population, like the transgender fish in the waterways.)

Anonymous said...

Full ethnicity numbers came out from Census 2010. I'm surprised by how few Indians and Chinese there are.

White 223,553,265 72.4
Black or African American 38,929,319 12.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 2,932,248 0.9
Asian 14,674,252 4.8
Asian Indian 2,843,391 0.9
Chinese 3,347,229 1.1
Filipino 2,555,923 0.8
Japanese 763,325 0.2
Korean 1,423,784 0.5
Vietnamese 1,548,449 0.5
Other Asian [1] 2,192,151 0.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 540,013 0.2

Anonymous said...

"My dear Mr. Sailer, you are not keeping up with the fast-changing rate of being born gay. The most recent studies suggest that the percentage of womyn who are least sort-of sometimes lesbian is 15%, which is a dectupling of the rate shown in older studies. Guessing 25% might be a fair extrapolation of this rate of increase."

Using this logic, I'd say most liberal metrosexual men are honorary gay, so 50% of all are gay or part-time gay.

Anonymous said...

Gay ballplayer is fine as long he plays with the right balls and doesn't get too creative with the bat.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder how this affects the support for gay marriage."

Big time.

Anonymous said...

I just checked out Rusty Staub's Wikipedia entry--I find it odd that there's no mention of personal info. I say this because gays are very quick to edit a Wiki entry and claim one of their own, dead or alive, proof or no proof.

I suppose at some time there may have been mention of it in his entry and others may simply edit it out.

Oh, and I did find out he also wrote a children's book.

And yes, was traded several times and wound up in the American League (I recall his Met days); so Steve, maybe you're right that it's possible those trades indicated some degree of dis-ease with his sexual orientation. Hard to say because you are also right that the trades made sense in other ways.

James Kabala said...

By the way, I get a kick out of how the black + Hispanic estimate by those with postgraduate degrees adds up to exactly 49 percent. They must have been trying to give the highest possible estimate while still recognizing whites are a majority - but they forgot Asians and (of either variety) Indians.

Wandrin said...

"However, why what the force that caused popular culture to become so gay-oriented?"

Homosexuals were always very over-represented in show-biz, theatre and the arts etc. It crossed over into televison and television is a vastly more powerful cultural force than theatre, radio etc.

guest007 said...

Marlowe asked:
Has the queer nation come up with its own version of the One Drop rule?

The answer is of course yes. A male can be married, have children, and be a boring middle class person but if they post a message to a homosexual chat site they are considered homosexuals. Yet a male who started our homosexuals, quit the lifestyle, get married, have children and the homosexual community will consider the male homosexual.

One act makes a male homosexuals but a male homosexuals experimenting with women is still a homosexual.

barbra's black hoodie said...

"4. Birth control pills screwing up women hormonally so that they prefer feminized men. (And possibly giving literal estrogen poisoning to the population, like the transgender fish in the waterways.)"

If you were being completely logical you'd focus on the fact that the pill is made from pig estrogen which means women on the pill should be more prone to find pigs sexy or at least be more attractive to swine than men.

Luke Lea said...

More to the point for the guys in the ghetto:

QUESTION: "How come you're not in school?"

ANSWER: "They don't teach you none of the shit you need to know."

"Roger's Version" by John Updike

carol said...

Anon, no Mexicans in the stats?

Anonymous said...

I always had a theory that gay athletes were really clutch at big moments. I thought of Louganis and Boitano because that's all I knew. Checked stats on Staub- he batted like 500 for Mets in 73 playoffs.

Maybe because they have to deal with so much adversity or maybe it's nothing. Probably nothing.

Dan in DC

Difference Maker said...

White 223,553,265 72.4
Black or African American 38,929,319 12.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 2,932,248 0.9
Asian 14,674,252 4.8
Asian Indian 2,843,391 0.9
Chinese 3,347,229 1.1
Filipino 2,555,923 0.8
Japanese 763,325 0.2
Korean 1,423,784 0.5
Vietnamese 1,548,449 0.5
Other Asian [1] 2,192,151 0.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 540,013 0.2


According to this there are exactly 0 hispanics in the U.S. Hooray! We've solved the border problem

Anonymous said...

"I bring this up because at least two gay men I knew well who remained as closeted as they could (they never seemed to realize we knew), seemed so much like Staub in behavior as to be eerie, and while it might be easy to conclude that they were all simply born with such traits, I often get the feeling that while they were in fact, decent, good guys, they had learned very early in life how to go the extra mile in everything in order to ingratiate themselves to others."

Sounds like the Japanese, minus the gay part.

Shame cultures bring out the best in folks.

Fear is a powerful motivator.

Bruce Lewis said...

OMG Not Pete Rose! Now he'll never be a Hall of Famer!

Hmm. He is one of baseball's best-known switch hitters.

I guess now we know why they called him "Charlie Hustle"...

+++

Lucy said...

"In my little plot, this center from Tulane had dined his way out of the NBA, packing on 20 pounds of solid fat, but was now looking forward to winding up his playing career in the Italian basketball league because of the opportunity to sample Italy's regional cuisines on road trips."

You obviously don't know nuttin' about no basketball. A good proportion of body fat makes you faster. Those 3-pointers just glide off your fingertips and you appear at one end of the court or another magically like Jeep-Jeep.

Truth said...

"Almost every actor in a commercial is Black."

Yeah, I've noticed that, almost every one.

It's a good subject. I needle my girlfriend occasionally about bringing another girl into our relationship, and makes this look of total revulsion concerning being with another woman sexually. She simply has no interest in it whatsoever.

She came up with an interesting theory that I had to stop and think about one day:

I proffered the well-accepted line about women being more likely to be homosexuals than men, she disagreed, and said that if the media pushed gay male couples the way the push girl-on-girl stuff men would be more likely to do it than women.

And regarding Bristol Palin, I was wondering when that topic would be brought up. To me it's simple. Bristol Palin is dating a celebrity. She's quite happy with that. She is also an average looking woman with the type of body a black man is more likely to cherish than a white man. She did not realize this until she left Alaska and went Hollywood.

Even C-list white celebs would not date Bristol Palin, attraction or not...she is, by Hollywood standards "the fat girl." Even a white celebrity with an attraction would be persuaded not to date her by his manager/agent.

Chicago said...

Perhaps the respondents thought they were being asked what percentage of the population is happy?

Anonymous said...

"In general, people are terrible at estimating or remembering demographic statistics."

In general, people don't give a RA about "demographic statistics" and don't have much contact with or an opinion about the % of homosexuals in America - as long as it doesn't directly affect their lives, eg Johnny's scoutmaster gets arrested for having a "wide stance" in the men's room at an airport.

If pressed for a number they draw on what experience they do have - Hollywood, TV and "the media". 25% doesn't seem a ridiculous estimate.

Anonymous said...

"I always had a theory that gay athletes were really clutch at big moments. I thought of Louganis and Boitano because that's all I knew.'

You seem to be forgetting that both of these athletes were competing against other gay athletes as both sports have a hefty share of them, especially male figure skating. So, someone in the bunch of figure skaters and divers was going to be "clutch."

Anonymous said...

"Shame cultures bring out the best in folks."

Hadn't thought of it that way--good point, and yes, fear is a great motivator.

none of the above said...

Media images have a huge impact on this, as they do on all sorts of related stuff. Almost any question you ask people about Americans as a group will be answered w.r.t. what people have seen on TV--either in entertainment or on the news.

The worst thing about these impressions is that they're "knowledge" that seems real in your head, but is actually all wrong. My sense is that most TV (including some TV news and most TV political commentary) actually makes you *dumber*--it provides you with a bunch of wildly wrong and inappropriate models with which to understand the world.

This is one reason it's worthwhile to read survey reports from time to time. It's often rather shocking how different the polling numbers are from the current media narratives. More generally, whenever possible, it's nice to get as close as possible to ground truth, without someone sitting between you and reality with an agenda and a distorting lens.

Anonymous said...

What's funny about this issue is how the media contorts itself into pretzels about the subject of gay athletes. You can tell the innumerate media is just baffled to no end that not a single prominent male athlete has come out while playing. The only athletes that have have done so after retirement and almost all of them were marginal players anyway and the total numbers are pretty scarce when you consider how many retired pro athletes there are.

The media is certain of two false things, one that the percentage of gay men is actually the 10% figure and two, that therefore 10% of athletes MUST be gay. Therefore it must be the stupid and religious American public and the Neanderthal-ish straight athletes on the said gay players teams that must be keeping those many hundreds of gay male athletes from coming out of the closet publicly. Of course as I pointed in an earlier post the number is between one-third and one-sixth what the media assumes it is, and two, just because X percent of the population at large is gay, doesn't mean every subset of that population has exactly the same proportions of the larger population. This in fact is a classic logical fallacy known as the fallacy of division.

When you think about it, perhaps homosexuality is just rarer amongst pro athletes than in the general population. Following that assumption, since the total of the general population is much less than the media thinks it is you are talking about a very minute proportion of pro athletes that are gay and perhaps most of them are marginal players who would fear losing their jobs if their sexual orientation where known. So it could be a combination of very low numbers plus marginal ability that keeps the number of active gay athletes known at zero.

Tax Man said...

Bill James claimed that the Astros traded Staub because he used the N word in the locker room.

ironrailsironweights said...

I just checked out Rusty Staub's Wikipedia entry--I find it odd that there's no mention of personal info. I say this because gays are very quick to edit a Wiki entry and claim one of their own, dead or alive, proof or no proof.

I suppose at some time there may have been mention of it in his entry and others may simply edit it out.


A fairly quick look through the Wikipedia history shows that there was an edit in early 2008 that mentioned the homosexuality rumors, but it quickly got deleted. As far as I can tell there haven't been any further attempts to mention these rumors. Of course, Wikipedia being Wikipedia, anyone can add the rumors at any time.

Peter

Anonymous said...

"Bill James claimed that the Astros traded Staub because he used the N word in the locker room."

Well now, if true, ain't that a kick in the head?

Alan Stewart said...

There is information about Rusty Staub and the n-word in Joe Morgan's autobiography. Staub and Morgan were friends. One day Morgan came into the clubhouse and found there was a tense atmospehere. Asking around, he found that Staub had made a joking, positive reference to a black player as a "good n-----r". The player attacked him and a min-brawl ensued. Morgan told Staub that if he had been there, he would have had to fight him too. At Morgan's suggestion, Staub had a meeting with the black players at which he apologized, which reduced the clubhouse tension below boiling. Staub was traded in the offseason; Morgan thot the incident was the cause.

read it said...

"The media is certain of two false things, one that the percentage of gay men is actually the 10% figure and two, that therefore 10% of athletes MUST be gay. Therefore it must be the stupid and religious American public and the Neanderthal-ish straight athletes on the said gay players teams that must be keeping those many hundreds of gay male athletes from coming out of the closet publicly."

Okay, but there aren't tons of gay athletes in other countries either. Not in Europe, not in Mexico, not in Israel, not in Australia. None of these other places are full of American neanderthal religious fundies and they don't have a bunch of gay athletes either.

Difference Maker said...

"Shame cultures bring out the best in folks."

Hadn't thought of it that way--good point, and yes, fear is a great motivator.


Except certain cultures are immune to shame. For them you need ridicule

Anonymous said...

Okay, but there aren't tons of gay athletes in other countries either. Not in Europe, not in Mexico, not in Israel, not in Australia. None of these other places are full of American neanderthal religious fundies and they don't have a bunch of gay athletes either.

I don't understand what you are asking, I'm telling you my opinion of how the media views the issue and frames it, not what I think myself. Second point, the American media is pretty provincial when in comes to stuff regarding sports in foreign countries that aren't also popular in the US, except soccer. There isn't a lot of coverage of foreign athletes in this country even when they are excellent players playing popular American sports like basketball and baseball at the highest level, the amount of coverage that say Cricket or Rugby gets here is practically zero. I think there was recently a British Rugby player that came out of the closet, but that is clearly still the exception, not the rule, just like in the US. Anyway are you implying the media thinks rationally about this topic? I don't, that's why I wrote what I wrote, to illustrate just that point. The news media have combined innumeracy with statistics and a lack of understanding in logic to believe what they believe and because it's politically correct to do so.

Anonymous said...

Just for shits and giggles, I'd like to see Steve's readers answer this multiple-choice question:

Per-capita median income of Jewish Americans vs. per-capita median income of U.S. population? Choose one reply below.

(A) Ten percent higher
(B) Fifty percent higher
(C) One hundred percent higher

Anonymous said...

Then again, there is no need really for such a poll. Since iSteve readers discuss with straight faces how politicians are bending over for "the Jews" in fear of losing their humongous campaign contributions, it stands to reason that the earnings power of this tiny minority must be of truly mythical proportions... right?

Get Off My Lawn! said...

The people in, for example, rural plains areas realise they are outliers when it comes to the population of minorities and simply give their estimates of what they believe big cities are like.

And when they do visit big cities, the minority population makes a big impression on them because they're not used to seeing it. The same is true for suburbanites who seldom venture into the city. "Wow! There are [minorities] all over the place!" The impression lingers in the mind and leads to overestimates of the actual percentages in the population.

Can we please dispose of this ridiculous term "gay"? Homosexual is a suitably clinical term.

No, we shouldn't do that. We should preserve a distinction between behavior and public sexual identity. Men who identify themselves as straight but have had one or more homosexual experiences are a completely different group from those who identify themselves as homosexual and live openly as such.

The concept of "gayness" as a identity like race or ethnicity is new; it's worth having a word for it that is separate from the word for a sexual behavior that has been around forever.

Contra this i'd say "lifetime exclusive heterosexuals" are so overwhelming it's ridiculous -- and especially compared to the media presentation.

If you are exclusively heterosexual, how would you know? It's not like the ones who are slightly less than 100% exclusively heterosexual are going to tell you about it.

But, yeah, gays (using the word as I described above) are far overrepresented in the media. So are many other types: SWPLs, professionals of all kinds, cops, criminals, supermodels, etc. (If asked "what percent of the population is directly involved with law or law enforcement, what answer do you think people would give? I don't know the answer but can guess the public would overestimate, and probably I would, too.)

Anonymous said...

"Except certain cultures are immune to shame. For them you need ridicule"

The problem with post-60s America is that we are no longer either a guilt-culture or a shame-culture.

David said...

>Can we please dispose of this ridiculous term "gay"? Homosexual is a suitably clinical term.<

At Oak Ridge National Laboritory there is a pro-diversity placard claiming "homosexual" is a slur term.

>[People think] one act makes a male homosexual<

This may not be the place to tell dirty jokes, but - and stop me if you've heard this one before - If a man constructs only one piece of furniture, that doesn't make him a carpenter. If he shoots one duck, that doesn't make him a sportsman. If he fixes one drain, that doesn't make him a plumber. But you [DESCRIPTION OF HOMOSEXUAL ACT] just once, and you're a [OBSCENE ADJECTIVE] [DEROGATORY TERM FOR HOMOSEXUAL] for life!

rockin' robin said...

"The problem with post-60s America is that we are no longer either a guilt-culture or a shame-culture."

I don't know how you can make sweeping statements about a "culture" in a country like the US. There are many cultures without a lot of loyalty to any of the other cultures. What you are seeing is a breakdown in the social fabric because even those cultures who are shame based (Asian) or guilt based (Hispanic) when in isolation have no compunction about metaphorically peeing in the public pool.

You really need to be more specific. Otherwise you come across as a confused senior citizen expressing exasperation at all the "changes" in your world.

Rex Little said...

Are there really that many gay characters on TV? I must be watching the wrong shows. The only one I can think of is one of the doctors on "House", and she only counts half because she's bi. Oh, and there's a gay couple on "Modern Family", but I only know about that from Mad Magazine; I've never seen the show.