By definition demographics generally include gender, race, disabilities, employment, education, age and income. Therefore it would be expected that a study done on a population should include most, if not all, of these statistics. Given context, some may be more relevant than others.
One study investigating the demographics of the Occupy Wall Street movement performed by professor Hector R. Cordero-Guzman from the Baruch College has gained notable attention by several different media sources. Titled, “The 99% Comes From and Looks Like the 99%,” this study compiles information gathered from a survey taken by 1890 people that visited occupywallst.org on October 5, 2011. Cordero-Guzman did a good job to cover the many facets of demographics in his study, polling visitors on characteristics such as their age, education, employment, income, political party affiliation, and race. In addition, over a quarter of these respondents had actually attended Occupy events.
This study is clearly a brand new and exciting look at the makeup of the OWS movement. All factors examined in this study are important in giving us this inside look, especially those inextricably associated with social class such as education and even more so race. Therefore, it is fascinating that the media, when citing Cordero-Guzman’s study, is not reporting on the latter of these issues: race. When the phrase “Demographics in the Occupy Wall Street Movement,” is plugged into a search engine, the top four online newspapers that come up all fail to mention Cordero-Guzman’s examination of race while using the other statistics in their arguments.
Online newspapers, “The Week,” “Fast Company,” “Mail Online,” and “TPM,” all published articles making the same statement: the Occupy Wall Street Movement is not just a bunch of liberal white college drop-outs. With titles like, “Occupy Wall Street Demographic Survey Results Will Surprise You,” and “Who Are the 99%? Demographics of Wall Street Protestors Show They Aren’t All Unemployed Liberals,” all four of these online newspapers use statistics from Cordero-Guzman’s study to show that the protestors of OWS do in fact come from all different socioeconomic backgrounds. Every single one of them however fails to use race in their supportive statements, completely brushing the fact that Cordero-Guzman included race in his study under the rug.
The question here is why is the media ignoring racial issues within the OWS movement? In Cordero-Guzman’s study an astonishing 81.3% of the respondents were white with only 1.3% being African American, 3.2% being Asian, and 7.7% being Hispanic. While the sample group in Cordero-Guzman’s study does not have high external validity due to its small size, this statistic, if presented in any of their articles, would undermine the claim they were attempting to make: the 99% Comes From and Looks Like the 99%. This, in fact, may not be entirely true, an issue I wish to explore further in my next post.