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Obama and race

with 5 comments

I agree with this. I think political correctness prevented many democrats from thinking clearly about how race would influence the final outcome of the election. Political correctness also prevents us from understanding many other obvious things about society today.

Related discussion here.

WSJ: …Democrats’ fatal blindness to the brute fact of race in America. When, during the primaries, the Clintons seemed to allude to the subject of Sen. Obama’s electability in light of his race, they were accused by many of their fellow Democrats of “playing the race card.” It is fairly incredible that it was, for the most part, not until this summer that liberals began publicly asking themselves if the country was ready for a black president. That it was not until recently that liberals began wondering with any forcefulness whether people really were telling pollsters the truth about their attitudes toward race. (“Will race influence your vote for president?” “Race?! Me? Are you kidding? Of course not!”)

For 18 months, the majority of liberal commentators wrote so rapturously and unskeptically about Sen. Obama’s candidacy that you would have thought he was just a white guy with a deep tan. It was as though people were afraid that if they spoke honestly about racism as a stumbling block to his candidacy, they would be taken for racists themselves. Indeed, it was as though by ignoring racist attitudes when writing about Sen. Obama, liberal commentators conferred on themselves the virtuous idealism that they were fantastically attributing to the country as a whole. It is an elementary psychological fact that we sometimes praise to an absurd degree what makes us slightly uncomfortable — or that we put the source of discomfort in an impossibly ideal light in order to put as much distance as possible between us…and the person we fear we may actually be.

What polls show about racism and voting:

…Some people who are telling pollsters they’re for Obama could actually be lying.

Such behavior has been called the “Bradley Effect ,” after Tom Bradley, a black mayor of Los Angeles who lost his bid to be California’s governor back in 1982. While every poll showed him leading his white opponent, that isn’t how the final tally turned out. Things haven’t been far different in some other elections involving black candidates. In 1989, David Dinkins was eighteen points ahead in the polls for New York’s mayoral election, but ended up winning by only a two-point edge. The same year, Douglas Wilder was projected to win Virginia’s governorship by nine points, but squeaked in with one half of one percent of the popular vote. Nor are examples only from the past. In Michigan in 2006, the final polls forecast that the proposal to ban affirmative action would narrowly prevail by 51 percent. In fact, it handily passed with 58 percent. That’s a Bradley gap of seven points, which isn’t trivial.

Pollsters contend that respondents often change their minds at the last minute, or that conservatives are less willing to cooperate with surveys. Another twist is that more voters are mailing in absentee ballots, and it’s not clear how those early decisions are reflected in the polls. Yet the Bradley gap persists after voters have actually cast their ballots. Just out of the booth, we hear them telling white exit pollers that they supported the black candidate, whereas returns from these precincts show far fewer such votes. Thus they lie to interviewers they don’t know and will never see again.

Written by infoproc

September 14, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Obama and race on campus

with 4 comments

The melting pot still has a ways to go, even on elite university campuses. I suspect most liberal whites feel better about themselves thinking that they have a black friend, or voting for a black candidate. Apparently most black students don’t feel they have even a single white friend.

It’s still early, but at the moment I think I’m likely going to vote for Obama, partially because I think he’s the smartest and most effective person in the race, but also because I can’t take any more of Hillary’s pandering. I actually respect McCain — the biggest problem I have with him is probably his age.

WSJ: …”It’s much harder to be a white person and go to an all black party at Duke than vote for Obama, says Jessie Weingartner, a Duke junior. “On a personal level it is harder to break those barriers down.”

Jazmyn Singleton, a black Duke senior agrees, After living in a predominantly white dorm freshman year, she lives with five African-American women in an all-black dormitory. “Both communities tend to be very judgmental,” says Ms. Singleton, ruefully. “There is pressure to be black. The black community can be harsh. People will say there are 600 blacks on campus but only two-thirds are ‘black’ because you can’t count blacks who hang out with white people.”

The racial divisions among college students are striking both because of the fervor for Obama and the increasing diversity on campus. Colleges offer a unique opportunity for students to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere where many of the issues that often divide blacks and whites, like income and educational levels, are minimized amid the common goals of going to class, playing sports and going to parties.

About 10% of Duke students are African-American, compared to 4.5% two decades ago; they include many popular athletes as well as student leaders. The newly elected head of the graduate and professional student association is an African-American woman. Black and white students live together in the same group of dorms during freshman year, though they can join fraternities and sororities and select their roommates starting in sophomore year.

Like many colleges, Duke sponsors initiatives to address race relations on campus, an effort that gained added impetus following the widely publicized incident two years ago when white lacrosse players hired a black stripper to perform at a party and the woman then falsely accused several of the students of raping her.

But working or voting for an African-American running for president doesn’t necessarily bridge differences — on campus or, later, in the workplace. Following a recent discussion in one of his classes about the campaign, in which most students expressed support for Sen. Obama, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a Duke sociologist, asked his white students how many had a black friend on campus. All the white students raised their hands.

He then asked the black students how many of them had a white friend on campus. None of them raised their hands.

The more he probed, Mr. Bonilla-Silva says, the more he realized that the definition of friendship was different. The white students considered a black a “friend” if they played basketball with him or shared a class. “It was more of an acquaintance,” recalls Mr. Bonilla-Silva.

Black students, by contrast, defined a friend as someone they would invite to their home for dinner. By that measure, none of the students had friends from the opposite race. Mr. Bonilla-Silva says when white college students were asked in series of 1998 surveys about the five people with whom they interacted most on a daily basis, about 68% said none of them were black. When asked if they had invited a black person to lunch or dinner recently, about 68% said “no.” He says his own research and more recent studies show similar results.

Written by infoproc

May 3, 2008 at 8:36 pm