Outside the realm of overtly criminal organizations, far away from the street-level drug peddlers and others who might view the "stop snitchin" movement as a mere witness intimidation tactic, most Americans don't think it's okay to snitch. According to a recent national survey of 1,436 US workers:
EVEN though one in three workers say they have witnessed unethical activities at work, only 47 per cent are willing to "blow the whistle" on their company or boss, according to a recent survey. Unethical and illegal activities in the workplace, also known as white-collar crimes, include financial fraud, bankruptcy fraud, bribery, insider trading, tax evasion and embezzlement.Before long some savvy marketer will inevitably branch out with the product line - they could be selling those "Stop Snitching" t-shirts in the malls to mainstream America, not just as a novelty item in the 'hood. Hell, you could create an upscale version to sell near Wall Street to people who had to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley. The sentiment against snitching obviously resonates much more deeply than just its application in the justice system or the drug war.
Interestingly, men are more likely than women to report these types of activities, according the 2006 survey conducted by Spherion Corp, a staffing and recruiting company.
I'm surprised, upon reflection, that police unions don't have their own version of the slogan: nowhere does the "no snitching" sentiment hold sway more than among cops themselves. To be sure, some courageous officers come forward in the fact of misconduct by their mates, but they can pay a steep professional price. Snitching among police officers is a cultural taboo. But the baseline sentiment that cops shouldn't snitch on each other, like the whole discussion of snitching, lies in a gray, muddled area, morally speaking, where strongly held values like loyalty and honesty conflict.
The sentiment against snitching represents a commonly held value among a huge swath of the public, not just those engaging in crime. Seeing the results of this survey emphasizes to me that, whatever its root, opposition to snitching is a deeply entrenched part of the American ethos, not just a vehicle for petty witness intimidation, even if on occasion it has become that, too.
See prior Grits' coverage.