You just might be surprised when you see the number of Americans who find words that some people, many of them famous people, use in everyday conversation, or on the stage for that matter. The latest poll from the Harris Organization confirms that large majorities of the U.S. adult public find the use of certain terms to be offensive.
Strangely enough, even though they consider the language to be offensive, they do not agree that the government should bother to ban the words and expressions on TV or radio, rather they feel the issue should be left to the broadcasting industry to take care of, or the individuals involved should monitor themselves.
The respondents were warned beforehand about the questions like this “Some of the terms we present to you to evaluate in the next few screens you may find offensive. Would you be willing to answer this section or do you want to skip this section?” Nine in ten (89 percent ) said that they would be willing to answer the questions while one in ten (11 percent ) opted to skip the section.
The participants were asked about remarks made by some famous Americans the made the front page of the papers and were talked about extensively, so the participants well knew what the questions were referring to.
When asked which of the comments were most offensive they got this feedback:
64 percent found radio personality Don Imus’ calling Rutgers’ female basketball players ‘nappy-headed hos’ to be offensive with 29 percent saying it was extremely offensive.
69 percent said that actor/comedian Michael Richards’ use of the ‘n-word’ was offensive and 30 percent found it extremely offensive.
63 percent found actor Mel Gibson’s use of Jewish slurs to be offensive with 22 percent saying its extremely offensive.
54 percent felt that actor Isaiah Washington’s use of ‘faggot’ was offensive. 18 percent said extremely offensive.
50 percent found radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Senator Barack Obama as ‘Obama Osama’ to be offensive; 16 percent said extremely offensive.
37 percent said that politician George Allen’s use of the term ‘Maccaca’ at a political rally was offensive. 12 percent were extremely offended.
When the results are broken down demographically, the results showed that particular groups were more offended than others. For example, African Americans were extremely or very offended by Don Imus (88 percent ) and Michael Richards (83 percent ). Two-thirds (66 percent) of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) adults were extremely or very offended by Isaiah Washington.
When the question about government regulation was asked, 27 percent think that the government should ban offensive words on television or radio, 34 percent go the other way and say that offensive words shouldn’t be banned but broadcasters should set their own standards 30 percent of feel that the government shouldn’t do anything; individuals should self-monitor and screen for what they consider appropriate.
In the end, the American Public can have the final say. If you find the material on TV or the Radio, do not tune in and let then know why. If it involves a stage performer, like a stand up comedian, let the place where they are appearing know you will not come when that performer is there. It comes down to the bottom line, money.
Source: The Harris Corporation http://www.harrisinteractive.com