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Houstonian 1987
The Classrooms
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Students of the University of Houston. Houstonian 1987 - The Classrooms. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 30, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb/item/25027/show/24793.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Students of the University of Houston. Houstonian 1987 - The Classrooms. Houstonian Yearbook Collection. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb/item/25027/show/24793

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Students of the University of Houston, Houstonian 1987 - The Classrooms, Houstonian Yearbook Collection, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 30, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb/item/25027/show/24793.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Compound Item Description
Title Houstonian 1987
Creator (LCNAF)
  • Students of the University of Houston
Caption The Houstonian is the official yearbook of the University of Houston.
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • University of Houston
Language English
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Digital Collection Houstonian Yearbook Collection
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/yearb
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction This image is in the public domain and may be used freely. If publishing in print, electronically, or on a website, please use the citation button above. To request higher resolution images, please use the Request High Res button above.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title The Classrooms
Creator (LCNAF)
  • Students of the University of Houston
Caption The Houstonian is the official yearbook of the University of Houston.
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • University of Houston
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction This image is in the public domain and may be used freely. If publishing in print, electronically, or on a website, please use the citation button above. To request higher resolution images, please use the Request High Res button above.
File name yearb_1987_165.jpg
Transcript John Doe, an average Ameri - can citizen, is at home minding his own business, when he is telephoned by someone taking a survey who asks him this question: "Do you think everyone should be allowed freedom of speech?" "Of course," John Doe replies without hesitation. "After all," he reasons, "freedom of speech is a personal right guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States." After recording John Doe's response, the pollster poses another question: "Do you think a Communist should be allowed to make a speech in your community?" "Communist! Speak in my community? No way!" John Doe roars. "After all," he reasons, "Communists are anti- American." John Doe has just contradicted himself. He, like the average American, is a casualty of what Dr. James Bigson, University of Houston associate professor of political science, terms the "pan balance." "It's only when you balance out that statement with something on the other side, in this case a Communist, that the concept of freedom of speech becomes so important," Gibson says. "It's now a little more costly to support that right." What the average American is and is not willing to put up with in our political system has been the emphasis of Gibson's research on political tolerance. His survey examining political tolerance in the context of the Houston referendum on the employment rights of homosexuals has led to some startling conclusions about why the referendum was defeated overwhelmingly more than 18 months ago. And his recently published book dealing with political intolerance focuses on incidents in Skokie, Illinois, a predominately Jewish town, where Nazis were permitted to demonstrate openly. Political tolerance goes further than deciding what people will and will not endure, its implications are as broad as the term democracy. Defined, democracy is "majority rule with respect to minority rights." Consequently, Gibson contends "the study of tolerance is the study of democratic political cultures and the willingness of the majority to put up with minorities struggling for power." Does political intolerance have implications for political behavior? "Yes," Gibson states emphatically. "People act intolerantly out of a keen sense of personal threat. Their motivation to act is based on such feelings as "I've got to do something. I've got to prevent voted and why. Although the final vote was four-to-one against the measure, Gibson discovered that Houstonians are more tolerant of homosexuals than the vote would have someone believe. Statistics from Gibson's survey show that 30 percent of registered voters supported the measure, 25 percent were unsure of their views, and 45 percent were opposed. These percentages don't collaborate with a resounding four-to-one defeat, which Gibson attributes to voter turnout. "The results of the survey definitely show the turnout factor biased the election," Gibson commented. "Those who op- "Communist! Speak In My Community? No Way!" them from ruining my society." It's easier to get people to act intolerantly because their immediate self-interest is at stake." Locally, perhaps the most striking example of mass intolerance affecting political behavior was the January 1985 gay rights referendum which sought to prohibit discrimination based on an individual's sexual orientation. The four-to-one vote was indeed a clear voice against the measure, but Gibson contends there was more to the vote than meets the eye. Shortly after the referendum, and in coordination with the UH Center for Public Policy, Gibson and Kent Tedin, associate professor of political science, conducted a telephone survey of 650 registered voters in Houston to determine who posed the measure turned out at a dramatically higher rate than those who supported it. Even though a plurality did oppose the referendum, overall, Houstonians are not nearly as intolerant as they appeared in this election." The key to the successful opposition in this election was its intensity. According to Gibson, those who oppose an issue, such as rights for an unpopular political minority, are twice as likely to have strong feelings than those in favor of the issue. Opposition to the gay rights referendum was intense. In fact, 24 percent of the survey respondents said their church leaders urged them to vote no. "There weren't many organizations that actively encouraged their people to go out and support the gay rights law, but much of the anti-gay vote was due to people who voted because their group told them to get out there and vote," Gibson said. "Even if the pro-gay groups encouraged their people to vote, those groups just didn't number as many, and therefore couldn't have had as big an impact on the outcome." Only four months earlier, Houstonians held the fate of a $595 million bond issue, funding road improvement, fire stations and park land, in their hands. Despite the fact that voters were deciding whether or not to hand over millions of tax dollars only eight percent of registered voters turned out, with a majority voting yes. Turnout for the gay rights referendum was nearly four times as high, thus demonstrating the intensity of the issue. Gibson's research of political tolerance among the public has showed that minorities, overall, are more tolerant and receptive to basic civil liberties, mainly because they are worried about their own civil liberties. Gibson says this is one reason why blacks voted in favor of the gay rights referendum, while whites voted against by a nine-to-one margin. "It's a fear on the part of minorities that if other people are denied rights, they'll be denied theirs too." In a survey of Houston's Gay Political Caucus, Gibson discovered that the gay's hatred of their biggest political enemy, the Moral Majority, is extremely intense, but members of the Caucus were more inclined to allow their foes basic civil rights. Consequently, the gay community strongly supported the right of Nazis to hold an anti-gay demonstration in Houston's Montrose section in 1984. "Virtually anyone is more tolerant after victimization," Gibson points out. Women are an exception to that rule. Although women still face numerous types of discrimination, Gibson has discovered that they are less toler- 165