As part of a comparative study of attitudes toward freedom of expression, Americans, Israeli Jews, and Israeli Arabs were asked about the social contexts in which they feel unfree to speak and about the reasons that inhibit them. Home was the least inhibiting locus in all three cultures and, for the U.S. respondents, the workplace was most inhibiting. Responding to a battery of 33 reasons for not speaking out, all three cultures gave highest ratings to items related to the fear of hurting others. Questions measuring fear of being disapproved or hurt by others - including fear of isolation from the majority and fear of legal restraint - were ranked lower. An overall index of inhibition items proved highly reliable cross-culturally. Americans claimed least inhibition and Israeli Arabs most. Males and those with higher education levels and incomes were also less inhibited across the three cultures. Expression inhibition was negatively, though weakly, related to support for expressive rights among both Israeli groups and American whites but not American blacks, where the relation was positive. Expression inhibition was negatively related to political activity among Americans and Israeli Jews but not among Arabs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science