Sept. 30, 2005 The vast majority of Source readers believe racism is a problem in the Virgin Islands. But they are split on their perceptions of how much racism actually affects daily life in the territory.
In a Source poll taken over a period of 11 days, readers overall were evenly split on whether they believe racism is a moderate problem at times affecting some Virgin Islanders, or that there are few racists in the islands, but they make a lot of noise.
Fifty five percent of readers agreed with one of two statements posed along those lines.
On St. John, where the issue of racism was most recently raised — causing the Source to conduct this and other upcoming polls — more than 53 percent of readers said they thought there were few racists, but that those few were noisy trouble makers.
Running a distant second to the readers who thought racism was a "moderate" problem, 23 percent of readers felt racism was pervasive and regularly affected the daily lives of people in the territory.
Only 10 percent of readers thought racism was not a big problem, while 2 percent said there was little or no racism.
Of the three islands, St. Thomas readers tended to see racism as a bigger reality than did readers on St. Croix or St. John.
In answer to the statement, "There are relatively few racist people in the territory, but they make a lot of noise and cause the problem to appear larger than it actually is," about 27 percent of St. Croix readers agreed, 53 percent of St. Johnians agree, while only 15 percent of St. Thomas readers felt this way.
Here are the poll results for the period beginning Sept. 20 and ending Sept. 30 (543 responses cast):
Question: Recent events in the territory, particularly on St. John, have brought issues of racism into the spotlight locally. In an effort to better understand the community's feelings about this, the Source would like to know what you think. Please select from the following the statement that best expresses your personal view:
1. Racism is pervasive and regularly affects the lives of the majority of Virgin Islanders. STT (78) STJ (15) STX (37) Total 130 = 23 percent
2. Racism is common and affects many, but is not a constant feature of life in the Virgin Islands. STT (88) STJ (19) STX (42) Total 149 = 28 percent
3. Racism is a moderate problem and affects only a minority of Virgin Islanders some of the time. STT (25) STJ (9) STX (16) Total 50 = 10 percent
4. There are relatively few racist people in the territory, but they make a lot of noise and cause the problem to appear larger than it actually is. STT (43) STJ (61) STX (41) Total 145 = 27 percent
5. Racism exists, but is not a big problem in the Virgin Islands. STT
(36) STJ (9) STX (9) 36 Total 54 = 10 percent
6. There is little or nor racism in the Virgin Islands. STT (5) STJ (4)
STX (5) Total 15 = 2 percent
This is not intended to be a scientific poll. But we think you will find the results interesting and worth considering as a rough gauge of how Source readers feel about issues confronting the territory. And we hope you will consider voting in this week's poll and those to come.
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