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Nearly half of white Republicans say it bothers them to hear people speaking foreign languages

A new survey finds that white Republicans are far more likely to be put off by foreign language speakers than their Democratic counterparts.

According to the Pew Research Center, 47% of such Republicans say it would bother them ‘‘some’’ or ‘‘a lot’’ to ‘‘hear people speak a language other than English in a public place.’’ Just 18% of white Democrats said they’d be similarly bothered.

Aside from politics, age and education are the major predictors of linguistic discomfort. About 18% of whites younger than 30 said they would be bothered by a foreign language being spoken, compared with 43% in the 50 to 64 age group, and 45% among those 65 and older.


Among all racial groups, whites (34%) are most likely to be bothered hearing foreign languages, followed by blacks (25%), Asians (24%), and Hispanics (13%). Among Americans overall, 70% put their level of unease at ‘‘not much’’ or ‘‘not at all.’’

When asked about the projected makeup of the United States in 2050, some 37% of Republicans said that ‘‘having a majority of the population made of up of blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and other racial minorities’’ would be bad for the country — the highest share among any demographic group surveyed. Nearly 60% of Republicans said that a majority nonwhite population would ‘‘weaken American customs and values,’’ while an identical percentage predicted it would lead to greater conflict between racial and ethnic groups.

washington post