Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Traditional Values Coalition distorts marketing statistics to attack ENDA

In the midst of the hoopla about ballot initiatives that we have to put up with today, it's "touching" that religious right groups take time out of their busy schedule of trying to deny us marriage equality and non-discrimination rights to make the case that we are so rich that we don't deserve any employment protection at all.

Take the case of Lou Sheldon and the Traditional Values Coalition's push against upcoming ENDA hearings:

ENDA is designed to get homosexuals, bisexuals, cross-dressers, and transsexuals added to the list of federally-protected minorities. If this is accomplished, the LGBT agenda will be imposed on businesses, local, state and federal governments, including public schools K-12, Christian day care centers and camps, plus religious broadcasters with more than 15 employees.

This legislation is based on the false premise that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals are victims of widespread and systematic discrimination in the workplace.

Marketing statistics from gay marketing companies indicate that the average income for a gay or lesbian is $80,000 a year. The U.S. Census notes that the median income in 2008 for blacks was $34,218; for Hispanics it was $37,913; for Asians it was $65,637. Median income for non-Hispanic white households was $55,530.

In addition, gay marketers say that gays and lesbians spend an estimated $45 to $65 billion a year on travel!

The first part of this statement is a mishmash of bad talking points, distortions, and aggressive semantical words.

We've heard it all before.  And what else should we expect from a man who has no shame in referring to lgbts as "sodomites."

But that claim regarding lgbt income is sure to come up again.

It's a huge distortion but an old strategy used by religious right groups to make the case against non-discrimination protection for lgbts.

In looking at lgbt income, Sheldon cites research done by "marketing companies," but in looking at African-American, Asian, and Hispanic income, he cites the U.S. Census.

The problem with this is that work done by marketing companies is totally different from the work done by the U.S. Census. Marketing companies are generally hired by businesses in order to find where the appeal would be for their product. Of course their work is geared to folks with money, whether they be lgbt or not.

The U.S. Census is mainly an objective way to count numbers and income to gain an idea of how large a population is and what their needs are.

Let me put it this way.

According to religioustolerance.org:

A number of surveys promoted by conservative Christian organizations claim that gays and lesbians have higher incomes than heterosexuals, and thus have no need of civil rights protection in employment.

Perhaps the most famous survey is the one conducted by the Simmons Market Research Bureau in 1988-OCT. It is commonly promoted by the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Freedom Heritage Forum and other conservative Christian groups. The conclusions were reported in The Wall Street Journal in 1991-JUL. The raw data looks impressive:

Average household Income: Homosexuals: $55,430; National Average: $32,286/yr

Percent College Graduates: Homosexuals: 60%; National Average: 18%

Workers in Professional or Management Jobs: Homosexuals: 49%; National Average: 16%

Taking overseas vacations: Homosexuals: 66%; national average: 14%

The problem with the data is that the values quoted for "homosexuals" are in no way representative of the average gay and lesbian. the survey was taken among homosexuals who subscribe to one of 8 leading gay newspapers; they thus belong to a select group within the les/gay community.

Media Matters.org puts it this way:

The survey's findings, however, did not reflect a representative sample of the national gay population. The Simmons survey polled only readers of popular gay-oriented magazines and those who filled out sign-up sheets for the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. As the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals Inc. (NOGLSTP) noted, "People who buy and read newspapers and magazines tend to have more education and higher incomes. Gay events attract people who can afford to travel or pay an entrance fee."

Media Matters goes on to bring up a fact that is sure to put a kink in Sheldon's obvious attempt to play the lgbt and African-American community against each other:

Indeed, as NOGLSTP also noted, a 1989 study by Simmons found that readers of African-American-oriented magazines like Jet, Ebony, and Essence earned 41 to 82 percent more than the average African-American.

So Sheldon and the Traditional Values Coalition are misappropriating "marketing research" to make a false case against ENDA.

Why that's almost as bad as distorting studies that looked at non-married gay couples to make a case against marriage equality.

Wait a minute. TVC was already beaten to the punch on that one by the Family Research Council.

In all honesty though, truncating credible studies, i.e. distorting their conclusions, the information included in the study, or the purpose of the study, is a religious right hallmark.

So much so that it obviously must be approved Christian behavior according to that new Conservapedia version of the Bible I keep hearing about.

One of these days, I'm going to have to read that thing.

Related posts and articles:

Passive Aggressive

Another flawed piece of work courtesy of the Family Research Council

What are the top religious right lies about the gay community?

Researchers complain about religious right distortion of their work

Family Research Council head misrepresents credible information to hurt ENDA

Bathrooms, Church Exemptions, and Lies: Five ways the religious right misrepresents ENDA

Catholic writer unsuccessfully tries to refute my ENDA post

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