The Effects of Race and Religion on Patriotism Among Americans

By Maria Islam
Clocks and Clouds
2017, Vol. 7 No. 2 | pg. 1/1

Abstract

This paper examines the reasons behind people's different views of defining what "patriotism" is. Three multivariate linear regressions were performed to determine the causes behind an individual's level of patriotism. Two of the regression models found that individuals who identify as black have lower levels of patriotism than whites. None of the models supported the author's hypothesis that Muslims would have lower levels of patriotism than someone non-Muslim. The study also found support from all the regression models for one of the confounding variables, age; the older you are the more patriotic you tend to be. Only one model found support for region, which is the second confounding variable, if you are from the "south" you will be more patriotic. Most of the previous literature only defines the characteristics of a patriotic individual. However, this paper examines the causes that make people define "patriotism" differently.

Introduction

In the United States, people have different perceptions about what "patriotism" is. What are the reasons behind people's different views of defining the characteristics of "patriotism?" In this paper I propose two arguments. My first argument is that individuals who identity with more mistreated historically racial groups in the U.S., such as blacks, will have lower levels of patriotism than someone whose racial group has been less mistreated historically. My second argument is that individuals who identify with contemporarily mistreated religious groups in the U.S., such as Muslims, will have lower levels of patriotism than someone whose religious group has not been mistreated contemporarily.

There have been hundreds of studies which deal with the various meaning of patriotism. These studies are descriptive, emphasizing the characteristics of what a patriotic person is to certain people. Compared with the research that defines what patriotism is, there seems to be a lack of research where scholars explicitly highlight what causes individuals or certain groups of people in the U.S. to define "patriotism" differently. My research explicitly tries to explain what causes people to offer different definitions of "patriotism."

My research is relevant to scholars because individuals who are concerned with identity formation are interested in my topic, and my study gives a new cause for why there is a variation in defining what "patriotism" means. It is also crucial for policy makers because they can use my research to think about how there are certain individuals who lack patriotism and perhaps come up with policies that would make these people more patriotic. The general public values this topic because it is a topic of their interest, so they want to be able to understand the causal factors that lead people to define "patriotism" differently.

I used the large-N quantitative methodology, and then ran multiple linear regression tests on SPSS to test my hypotheses. I looked at individuals who were surveyed through the General Social Survey, in the U.S. in 2004. There were several major findings that I found. I found a relationship between an individual's race and two of the questions I used to measure my dependent variable (DV), which are levels of patriotism. I found support that if you identify as black you will have lower levels of patriotism than someone white. I also found how religion does not show any relationship with the three questions used to measure the DV. So, being raised as a Muslim does not affect your levels of patriotism. I found support for age, which is one of my confounding variables. As you get a little older your, level of patriotism will be a bit higher. My second confounding variable, region where a person lives, only found support for one of my DV question, which is "how important it is to serve in military when needed." People from the south had more patriotism than any other regions when answering this question.

I found a variety of results from testing my argument. I cannot establish causation and strong support between my variables and my hypothesis with high confidence because I have not looked at all the variables that can influence an individual's level of patriotism. I also do not know with a high degree of confidence that the data on the IV came before the data on the DV. However, this paper is still relevant because I found support for new hypotheses about the determinants of patriotism, suggesting that ethnicity is not the only thing that likely shapes someone's level of patriotism. My findings about blacks and non-blacks also support the finding in a previous study that different ethnic groups have different levels of patriotism.

This article proceeds as follows. This paper will first discuss the existing literature on the research topic and the theories that have been used to explain the variation in defining "patriotism." I will then present my theory and argument by providing my theoretical discussions and theoretical models. Then I will explain my two hypotheses that I will be testing. The next section will explain my research design, starting with an introduction of my unit of analysis, each of my variables, and concluding with a discussion of my cases, observations, and methods. Towards the end of the paper, you will find an analysis of the results from my multivariate linear regressions, which will be followed by a conclusion in which I discuss my findings, their implications, limitations, and avenues for further research.

The Literature Review

People have different perceptions about what "patriotism" is. What are the reasons behind people's different views of defining the characteristics of "Patriotism?" To answer this question, I looked at many studies. I found that there have been hundreds of studies that deal with the various meaning of American identity. These studies are simply descriptive, emphasizing the characteristics of what "patriotism" means to certain people. Comparing with the research that defines patriotism, there seems to be a lack of research where scholars explicitly highlight what causes individuals or certain groups of people in the U.S. to define "patriotism" differently. Despite the gap in research to answer my research question, there are some limited scholars with their explanations expressed in the literature that I have explored, that are useful when addressing my research question.

Based on the bodies of literature I have reviewed, there are two main schools of thought that best explain the causes in variation in the perception of what "patriotism" is. These dominant schools of thought are psychological and cultural/social. When attempting to explain the causes in variation in the perception of what patriotism is, the problem with psychology is that it does not thoroughly explain all the different ways an individual's background and beliefs can affect their definition of what patriotism is. It focuses more on the psychological processes of how one arrives at their answer. Many studies that fall under the psychological school of thought contain flaws with the author's arguments and with how the experiments in each study were carried out. Therefore, I find using the cultural/social school of thought to be more compelling because it will emphasize how someone's race, religion, age, and the region they reside in influences why they define "patriotism" differently. Because many scholars have not tested this argument empirically in the context of explaining the causes in variation in the perception of what patriotism is, and the ones that did empirically test contain at least one or more flaws, this paper will make more contribution to the limited scholarly literature that already exists.

Psychological School of Thought

The first school of thought when discussing the causes behind the variation in the perception of what "patriotism" is psychological. This school of thought is primarily concerned with how people react when they see different individuals, which explains what causes them to define "patriotism" differently. Devos and Heng argue that "the American=White effect stems from an accessibility bias leading individuals to assume that a White person is more likely to be patriotic than an Asian person" (Devos and Heng 2009, 193). They showed pictures of White Americans and Asian Americans to the participants. Their first experiment demonstrated the automatic tendency to respond "patriotic" to be greater after White faces than after Asian faces. In the second experiment, the result showed the amount of time allowed for responding, influences discriminability, but leaves accessibility unchanged. Their last experiment showed the impact of ethnicity on accessibility. One of the limitations in the argument by the authors is that they believe individuals define "patriotism" differently because of an accessibility bias. When people see certain faces they become biased without even realizing. I believe it has more to do with an individual's social/cultural factors rather than only the psychological process. The authors also do not talk about the levels of patriotism among different groups of people in the U.S., which is what I want to focus on.

Taking on a similar view, Devos and Banaji (2005) examine and believe in socio-cognitive fracture, which exist between the conscious and unconscious assigning of the attribute "patriotism" among different ethnic groups. Through their six experiments, the difference between beliefs about the group and the selfoperating outside of conscious control are shown. Group identity can influence how one defines what "patriotism" is, and the characteristics they assign to it. Their primary finding concluded that White Americans are considered more patriotic because of their dominance in society. The argument made by the authors is good because it essentially points out how someone "White" is more patriotic than someone non-white. However, the flaw is that they do not focus on any other causes besides group identity and sociocognitive fractures which exist between the conscious and unconscious assigning of the attribute "patriotism" among different ethnic groups. Also, they do not mention any level of patriotism among different ethnic groups. I think an ethnic group is an important cause of patriotism, but there are some other important causes of patriotism, which they did not explore.

Barlow, Taylor, and Lambert (2000) explored how women from White, African, and Cuban ethnic groups perceived what "patriotism" is. They argued that feelings of inclusion, exclusion, and the opportunities determine an ethnic group's comfort within a national category like "patriotism" and how they define it. Interestingly, the scholars found a correlation between how long people have stayed in the U.S. with how much someone claims to be patriotic. They found that the longer Cubans stayed in the U.S. the more patriotic they felt. In socio-psychological context their studies show, that if the U.S. does not come up with systemic ways to include certain groups, like African Americas, they will feel excluded and their definition of "patriotism" will vary greatly. The flaw in their argument is that it only applies for women. They did not test to see if men from different ethnic groups also defined "patriotism" differently based on the opportunities they had here. The authors also did not mention anything about patriotism among these different ethnic groups.

Park-Taylor et al. examined how the second-generation Americans' defined what "true" patriotism means and how their definition may have been influenced by 9/11 and the war in Iraq (2008). They collected data from 12 participants through interviews. They found how a traumatic event can change individuals' psychological views of how they define "patriotism" along with the effect of sociopolitical forces. The flaw with the author's argument is that they only studied catastrophic events, such as 9/11, causing people to define what "patriotism" is differently. They did not look at any other factors, such as an individual's race or religion, which can also influence a person's definition. Also, they collected data from only 12 participants to support their argument, so we cannot be sure if this argument applies to a larger group of people.

Jahromi's (2011) study looked at how young people – "diverse with regards to ethnicity, immigrant status, and socioeconomic school context – make meaning of their experiences in ways that inform their ideas about, and identification with, being patriotic in the USA." Again, the individual psychological experience is highlighted. Three interviewers conducted 22 interviews with youth between the ages of 15 and 18 (Ibid). She concluded that specific experiences effect how one forms and defines what "patriotism" is. The flaw of Jahromi's argument is similar to Park-Taylor et al.'s because she also says that specific experiences effect how one defines "patriotism." She leaves out many other possible causes which can affect how someone defines "patriotism." Also, she does not mention anything about patriotism in her study.

Cultural/Social School of Thought

The second school of thought is Cultural/Social. The causes for different variation in the perception about what "patriotism" is explained in these articles under this school of thought, which were more logical and useful when trying to explain my research question. This school of thought emphasize how one's ethnicity, culture, and beliefs serve as root causes along with other proximate causes that drive how someone defines what "patriotism" is. Tsai et al. (2002) explored what being "patriotic" means between Asian Americans and European American young adults. Tsai et al. argue that "[e]thnic groups in the United States have different concerns about, statuses in, and experiences with mainstream American culture; as a result, their notion of what it means to be "patriotic" may vary" (Ibid, 258). They presented their results from two studies that illustrated how six aspects of being patriotic are similar and different for various ethnic groups in the U.S. The results of the studies were contrary to their argument. Neither of the groups significantly differed in their references to political ideology and cultural exposure (Ibid). Also, contrary to their predictions, there were no differences in the meaning of being patriotic for Asian Americans who spent more time and those who spent less time in the United States.

The authors' argument is convincing, and I believe it is the best one to answer my question, but there are numerous flaws in this study, too. This study talked about patriotism. They found that Asians have less patriotism than Whites. They talked about race, and one of my hypotheses is about race. I think race is an important cause of patriotism, as the authors argued, but there are some other important causes of patriotism that this study leaves out. Because they left out certain variables, this argument should still be tested. Another flaw is that the authors used interviews, and spoke to a small number of people. So, does race really have an effect on a bunch of different people? They only found that it has an effect on a small number of people. In my study, I want to use survey questions, which will analyze lots of individuals.

One study compared participants' self-reported ethnicity with their view of being a typical patriotic. Weisskirch (2005) argued that ethnic minorities will not consider themselves as "typical Patriotics," and those who do perceive themselves as "typical patriotic" will have less of an attachment to an ethnic group. So one's ethnic identity correlates with how much they consider themselves to be "patriotic." His results supported his argument for the most part. Weisskirch talks about ethnic identity being related with how someone defines what "patriotism" is, which is relevant. However, his argument creates a limitation because it does not acknowledge other causes, such as religion, age, or the region of the U.S. in which an individual lives in. Also he fails to talk about patriotism among different ethnic groups in the U.S.

Rodriguez et al. (2010) argue that as cultural backgrounds and values of Americans change, the definition of "patriotism" will also change. They found that individuals thought in order to be "patriotic," sacrificing connection to family and community was needed. Further they found how personal identity was positively related to feeling patriotic and ethnic identity was negatively related to feeling patriotic (Ibid). They use the social dominance perspective to explain why some ethnic group members may feel more or less "patriotic." The argument about individuals who affiliate with certain ethnic groups that can cause them to be more or less "patriotic," is relevant. However, the argument does not investigate any other variables, which are also relevant just as much as someone's ethnic group.

Different perceptions of "patriotism" can arise from looking at someone's physical features. In Cheryan and Monin's (2005) study, individuals with Asian features were seen as less patriotic than others. They argue that Asian Americans face identity denial because they are constantly considered less patriotic than Whites. Eventually, this leads to the formation of hierarchy, based on color and physical appearances. The limitation of this study comes from the authors not mentioning any other causes besides physical appearances that can lead people to define what "patriotism" is. Schwartz et al. (2012, 122) indicated how one's perception of how they identify "patriotism" is related to their background, along with the experiences they had experienced and differences in how immigrants frame what "patriotism" is. They were able to find sufficient evidence for their claim. Their study is helpful for understanding my question; however, the study has many flaws. One limitation stated by Schwartz et al. is "the inclusion only of college students in our samples did not allow us to examine the properties of the American Identity Measure in other segments of the population" (Ibid). Another limitation is that the authors did not talk about any other causes besides someone's background influencing how they define "patriotism."

Based on the bodies of literature I have reviewed, I conclude there to be two main schools of thought that best explain the causes in variation in the perception of what "patriotism" is. The dominant schools of thought are psychological and cultural/social. When attempting to explain the causes in variation in the perception of what "patriotism" is, the psychological school of thought does not thoroughly explain all the different ways an individual's background and beliefs affects their definition of what "patriotism" is. It focuses more on the psychological processes of how they reach their answer. Many studies that I have labeled under the psychological school of thought contain flaws within the authors' arguments and how the experiments in each study were carried out. Therefore, I find using the cultural/social school of thought to be more convincing because it will emphasize how someone's race, religion, age, and region influences the causal aspect of why people define "patriotism" differently.

There have been multiple studies that deal with the various meaning of patriotism, which are simply descriptive. There have not been studies that explored the effects of race and religion on patriotism among individuals in America. My answer will make a contribution to the literature because not much empirical research has been done to test the causes of why people define "patriotism" differently and because the ones that did empirically test my argument contain at least one or more flaws with the author's arguments or research design.

Theory

Theory for Hypothesis 1

Imagine a person who is African American. Throughout history, individuals from this racial group have been mistreated in the U.S., where equality and opportunity is said to be the same for everyone. These people expect to be treated equally just like a white person, but when they get mistreated because of the color of their skin and their cultural differences they become upset. They also become emotionally upset knowing they live in a free country where their ancestors were slaves and dealt with segregation, not too long ago. They feel that they are being treated differently in work and social environments. Eventually they realize that although America claims to welcome everyone, it is not true for their case. They lose faith and start losing their beliefs in American values such as democracy, voting, and the military. Eventually an individual from a mistreated ethnic group's level of patriotism will be lower than someone whose ethnic group was not mistreated.

Theoretical Model H1

African Americans experience with Slavery and Segregation > racial group members being emotionally upset that they are not being treated fairly > Realization that America does not live up to its values, such as the land of freedom, opportunity and equality for all > Individuals from these group start losing faith in American values > their level of patriotism is lower than someone whose racial group was never severely mistreated.

Theory for Hypothesis 2

Picture a person who identifies being a Muslim. After September 11, 2001, Muslims have been discriminated against greatly in the U.S. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 were carried out by a few radical Muslims, yet many Muslims seem to receive the blame for a few criminals. Muslims in the U.S. want to be treated equally just like someone who shares a different religion, such as Christianity. Instead, they are being mistreated because of their religion. They became emotionally upset knowing they live in a free country where they are being stereotyped because of their religion. They feel they are being treated differently in work and social environments. Soon, they come to the realization that although America claims to welcome everyone, it does not live up to this value. They lose faith and start losing their beliefs in American values such as democracy, voting, and the importance for being in the military. An individual from a mistreated religious group will have a low level of patriotism than someone whose religious group has not been severely mistreated.

Theoretical Model H2

Individuals who identity as being Muslims > 9/11 happens > Muslims begin being heavily discriminated in the U.S. > Muslims become upset because they are being judged as a result of the actions of few > Realization that America does not live up to its values > Individuals start losing faith in American values where it should not discriminate any form of religions > their level of patriotism is lower than someone who was not discriminated against because they associate with a particular religion.

Hypotheses

Hypothesis 1:

Individuals who identity with severely mistreated racial groups (IV) in the U.S., such as Blacks, will have lower levels of patriotism than someone whose racial group has not been severely mistreated.

Hypothesis 2:

Individuals who identify with severely mistreated religious groups (IV) in the U.S., such as Muslims, will have lower levels of patriotism than someone whose religious group has not been severely mistreated.

Research Design

The Unit of analysis for my independent variables – someone's ethnic affiliation and religious affiliation – and my dependent variable – variation in defining "American," – all focus on individuals. I used survey questions from the General Social Survey (2004) to measure all my variables.

Variables:

My dependent variable is the variation in patriotism. I define patriotism in three ways. The first is patriotism in terms of adherence to certain American values, such as serving in military. Operationally, this question is defined through a survey question that asks how important it is to serve in military when needed. The responses will be measured ordinally. There are seven categories for this measure of the dependent variable. 1 being "not important at all" and 7 being "very important," the respondents could have chosen any number in between as well. Basically, the higher number you chose the more patriotic you will be considered.

The second is patriotism in terms of espousal of certain American norms, such as voting. Operationally it is defined through a survey question that asks how important it is always to vote in elections. This question will be measured ordinally. There are seven categories for this measure of this dependent variable. 1 being "not important at all" and 7 being "very important," the respondents were allowed to choose any number between 1 through 7. If an individual chose a higher number that will indicate that they were more patriotic.

The third is patriotism in terms of espousal of certain American principles, such as democracy. Operationally it is defined through a survey question that asks how well democracy works in America. This question will be measured ordinally. There are seven categories for the measure of this dependent variable. 1 being "not important at all" and 7 being "very important," the respondents could have chosen any number between 1 and 7. When an individual choses a higher number that will indicate that they are more patriotic.

The first independent variable is conceptually defined as an individual's racial group affiliation. Operationally it is defined from a survey question that asks the race of the respondent. The nominal level of measurement is used here because I am looking at individuals' race that they identify with. My two categories will be individuals who identity being "White" or "Black." The "Black" category for an individual will be 1 while all other categories will be 0. I put Black in one category and all others in a separate category, to see if there are any significant differences between Blacks and Whites, in terms of patriotism.

The second independent variable is conceptually defined as an individual's religious affiliation. Operationally it is defined by a survey question that asks the religion in which the respondent was raised. The nominal level of measurement will be used here because I am looking at individual's religion in which they were raised in. The religion groups I want to use are "Muslim/ Islam" and have "other" as another category which will include, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhism, Hinduism, Orthodox-Christian, Christian, Native American, and Inter-nondenominational. The "Muslim/Islam" category for an individual will be 1 while all other categories will be 0. I put Muslim in one category and all others in a separate category, to see if there are any significant difference between Muslim/Islam and other religious groups, in terms of patriotism.

The first confounding variable I will test is the respondent's age. The first confounding variable is conceptually defined as an individual's age. Operationally this will be measured through a survey question that asks the individuals for their age. Age will be measured continuously. It will be measured from 18 to 88 years. For this variable I expect to see a positive relationship, the older you become the more patriotic you will tend to be.

The second confounding variable is the region of the interview. This variable is conceptually defined as the region in the U.S. where the individual's interview took place. Operationally it is defined from a survey question that asks the region of the interview. The nominal level of measurement will be used here. The different regions where interviews took places are; New England, Middle Atlantic, E. Nor. Central, W. Nor. Central, South Atlantic, E.Sou. Central, W. Sou. Central, Mountain, and Pacific. I will put all the regions that have "South" in them into one category, then all the other categories into another. The "South" category for an individual will be 1 while all other categories will be 0. I put South in one category and all others into a separate category, because I want to see if there are any significant difference between individuals from the south and other parts of the U.S., in terms of patriotism.

Cases, Observation, Methodology, and Methods

The case I am using to test my hypotheses is the United States during the year 2004. The observations, I want to analyze, which are the 2812 individuals who were surveyed in 2004. The observations I want to analyze, which are each American in the year 2004, are the 2,812 individuals who were surveyed in the 2004 GSS, which is my data source. Since I plan to analyze a large number of observations, I have to use large-N quantitative methodology to analyze my data. More specifically, I will be using the statistical method which will include multiple regression tests for my variables.

Table 1: Descriptive Statistics

Table 1: Descriptive Statistics

Analysis of the Descriptive Statistics

The appropriate measure of central tendency for the variable "race of respondent" would be the mode, which is 1, because it is a nominal variable, and "black," race goes with number 1. The appropriate measure of central tendency for "religion in which the respondent was raised in" would also be the mode, which 83 is .00 because it is a nominal variable, and Muslim, religious group goes with number 1. To measure "age of the respondent" the best central tendency would be the mean, which is 45.75, because it is a continuous variable. The appropriate measure of central tendency for the variables to measure my dependent variable would be the median because they are all ordinal variables. I would use 6.00 to measure, "how important to serve in military when needed. I would use 7.00 to measure, "how important to always vote in elections, and use 7.00 to measure, "how well democracy works in America."

Results from Multiple Regression Tests

Table 2: Regression Results Model 1, Coefficientsa

Table 2: Regression Results Model 1, Coefficientsa

Analysis of Regression Model 1

The results from my first linear regression test show a mix of results. I found support for one of my hypotheses and one of my confounding variables. The unstandardized coefficient for race of the respondent shows that as you shift up on race (IV1), or as you move up one unit on race from white to black, you are going to get -.945 amount of decrease in the level of patriotism. This is close to a one unit drop for this question. Basically, as you move up from white to black you will see one unit decrease in how patriotic that individual is on this particular question. This supports my hypothesis. The unstandardized coefficient for my second hypothesis, about religion shows that as you shift up on religion (IV2), or as you move up one unit on religion from "all other religion" to "Muslim/Islam," you are going to get a .606 amount of increase in the level of patriotism. This does not support my hypothesis. We do not see a drop in the level of patriotism as you move from other religions to Islam.

I found support for my first confounding variable, age. The unstandardized coefficient for age of the respondent shows that as you shift up on age (CV1), you are going to get .025 amount of increase in the level of patriotism. So, as you become older, you tend to be a bit more patriotic. I also found support for my second confounding variable, region of the interview. The unstandardized coefficient for region shows that as you shift up from "all other regions" to "southern regions" (CV2), you are going to get .284 amount of increase in the level of patriotism. This supports what I predicted; if you are from the south, your level of patriotism, defined as important to serve in military when needed, will be higher than other regions.

Since the p-value is less than 0.05 with race, I can conclude that I am more than 95% confident that the relationship between race and patriotism will be found in the population. The p-value is way over 0.05 for religion; therefore, I cannot conclude that Muslims will have lower levels of patriotism in the population than someone non-Muslim. The p-value is less than 0.05 with age; I can conclude that I am more than 95% confident that the older you become the more patriotic you will be. This can be found in the population. The p-value is also less than 0.05 with region, so I can conclude that I am more than 95% confident that if you are from a southern region you will have higher levels of patriotism and this can be found in the population. This regression's R-square value of .087 means that the four variables account for only 8.7% of the variation in the dependent variable, which suggests that there are many other factors that also influence an individual's level of patriotism.

Table 3: Regression Results Model 2, Coefficientsa

Table 3: Regression Results Model 2, Coefficientsa

Analysis of Regression Model 2

I found no support for my hypotheses in my second regression model. I found support for the relationship between age (CV1) and patriotism. As you shift up on race (IV1), from white to black, you are going to get .123 amount of increase in the level of patriotism. For my second hypothesis, as you shift up on religion (IV2) – as you move up one unit on religion from "all other religion" to "Muslim/Islam" – you are going to get .504 amount of increase in the level of patriotism. None of these support my hypothesis. I found support for my first confounding variable, age. The unstandardized coefficient for age of the respondent shows that as you shift up on age (CV1), you are going to get .014 amount of increase the level of patriotism. The unstandardized coefficient for region shows that as you shift up from "all other regions" to "southern regions" (CV2), you are going to get .011 amount of increase in the level of patriotism. This shows my expected relationship.

Since the p-value is more than 0.05 with race and religion, I cannot conclude that I am more than 95% confident the relationship between people who identify being black, people who identify being Muslim/Islam and patriotism will be found in the population. Since the p-value for age is .000, I can conclude that I am more than 95% confident that the relationship between age and patriotism will be found in the population. The p-value is .900 for region, so I am not confident that the relationship between southern regions and patriotism will be found in the population. This regression's R-square value of .028 means that the four variables account for only 2.8% of the variation in the dependent variable, which suggests that there are many other factors that also influence an individual's level of patriotism.

Table 4: Regression Results Model 3, Coefficientsa

Table 4: Regression Results Model 3, Coefficientsa

Analysis of Regression Model 3

The results from my third linear regression test display a variety of results. The unstandardized coefficient for race of the respondent shows that as you shift up on race (IV1), you are going to get -1.065 amount of decrease. This is an over one unit drop for the question. This supports my hypothesis; if you are black you will have lower level of patriotism than someone white. The unstandardized coefficient for my second hypothesis, religion shows that as you shift up on race (IV2), from "all other religion" to "Muslim/Islam," you are going to get 1.730 amount of increase. This does not support my hypothesis. Again, we do not see a drop in the level of patriotism as you move from other religions to Islam. The unstandardized coefficient for age of the respondent shows that as you move up one unit on age you are going to get .010 amount of increase. The unstandardized coefficient for region shows that as you shift up from "all other regions" to "southern regions" (CV2), you are going to get .104 amount of increase, this does not support my expected relationship.

Since the p-value is .000 for race, I can conclude that I am more than 95% confident that the relationship between race and patriotism will be found in the population. The p-value for religion is .091, this is close to being significant, but I cannot conclude that Muslims are less patriotic than non-Muslims in the population. Since the p-value is .010 for age, I can conclude that I am more than 95% confident that the relationship between age and patriotism will be found in the population. The p-value is .445 for region, so I am not confident that the relationship between southern regions and patriotism will be found in the population. This regression's R-square value of .037 means that the four variables account for only 3.7% of the variation in the dependent variable, which suggests that there are other factors that also can influence an individual's level of patriotism.

Conclusion

Why do people define "patriotism" differently? As this paper tries to explore the possible causes, we can tell that the answer is not simple. My research is relevant to the scholarly community because multiple scholars have studied my topic and my research would further advance their study into finding the causes for variation in defining "patriotism." It is also crucial for NGO's and other institutions because it explains why people may feel differently towards patriotism, based on their race and age. If the NGO focuses on race, religion, region, and age relations in the U.S., then my research would be valuable for them. My research question is important to the general public because they are interested in the outcomes and in an accurate explanation for them so that they can use it for explaining to others about why people define "patriotism" differently.

There have been hundreds of studies that deal with the various meaning of patriotism. Most, studies are merely descriptive, emphasizing the characteristics of what "patriotism" is. Comparing with the research of defining American identity there is a lack of research where scholars explicitly highlight what causes individuals or certain groups of people in the U.S. to define "patriotism" differently. My research explicitly tries to explain why people offer different definitions of "patriotism." The results I found are valuable for everyone because it deals with how one form their identity in the U.S. Identity formation is a huge topic in the U.S., thus my topic will contribute to those who are interested in knowing how identity gets created, or breaks apart.

My first argument is that individuals who identity with mistreated racial groups (IV) in the U.S., such as Blacks, will have lower levels of patriotism than someone whose racial group has not been severely mistreated. My second argument is that individuals who identify with mistreated religious groups (IV) in the U.S., such as Muslims, will have lower levels of patriotism than someone whose religious group has not been severely mistreated. I used the large-N quantitative methodology and ran multiple linear regression tests with SPSS to test my hypotheses. I looked at individuals in the U.S. in 2004.

I found a relationship between an individual's race and two of the DV questions (military service and democracy-related questions), supporting that if you identify as black, you will have lower levels of patriotism than someone white. I also found how religion does not show any relationship with the three DV questions I used. So being raised as a Muslim does not affect your levels of patriotism. I found support for age, which is one of my confounding variables in all three DV questions. As you get a little older your level of patriotism will be higher. My second confounding variable, region of the interview only found support for one of my DV question which was "how important it is to serve in military when needed." Individuals from the "south" had more patriotism than any other regions in for this question. I found a variety of results from testing my argument. I cannot infer causation and strong support for my arguments with high confidence because I have not looked at all the variables that can influence an individual's level of patriotism. Lastly, I do not have any process-tracing data.

Implications

I found support for new hypotheses about the determinants of patriotism, suggesting that racial group affiliation is not the only thing that likely shapes someone's level of patriotism. Age is also factor in determining an individual's level of patriotism. My findings about blacks and non-blacks support the finding in a previous study done by Tsai et al., that different ethnic groups have different levels of patriotism. (Blacks have less patriotism than Whites) My findings are relevant to scholars because many are interested in my topic and my study gives a new cause for why there is a variation in defining what "patriotism" is. This research is crucial for policy makers because now they can think about how there are certain individuals who lack patriotism relative to other people and perhaps come up with policies that would make blacks and other racial group members more inclusive in the U.S. society, so their level of patriotism increases. Finally, the general public cares about my topic because it provides information about how one's identity gets created. They also will understand why some people are more or less patriotic in the U.S.

Limitations

There are several limitations to my study which should be taken into account. The survey questions I chose to measure my dependent variables with may not be the best ones for measuring one's level of patriotism. I only looked at four variables. There are ton of other variables that I have not been able to look at that can highly influence a person's level of patriotism. It is important to test other variables so we can be more certain about the relationships we find.

I cannot talk about causation because my data and results do not allow me to. There might be causation, but I cannot be sure about it. It is even harder for me to determine causation because I have survey data. Race for almost everyone comes before attitudes about patriotism, so this issue does not prevent me from establishing causation between race and patriotism. The temporal sequences of variables have probably been established. But the issue is that is this a true relationship? Or is this relationship being driven by some third variable or any other variable that I did not analyze? Thus, I am uncertain about the relationships I found. I am less uncertain about the race because I have established the temporal sequence, but there is still uncertainly because I did not analyze all other potential causes. Future research should take more time into account because that may help greatly with producing and analyzing better results.

Avenues/Ideas for Future Research

There should certainly be more research done with the topic I investigated. People who want to look more into the causes of the variation in defining "patriotism" should use survey questions that are more direct about patriotism. Perhaps, using survey questions from a different source other than the General Social Survey would be a good approach. Also, looking at different years in the U.S., and seeing if my argument also applies to other countries. Last, analyzing other potential variables which can also cause variation in patriotism is also something relevant that should be tested by scholars.


Author

Maria Islam was a student of International Studies, Law, and Society. She graduated in May of 2016. School of International Service (SIS), School of Public Affairs (SPA), American University. Email: mi0700a@american.edu


References

Barlow, K. M., D. M. Taylor, and W. E. Lambert. 2000. "Ethnicity in America and feeling "American."" The Journal of psychology 134 (6): 581-600. doi: 10.1080/00223980009598238.

Cheryan, Sapna, and Benoit Monin. 2005. ""Where Are You Really From?": Asian Americans And Identity Denial." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 89 (5): 717-730. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.89.5.717

Devos, Thierry, and Leakhena Heng. 2009. "Whites Are Granted the American Identity More Swiftly than Asians: Disentangling the Role of Automatic and Controlled Processes." Social Psychology 40 (4): 192-201. doi: 10.1027/1864-9335.40.4.192.

Devos, Thieery, and Maahzarin R. Banaji. 2005. "American = White." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 88 (3): 447-466. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.88.3.447.

General Social Survey. Last modified: 2004. "Data on how important always to vote in in elections." Accessed October 10, 2013. http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/.

General Social Survey. Last modified: 2004. "Data on how important to serve in Military when needed." Accessed October 10, 2013. http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/.

General Social Survey. Last modified: 2004. "Data on how well democracy work in America." Accessed October 18, 2013. http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/.

General Social Survey. Last modified: 2004. "Data on race of the respondent." Accessed October 10, 2013. http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/.

General Social Survey. Last modified: 2004. "Data on religion in which raised." Accessed October 10, 2013. http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/.

General Social Survey. Last modified: 2004. "Data on respondent's age." Accessed October 10, 2013. http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/.

General Social Survey. Last modified: 2004. "Data on what region in the U.S. the respondent is from." Accessed October 10, 2013. http://www.3norc.org/GSS+-Website/.

Jahromi, P. 2011. "American Identity in the USA: Youth Perspectives." Applied Developmental Science 15 (2):79-93. doi: 10.1080/10888691.2011.560811.

Park-Taylor, Jennie, Vicky Ng, Allison B. Ventura, Angela E. Kang, Courtney R. Morris, Tracey Gilbert, Devika Srivastava, and Ryan A. Androsiglio. 2008. "What it Means to Be and Feel Like a "True" American: Perceptions and Experiences of Second-Generation Americans." Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology 14 (2): 128-137. doi: 10.1037/10999809.14.2.128.

Rodriguez, Liliana Seth J. Schwartz , Susan Krauss Whitbourne. 2010. "American Identity Revisited: The Relation Between National, Ethnic, and Personal Identity in a Multiethnic Sample of Emerging Adults." Journal of Adolescent Research 25 (2): 324-349. doi: 10.1177/0743558409359055.

Schwartz, Seth J., Linda G. Castillo, Robert S. Weisskirch, Alexander T. Vazsonyi, Michelle K. Williams, V. Bede Agocha, Irene J. K. Park, Que-Lam Huynh, Byron L. Zamboanga, Adriana J. Umana-Taylor, Richard M. Lee, Liliana Rodriguez, Su Yeong Kim, and Susan Kraus Whitbourne. 2012. "The American Identity Measure: Development and Validation across Ethnic Group and Immigrant Generation." Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research 12 (2): 93-128. doi: 10.1080/15283488.2012.668730.

Tsai, Jeanne L., Heather Mortensen, Ying Wong, and Dan Hess. 2002. "What Does "Being American" Mean? A Comparison of Asian American and European American Young Adults." Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology 8 (3): 257-273. doi: 10.1037/1099-9809.8.3.257.

Weisskirch, R. S. 2005. "Ethnicity and Perceptions of Being a "Typical American" in Relationship to Ethnic Identity Development." International Journal of Intercultural Relations 29 (3): 355-366. doi: 10.1016/j.injintrel.2005.05.008.

Suggested Reading from Inquiries Journal

A quintessential aspect of many American girls' childhood involves plastic bodies (Rogers, 1999, 112). Pieced together by molded plastic heads, plastic arms, and plastic legs that are efficiently mass-produced by our formidable... MORE»
Advertisement
Domestic fiction reigned in women’s literature during the nineteenth-century. These narratives defined ”True Womanhood,” where the female exemplified four pillars: piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness... MORE»
The year 2015 saw heightened racial and ethnic tension in the United States, with particular regard to Latin American immigrants and the U.S. presidential election. Discourse theory assumes that identity (re)production serves... MORE»
Nationalism is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as, “loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups... MORE»
Submit to Inquiries Journal, Get a Decision in 10-Days

Inquiries Journal provides undergraduate and graduate students around the world a platform for the wide dissemination of academic work over a range of core disciplines.

Representing the work of students from hundreds of institutions around the globe, Inquiries Journal's large database of academic articles is completely free. Learn more | Blog | Submit

Follow SP

Latest in Political Science

2017, Vol. 9 No. 10
The United States government started exploring the soft power potential of student and scholar exchange programs as early as 1908, with the establishment of the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program.[1] The father of the theory of soft power, Joseph... Read Article »
2017, Vol. 9 No. 10
Political philosophers and theorists alike continue to debate if more enlightened populations would be of value or not. This piece will contribute to that dispute by claiming that an enlightened populace is integral to the progress of free-societies... Read Article »
2017, Vol. 9 No. 07
There has been extensive debate over the past few decades regarding the criteria by which we should measure distributive justice. In conceiving a just state of affairs it is imperative that we determine the most appropriate measure of the distributions... Read Article »
2017, Vol. 9 No. 06
Similarly to many European countries, the Swedish population often perceive their history as an epoch of homogeneity: a time when every Swedish citizen was believed to have had the same ethnic phenotype, spoken the same language, believed in the... Read Article »
2017, Vol. 7 No. 2
Published by Clocks and Clouds
Although terrorism has been present in the world for centuries, it is only since the 1980s that suicide terrorism has become an object of study for academics and an existing concern for government professionals. While discourses on suicide terrorism... Read Article »
2017, Vol. 7 No. 2
Published by Clocks and Clouds
The relationship between party system fragmentation and voter turnout is not entirely understood in contemporary political science literature. It is often assumed that party system fragmentation is a primary driver of proportional representation... Read Article »
2017, Vol. 7 No. 2
Published by Clocks and Clouds
Over the last couple of decades, women-spearheaded social movements have mobilized to leave a lasting impression on civil societies across the globe. The Arab Spring challenged old ideas of oppressive regimes and signaled possibilities for change... Read Article »

What are you looking for?

FROM OUR BLOG

Finding Balance in Graduate School
Presentation Tips 101 (Video)
Writing a Graduate School Personal Statement