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On this Martin Luther King Day, we have an analysis of a Pew survey about attitudes about race. Only one […]

On this Martin Luther King Day, we have an analysis of a Pew survey about attitudes about race. Only one of the takeaways of this survey was the wealth gap, which is not terribly surprising:

 Blacks lag behind whites in homeownership, household wealth and median income, among other indicators. And these differences remain even when controlling for levels of education.

What’s most interesting to us is this statistic:

About six-in-ten Americans (61%) say more changes are needed to achieve racial equality; 30% say the country has already made enough changes. There’s a big race gap on this question: 88% of blacks and seven-in-ten Hispanics say more changes are needed for blacks to have equal rights with whites compared with 53% of whites. Some 38% of whites say the necessary changes have been made.

About this issue, Blacks are more pessimistic that the U.S. will make the changes needed than are Whites and Hispanics.

Read the rest here.

07
Jan

This article from the Washington Post is another in a long and continuing line of How Did This Happen analyses […]

This article from the Washington Post is another in a long and continuing line of How Did This Happen analyses of the presidential election. This one uses the theory that nostalgia for White Christian America – presumably in the 1950s, whether or not they actually lived through the 50s – drove so many Americans to vote for Trump. Because nothing says nostalgia for a simpler time like a thin-skinned man with a fragile ego who tweets out provocations to foreign countries before he’s inaugurated and dismisses the entire intelligence community. Just like Eisenhower, right?

Sorry. Back to the race issue. White resentment is a real thing, and it’s been reported on in many outlets and researched by Pew and others. But the framing of the article, that all these voters wanted was a return to Andy Griffith America – Andy Griffith was a TV SHOW – sorry – shows that either these people are suffering from the worst case of cognitive dissonance ever, or the author is treating their racism with kid gloves. Here’s a key passage:

Seventy-four percent of white evangelicals believe American culture has mostly changed for the worse since the 1950s — more than any other group of Americans — compared with 56 percent of all whites, according to a 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. In sharp contrast, 62 percent of African Americans and 57 percent of Hispanic Americans think the culture has changed for the better, the survey said.

With his promise to “Make America Great Again,” Trump appealed directly to this sense of dispossession, and 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for him, according to exit polls.

Make America Great Again is about racism. Say it, Washington Post. Well, the writer sort of gets real with some fact-based history about the town The Andy Griffith Show was supposedly based on, Mount Airy, North Carolina:

Not everyone is nostalgic for the 1950s.

Ron Jessup, 68, who grew up in Mount Airy during that era, found the place generally friendly then, he said — as long as he and other blacks obeyed the racist laws and social mores of the time.

If African Americans went to the theater, they sat upstairs, he said. If they went to the restaurants, they avoided the counter. “We understood what was considered our place,” said Jessup, who is retired from his job as a high school principal in nearby Winston-Salem. Even now, all five Surry County commissioners are white.

Fictional Mayberry only represented part of the Mount Airy story because it only portrayed a white America, Jessup said.

And the article is still skirting the glaring truth: many of these voters don’t care just about the Bible or gay marriage or lower taxes, they want a White dominant America.

They’re not going to get it. It’s simply not possible. And they’re going to be very angry if and when they realize this.

A new report by the independent Economic Cycle Research Institute, covers a lot of economic ground with it statistics on employment […]

A new report by the independent Economic Cycle Research Institute, covers a lot of economic ground with it statistics on employment and economics over the past nine years. But this sentence in the report stands out:

Whites actually have fewer jobs than nine years ago, while Hispanics, Blacks and Asians together gained all of the net jobs added, and more.

This editorial in the New York Times suggests that these statistics, the lopsided job gains that benefitted Americans of color over the past nine years, had an impact on the recent election. You know that Angry White Working Class voter? Turns out he had something to be angry about:

Despite accounting for less than 15 percent of the labor force, Hispanics got more than half of the net additional jobs. Blacks and Asians also gained millions more jobs than they lost. But whites, who account for 78 percent of the labor force, lost more than 700,000 net jobs over the nine years.

By the numbers, from November 2007 to November 2016:

- The U.S. economy has gained net 9 million jobs.

-  Whites experienced a net job reduction of more than 700,000 jobs.

-  Asian Americans gained close to 2.5 million jobs.

- Blacks gained a little over 2 millions.

- Latinos  gained almost 5 million net jobs.

Taking age into account, the numbers are even more shocking. Looking only at those of prime working age—25 to 54 years old—whites suffered a net job loss of 6.5 million. For Latinos, Asians, and blacks in the same age cohort, the net job gains were 3 million, 1.5 million, and 1 million respectively.

Part of it had to do with where the new jobs are concentrated vs. where the white people are concentrated, according to ECRI:

Part of the reason may be that these jobs, predominantly in services, were created in metropolitan areas, rather than in rural areas and small towns where factories were shuttered as the manufacturing jobs disappeared. There is little reason to expect that those jobs are coming back to those areas away from the urban centers.

Metropolitan areas gained jobs over the past nine years, while the rest of the country shed 2 percent. Trump won white working class voters decisively, which made the difference in heavily rural states and in non-urban areas of swing states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Overall, among whites without a college degree, Trump won by 39 points. More importantly, he outperformed Mitt Romney by 14 points among that group.

A couple of things to point out:

- The data don’t show that, despite some ugly race-baiting, that non-whites “took white people’s jobs.”

- The data don’t suggest that things are great for most Americans of color.

- The data do not show that we hat we don’t need more investment in urban or metropolitan areas.

- The data do not show that all or most of the jobs gained were good, well-paying jobs.

What the data do suggest is that white resentment is based on some actual numbers. Though these working class (generally) whites didn’t have this study to go on, they have been perceiving the situation accurately  - that they have been left behind economically. This anger over this can take many unproductive forms, which we have seen. This can be lashing out with racism, a rise in opioid drug use, or, though we can disagree on this, voting for a “change candidate,” without much concern over whether that change candidate will deliver what they want, or just blow the whole system up.

Politically, both parties should pay attention to these numbers.

 

 

05
Dec

Here’s another in a series of articles exploring What the Heck Happened on November 8, particularly where it involves that […]

Here’s another in a series of articles exploring What the Heck Happened on November 8, particularly where it involves that vaunted White Working Class voter. According to The Atlantic article, Clinton didn’t lose their votes because she didn’t deliver an economic message but rather, they didn’t/couldn’t/didn’t want to hear it.

Trump’s white voters do support the mommy state, but only so long as it’s mothering them. Most of them don’t seem eager to change Medicare or Social Security, but they’re fine with repealing Obamacare and its more diverse pool of 20 million insured people. They’re happy for the government to pick winners and losers, so long as beleaguered coal and manufacturing companies are in the winner’s circle. Massive deficit-financed spending on infrastructure? Under Obama, that was dangerous government overreach, but under Trump, it’s a jobs plan by a guy they know won’t let Muslims and Mexicans cut in line to get work renovating highways and airports.

The writer isn’t too explicit about what the apparent cognitive dissonance among White Working Class voters is about, so we’ll make it: They’re afraid that the benefits of a liberal social democracy, benefits they would like for themselves, are going to “Those People,” AKA, immigrants and people of color. So, instead of voting for more for everyone, including themselves, they will vote against Those People having more (and, though the writer doesn’t say this explicitly, possibly screwing over themselves).

 

Elections are about a lot of things, obviously. People vote for a variety of reasons, obviously. But when you have […]

Elections are about a lot of things, obviously. People vote for a variety of reasons, obviously. But when you have white nationalists (AKA white supremacists) jumping for joy at the election of someone who they think will “bring their world view into being,” you really have to sit up and take notice.

One prominent white nationalist says plainly that the election of Trump was about white identity:

That concept would be that white Americans, as whites, have collective interests that are legitimate — just as blacks and Asians and every other group have collective interests that are legitimate. One obvious legitimate interest of whites is not to be reduced to a minority.

Now, I don’t think Donald Trump really thinks in those terms. But for those of us who have been trying to slow the dispossession of whites, all of his policies — at least, those pertaining to immigration — align very nicely with the sorts of things we’ve been saying for many years.

I think that is almost — well, probably entirely — an accident. He does not arrive at these views because of any kind of sense that white Americans deserve to be a majority in their own country. I don’t think he thinks in those terms.

White nationalists, again AKA, white supremacists, are overjoyed and energized. Their attendance doubled, the Washington Post reports, at their key national conference last week.

In the wake of Trump’s win, attendance more than doubled from last year’s Washington gathering of the group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center places in the vanguard of “academic racism.” The Institute’s core belief, according to the SPLC, “is that ‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and ‘their’ civilization.”

Political correctness. You remember that phrase spat out by EVERY Trump supporter interviewed in the mainstream media in the last 18 months. If it wasn’t clear then what they meant, it should be clear now. They – white Americans who espouse these views – want the ability to shout their grievances that they have lost their dominance and they want it back.

We should listen to them, carefully. We should have listened to them. But, then, listening is not the same as condoning. Regarding race, we’re entering a very dark period in the U.S., pun not intended.

12
Nov

Wait. Keep reading. We know that elections have a lot of moving pieces and there are many ways to explain […]

Wait. Keep reading. We know that elections have a lot of moving pieces and there are many ways to explain a “loss”: we put that in quotes because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, possibly by more than two million when all from California are counted.

But we’ve commented many times on the “Make America Great Again” slogan. Do its adherents have any idea exactly what date when America was last great? 1956? Before they were born? What has been making America not so great?

There are many answers these voters have been giving. They’ll blame NAFTA, they’ll blame ISIS – which is a minimal threat within America’s borders, but whatever – and they’ll blame the “elites” (gee, who did you think you voted for? Joe the Plumber?)

But what many have said – many white men – have said, explicitly and covertly, is that they’re losing their power. From The Nation magazine:

Indeed, when these voters scream about the economy, when Trump appealed to them, over and over, by claiming that the government was wasting their money, a big part of that was the perception that government money was going to help African Americans, single mothers, and the white people in their neighborhoods they deemed lazy. Trump ally Roger Stone said in September, about his candidate’s appeal to black voters: “When you are trading your vote for a welfare check, yes, that is a form of slavery. Yes.”

Again, not just loss of white privilege, but white male privilege. The Nation continues:

They were voting against an economy they believed was giving women a step up. In July, David Frum, in The Atlantic, compiled all of the conversations and interviews he’d done with Trump voters into an anti-elite screed written from their perspective. “In our America, the gender gap closed a long time ago—and then went into reverse,” he wrote. “Obama in the Oval Office was humiliating enough. But Hillary will be worse: We’re going to lose any idea at all that leadership is a man’s job.” I looked into this and it isn’t true. Everywhere in the country, women do worse than men in both job-market participation and in salaries. If there’s a tiny pocket of the country where women do better than men, it is not large enough to measure or make even a tiny difference in what we do measure. What is true is that women had been gaining ground. Men in rural communities across the country are unable to perceive that as anything but a loss to their own advantages.

So. Will America be great enough for them after four years of the new administration? We have to doubt that.

22
Oct

The shrinking world of white men

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED bigotry, racism

Make America great again? Has the candidate with that slogan ever asked what was the last year America was great? […]

Make America great again? Has the candidate with that slogan ever asked what was the last year America was great? We haven’t heard it. But for his supporters, that year might have been the last time they had an unquestioned dominance in the body politic and in culture. Still, we don’t know when that was; it’s been known for a while that the white share of the population is shrinking.

This piece in the Chicago Tribune adds to the analysis of what makes the GOP candidate’s supporters – the white male voters – tick. This passage with a quote from a Texas talk show host frames the narrative:

“I want America to be America,” he says. “I want some semblance of what this country used to be. It’s worth protecting. It’s worth defending. I don’t recognize this country anymore.”

This is a white male voice preaching to a largely white male audience that has expressed many of the same sentiments, in dribs and drabs, in hushed watercooler conversations and boisterous barroom exchanges, around kitchen tables — and most of all, in the course of a presidential campaign in which Trump has become their champion and their hope.

Certainly, not all white males agree. But at this moment in American history, to be white and male means, for many, to question what happened to the opportunities once theirs for the taking, to see others getting ahead and wonder why, to feel centuries of privilege and values slipping away.

“They’re taking everything from us,” says one of the day’s callers, Stephen Sanders. “I don’t want my community changed.”

The callers express resentment of immigrants who came here illegally, suspicion of Muslims, disdain for gays. They rail against a coarsening of culture, while backing a man who brags about making unwanted sexual advances. They voice bitterness toward a society they see as rallying to save an endangered animal or to lobby for the bathroom rights of transgender children, while seeming to ignore their own pain.

Can someone say to them, “Okay, fine, I feel your pain”? And then tell them to knock off the bigotry?

Do read the rest of the piece. There is nothing about slipping economic clout or insecurity about economics. There may be some scapegoating in the “I want my country back” chants. But let’s call it what it is. For the most part this is nothing more than, with apologies to Dylan Thomas, rage, rage against the dying of the White.

06
Oct

From the “what the hell?” files, comes this painful segment from Fox News. Watters approaches a number of men and […]

From the “what the hell?” files, comes this painful segment from Fox News.

Watters approaches a number of men and women in the street, some of them elderly residents who do not speak English. He then silently mocks them for their inability to answer his questions—many of which wander from the presidential race to lame caricatures of Asians masquerading as humor.

“Is food in China just food?”

“Do you know karate?”

Toward the end of the clip, when O’Reilly said it appeared that most of the people understood the dynamics of the current election, Watters laughed: “You thought people knew what was going on?”

“They’re such a polite people,” he said, invoking yet another stereotype. “They won’t walk away or tell me to get out of here. They just sit there and don’t say nothing!”

Yeah. This is not The Daily Show, which is actually funny and makes sure the audience is in on the joke when one of their comedy reporters acts like a doofus or interviews a doofus. No, this was meant to be serious.

It is important to note that Fox News is conservative-leaning. This won’t help in bringing Asian-Americans, who, we now see, are moving quickly into the Democratic camp and where Democrat Hillary Clinton holds a 41-point lead over Donald Trump.

Maybe conservative Fox News knows that this group is lost and their aim now is to punish and ridicule them?

29
Sep

The problem with colorblindness

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED psychology, race, racism

Fascinating article in Psychology Today that suggests “colorblindness” is really a form of racism. Many people think colorblind ideology is […]

Fascinating article in Psychology Today that suggests “colorblindness” is really a form of racism.

Many people think colorblind ideology is the same as equality; that is, everyone will be treated the same, and their skin color doesn’t matter (or can’t be seen). The author has a different view on this:

Racism? Strong words, yes, but let’s look the issue straight in its partially unseeing eye. In a colorblind society, White people, who are unlikely to experience disadvantages due to race, can effectively ignore racism in American life, justify the current social order, and feel more comfortable with their relatively privileged standing in society (Fryberg, 2010). Most minorities, however, who regularly encounter difficulties due to race, experience colorblind ideologies quite differently. Colorblindness creates a society that denies their negative racial experiences, rejects their cultural heritage, and invalidates their unique perspectives.

Instead of colorblind ideology, she has a better idea:

The alternative to colorblindness is multiculturalism, an ideology that acknowledges, highlights, and celebrates ethnoracial differences. It recognizes that each tradition has something valuable to offer. It is not afraid to see how others have suffered as a result of racial conflict or differences.

We guarantee your reaction to this will be: why didn’t we hear about this before? Imagine, it’s the Jim Crow […]

We guarantee your reaction to this will be: why didn’t we hear about this before?

Imagine, it’s the Jim Crow South, mid-20th century. Black girls – women but they were called girls then – were working at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. But they weren’t maids or service staff. They were doing the math that made planes safer and, in a few years, they were the human computers that helped put men on the moon. As black women at the time, they had two glass ceilings to break through. Math was considered “women’s work,” if you can believe it.

Listen to this NPR interview with Margot Lee Shetterley, a Hampton, Va., native and daughter of a former Langley scientist, who discusses her new book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. The book has already been adapted for big screen; the film starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Butler and Janelle Monae premieres in January.

From the interview:

You know, the Russians had got a real head start into space, America was playing catch up. And this was also a moment where electronic computers were taking over the task of much of the calculating that was necessary for these increasingly complex missions.

But as sort of a hand off moment between human computers and electronic computers, John Glenn asked Katherine Johnson — he actually asked “the girl” — all of the women working at that time were referred to as “girls.”

And he said: “Get the girl to do it, I want this human computer to check the output of the electronic computer and if she says they’re good, you know, I’m good to go as part of one of my pre-flight check lists.”

So the astronaut who became a hero, looked to this black woman in the still segregated south at the time as one of the key parts of making sure his mission would be a success.