Meeting Arab Americans: Fact 1 Confidence in American institutions

1 Arab American images WELCOME! This is a special series—an early peek at some potentially surprising conclusions of a major study I helped to lead of Arab Americans. So, please, tell your friends to take a look this week, in particular, and share their thoughts, too. I really want to know what you think about Arab Americans—especially in light of these new facts.
    It’s a timely topic! The world’s attention seems riveted on the Middle East these days. That attention always produces a heightened awareness of people of Middle Eastern descent living in the United States.
    But, what do we really know? Stereotypes and misinformation abound.
    This week on OurValues.org, we’ll discuss 5 scientific facts about Americans of Middle Eastern descent, focusing on Arab Americans in our study who live in southeast Michigan. The Detroit region is home to the oldest, largest, and most visible Arab communities in North America.
    By scientific facts, I mean findings from our scientifically designed survey of Arab Americans conducted a few years ago. A companion survey of the general population living in the same area provides comparisons.

    QUESTION 1: Who has more confidence in American institutions—Arab Americans or other Americans?
    FACT 1: Generally, Arab Americans have more confidence in American institutions than do members of the general population:
    Almost three-quarters (73%) of Arab Americans have confidence in public schools, compared with 62% of the general population.
    Over 85% of Arab Americans express confidence in the local police, compared with 71% of other Americans.
    Two-thirds (66%) of Arab Americans have confidence in the U.S. legal system, compared with less than half (47%) of the general population.
    The only reversal concerns the question of fair trials for Arabs or Muslims accused of terrorism—only half (50%) of Arab Americans express confidence in fair trails, compared with 66% of the general population.
    Do these findings surprise you? Are they what you expected?
    What to learn more about Arab Americans? Our book on Arab Americans, “Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit after 9/11,” will be available this summer.

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