race

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 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.

 

 

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.

A commentator in The Guardian poses a great question: Why are white people living abroad called expats, while people of color are immigrants?

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

The commentator comes around to the point that most white people deny that they enjoy the privileges of a racist system. This is from a worldwide perspective, but can easily be applied just to the U.S.

One person in the comments section – yes, we know but the Guardian’s comment section is better than most – says that it’s not jut about race but about class:

I think it’s probably to do with economic dynamics, immigration is usually perceived as poverty driven. For example, relatively poor Bulgarians moving into France or the UK to work for better wages are considered to be ‘immigrants’ (although they are white). And a rich Qatari oil Tycoon living in a ridiculously luxurious flat in London is not considered an ‘immigrant’ (although he is not white).

Poor people are ‘immigrants’. Rich people are ‘expats.’ Whether it’s economics or race or both, it’s important to remember that language matters.

Have you gotten into an argument about politics yet this season? If so, you’re not alone. And if it seems like these disputes are becoming more toxic and mean, they are, according to a fascinating, though not surprising, essay in the New York Times this week.

The Big Orange One was not named in the article, and that may be due to the conclusion that Trump is just a vessel for simmering rage that has been boiling in the American electorate for some time.

While the percentage of Americans who identify as Democrat or Republican has gone down in recent decades, those with a strong party affinity are now farther apart from the other side than ever. And according to this essay, it’s largely based on racial attitudes:

The increasing alignment between party and racial attitudes goes back to the early 1990s. The Pew Values Survey asks people whether they agree that “we should make every effort to improve the position of minorities, even if it means giving them preferential treatment.”

Over time, Americans’ party identification has become more closely aligned with answers to this question and others like it. Pew reports that, “since 1987, the gap on this question between the two parties has doubled — from 18 points to 40 points.” Democrats are now much more supportive (52 percent) of efforts to improve racial equality than they were a few decades ago, while the views of Republicans have been largely unchanged (12 percent agree).

And with race and ethnicity front and center in the 2016 race, from Black Lives Matter protesters to Trump calling Mexicans rapists and murderers (“though some I’m sure are nice people”), the partisan split is even more pronounced.

 

And the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has done it again. It’s proved that it may be many things, but it is not reflective of the U.S.

Actors of color were shut out of the nominations again. And people are noticing. There is a #oscarssowhite twitter account. In fact all of social media is a-twitter about the whiteness of the nominees.

It isn’t like there weren’t any great performances of people of color. As the media site Vulture points out, candidates Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), and Michael B. Jordan (Creed) all received awards buzz in the weeks leading up to the nominations (Jordan took home a National Society of Film Critics award for Best Actor) but none were nominated. And:

In addition to the individual snubs, the Academy didn’t recognize Straight Outta Compton, a movie with a largely black ensemble, in either the acting or Best Picture categories, leaving us with no Best Picture nominees that feature a nonwhite lead or a predominantly nonwhite cast. (Straight Outta Compton did receive a nomination for Best Original Screenplay — which was credited to four white writers.)

Part of the problem is that the Academy itself doesn’t look like America. It’s members are overwhelmingly white, male, and older. From the LA Times:

A Los Angeles Times study found that academy voters are markedly less diverse than the moviegoing public, and even more monolithic than many in the film industry may suspect. Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male, The Times found. Blacks are about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%.Oscar voters have a median age of 62, the study showed. People younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership.

So there it is, then.

As if the news weren’t depressing enough these days, here is a study showing that minority teens are less hopeful they’ll see the age of 35 than white teens.

In a recently published study in the journal Health and Social Behavior, researchers mined the data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health — a cohort that initially included 20,745 teens questioned every few years between 1994 and 2008 on topics regarding their health and well-being.

Participants were asked how likely they were to live to age 35. The response choices ranged from “almost no chance” to “almost certain.”

Foreign-born Mexicans were the least optimistic, followed by second-generation Mexicans, then black teens, and then Puerto Ricans. Asian teens were also “significantly less optimistic about future survival relative to whites,” the study notes. The only outlier among the minority groups were the American-born Cubans, whose optimism for survival didn’t look all that different from that of the white teens.

Even controlling for neighborhood factors like violence and poverty, the authors found an optimism gap between black and white participants. Black youth, at least, appear to believe the world is more dangerous to them, regardless of where they live.

The one bit of hope in the study was a U-shaped curve for all the racial and ethnic categories. The older the teens of all races grew, the more confident they were of their survival,

You’ve heard of Ben Carson by now. He’s the one besting Trump at the moment for the GOP nomination. Ben Carson who believes the pyramids in Egypt were built for storing grain among many, many other, um, questionable theories about everything.

He’s also a retired neurosurgeon. And he’s black. The second point is salient because he’s released a new rap ad aimed at young black voters.

Carson’s campaign enlisted a rapper, Aspiring Mogul, for the ad in the hopes of reaching young African-American voters “in a language that they prefer” and “in a cultural format that they appreciate.”

Oh, so it was for the black voters, not because Carson himself is black. Okay then. The GOP might see a chance to win over black voters with Carson. They head of a GOP Super PAC said so recently.

It would not take many black votes to complicate the Democrats’ electoral map. Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster working for a super PAC supporting Bush, said in an e-mail that the “demographic challenges” facing the eventual GOP nominee are “real and significant,” but fixable.

“The payoff can be significant,” Newhouse said. “It doesn’t take much of a swing in minority votes to make a difference. Winning even 10 to 14 percent of African American votes in states like Ohio, Florida or Virginia could put those states in the GOP column in ’16.”

It’s rare for a Republican candidate to pick up more than 10 percent of the black vote in any election, anywhere in the country. Will Carson’s new appeal to young black voters? Remember, he has to win the nomination first, and young black voters – you know, the kind he thinks his rap video will appeal to – make up a negligible percentage of the GOP primary voters in GOP primaries. There are even fewer of them in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two voting states, which have, interestingly, a very small black population statewide.

If he’s wooing primary voters with the video, he’s spent a lot of money to persuade – I think we’re being generous here – about a dozen voters. If it’s laying the groundwork for the general election, well, his investment may pay off.

There’s only one problem with a Carson candidacy though. His views on things – we are being less generous here – are crazy. Just. Crazy. It’s not just the pyramids comments. He doesn’t seem to have a scientific grasp on science.

But even that might not matter. If he’s really serious in reaching out to black voters, he has to reach out to Democrats and swing voters, because there just aren’t enough in the GOP to make a difference. And if that’s his long term plan, he may be crazy like a fox.

It’s going to be a long campaign season.

Bernie Sanders, the insurgent candidate for the Democratic nomination for President against the frontrunner Clinton, just had his biggest rally so far. In Seattle, 15,000 came to hear him speak, dwarfing numbers for all Republican candidates’ rallies, and for most of Clinton’s.

But a funny thing happened at another rally. He wasn’t allowed to speak. The group Black Lives matter, an activist group that is agitating for police reform and the end to practices that have led to the deaths of scores of unarmed black men and women.

Sanders was the final speaker on a long program held at a city park. Shortly after he took stage, a small group of protesters from a Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter took the microphone and demanded that the crowd hold Sanders “accountable” for not doing enough, in their view, to address police brutality and other issues on the group’s agenda.

After sharing a few local grievances with the crowd, including school disparities and gentrification in Seattle, the protesters asked for a period of silence to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown being shot and killed during a confrontation with a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Event organizers allowed the period of silence, as some in the large crowd booed and shouted for the protesters to leave the stage. Afterward, Marissa Janae Johnson, who identified herself as a leader of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Seattle, asked the crowd to “join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable for his actions.” She motioned for Sanders to join her at the microphone.

After several minutes of frantic conversations, Sanders left the stage and greeted people in the large crowd who had turned out to see him. Many chanted his name.

Why Bernie? Why haven’t they gone after Clinton or any of the Republican nominees? Possibly because he’s a soft target. His events are open to the public. And on the GOP side, activists can say, “well they won’t listen to us anyway.”

BLM’s tactics have heated up left-leaning political blogs like Daily Kos, where there is a food fight over whether BLM is hurting a candidate thought by many to be a champion of minority rights and police reform, and definitely the most left-leaning candidate in the race. One diary writer is upset with those who are upset at BLM:

The notion that two protests against a single candidate by a non-centralized organization constitute a relevant statistical universe is absurd, but not as absurd as the hysteria that motivates jumping to the conclusion that BLM is a Clinton/Rove plot. It smacks of the same paranoid and patronizing bullshit handed out to ACT UP, all of it at bottom some version of “Behave, Fags, Behave”. I was there, and I remember it well.

I pray Black Lives Matter will keep protesting, keep interrupting, keep standing up, and keep acting up. I stand with Black Lives Matter, inconveniences–to Bernie, Hillary, or anyone else–be damned.

Black Twitter is also unhappy with the BLM protests.

Many Bernie supporters are also ardent supporters of BLM and racial justice. If there are many more interrupted events, there could very well be a rift between the factions.

At any rate, what’s clear is that BLM is determined to make an impact on the 2016 race one way or another.

The First Lady went there.

Reactions are coming in from Michelle Obama’s commencement speech at Tuskegee University over the weekend. She said the graduating classes of 2015 – and the next generation of African Americans – will still face racism.

“Because here’s the thing — the road ahead is not going to be easy.  It never is, especially for folks like you and me.  Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven’t fully gone away … And all of that is going to be a heavy burden to carry.  It can feel isolating.  It can make you feel like your life somehow doesn’t matter … And as we’ve seen over the past few years, those feelings are real. They’re rooted in decades of structural challenges that have made too many folks feel frustrated and invisible.  And those feelings are playing out in communities like Baltimore and Ferguson and so many others across this country.”

A commentator on CNN said she was right to bring up race:

“Thank you, Michelle, for speaking the truth. And for being honest enough to admit that even you have been ‘knocked back’ by some of the racial perceptions of yourself and President Obama. It is past time for Americans to publicly confront our nation’s nagging race problem. Our old wounds left by racism will not heal themselves. Our silence will not make them go away. No, those wounds will just continue to fester and flare up over and over again in cities like Ferguson, New York and Baltimore and too many other places to mention.”

 

A USA Today op-ed said many people will take the wrong message:

“Obama’s message was about overcoming obstacles — it was about the ‘double duty’ blacks have to our country and our race. She talked of the obstacles overcome by members of the Tuskegee Airmen, black combat pilots who served with great distinction during World War II. They trained at Tuskegee and suffered the indignities of Jim Crow racism while fighting for America.”

The conservative National Review, took issue with Obama conflating her personal feelings with black society in general:

“Private experience is an important governing force in a healthy body politic; the anger occasioned by injustice, for example, can be an important spur toward change. But because we are individuals embedded in communities, private feelings must be balanced by public reason. An individual’s claims — that his anger indicates true injustice — must be thoughtfully and dispassionately evaluated by the community, acting together. ”

And Fox News, well, their anchors turned their “uppity meters” up to 11: Fox News contributor Angela McGlowan on Tuesday suggested the speech was yet another example of the White House dividing the country on issues of race, asking, “Why didn’t the first lady share the reason why she got into Princeton was probably because of Affirmative Action?”

The Daily Show had a great take down of the haters. Watch it here.