Nashville Post Politics
Sarah Palin explains the source of her empathy for black folk:
Blog for our Future
So how will we know the shape, size and depth of whatever mandate comes out of this, the most ideologically polarized election since 1980? Top-line numbers from the presidential contest are only going to give us a snapshot of what really happened. We’re going to have to look at specific bellweather races and ballot initiatives to really know what happened at a structural level. Here are the bellweathers I’ll be watching, beyond the state-by-state results in the presidential race:
– Amendment 46: Sponsored by the infamous Ward Connerly, this disgusting initiative aims to stoke the old Angry White Man backlash against minorities and women with a measure to essentially ban affirmative action and equal opportunity programs. The latest Denver Post poll suggests this is going to be a close one – if progressives defeat it, they will show that even here in the heart of the Mountain West, we can defeat race/gender-based wedge politics.
GEORGIA, NORTH CAROLINA & MISSISSIPPI
– African American Turnout: Will African American turnout be significantly higher in these southern states in 2008, and will that increased turnout be enough to swing both contested presidential and key down-ballot races blue? If yes, it will dent political scientist Tom Schaller’s theory that progressive efforts to compete in the South are futile.
But this othering is more diabolically potent this time because it’s about race, right? No, actually, that’s wrong. The assumption that an inner racist demon lurks latent and uncontrollable in the souls of all white Americans, waiting to jump to the Republican dog whistle, is simply untrue.
Europeans, so easily prone to condescension when talking about Americans, should not throw stones from inside their glass houses. Nor should journalists, who too often use the lazy cliché that, in the privacy of the polling booth, white Americans will do the opposite of what they say they will do.
Barack Obama is not the black candidate. He is the Democratic candidate. He is not just the representative of an ethnic group that has never even been close to winning the presidency. He is also the nominee of a party that has become something of an expert at losing it. That is the reason why, next Tuesday, American voters face a double choice – electing a president of a race they have not previously voted for and, at least as important on the day, electing a president from a party they rarely vote for in modern times either.
Look at it this way. Obama may or may not have a problem getting white Americans to vote for him. But he is doing much better than most of his recent Democratic predecessors ever managed among such voters. In 2004, white Americans split 61 per cent for Bush and 38 per cent for Kerry. Four years before that, they went 57 per cent to Bush and 40 per cent to Gore. In both 1992 and 1996, Bill Clinton had a one-point lead among white people. Four years before that, George Bush Sr beat Dukakis by 20 points. Against that historical backcloth, Obama’s onepoint lead over McCain among white voters in the most recent New York Times-CBS poll looks pretty significant, while his bigger leads among white women, white men under 45 and, especially, white independent voters look potentially like a set of decisive turnabouts from recent Democratic experience.
Yes, there is a lot of evidence from things like implicit association tests that racist assumptions still lurk in millions of white American minds (and European minds too, of course). But that doesn’t mean that racism is the only thing you need to know about such people or that it dominates their minds or that they are incapable of overcoming it.
In particular, it doesn’t mean that, when asked to vote for this black man at this time, they will not do so. Americans have spent a long time getting to know Barack Obama. The evidence is that they like what they see and that they are about to do something both right and great.— Dawn/The Guardian News Service
To figure out where the presidential candidates stand on affirmative action, one need look no further than Colorado’s ballot. Amendment 46, dubbed the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative, will destroy preferential treatment for women and minorities in public contracting, hiring and education. That measure, plus an identical one on Nebraska’s ballot, is part of a national attempt to dismantle affirmative action state-by-state.
The effort’s main backer, a black California businessman named Ward Connerly, has sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Colorado proposal alone. In an interview with The Associated Press, Connerly said that John McCain has tepidly endorsed the measure but “would ideally like to leave [the issue] alone,” if elected.
“Although he supports the initiatives, I believe he would just as soon that it go away,” Connerly said in the article. “He doesn’t want to come across as hostile to black people and Hispanics.”
NYT Nicholas Kristoff (10/5/08)
most of the votes that Mr. Obama actually loses belong to well-meaning whites who believe in racial equality and have no objection to electing a black person as president — yet who discriminate unconsciously.
“When we fixate on the racist individual, we’re focused on the least interesting way that race works,” said Phillip Goff, a social psychologist at U.C.L.A. who focuses his research on “racism without racists.” “Most of the way race functions is without the need for racial animus.”
For decades, experiments have shown that even many whites who earnestly believe in equal rights will recommend hiring a white job candidate more often than a person with identical credentials who is black. In the experiments, the applicant’s folder sometimes presents the person as white, sometimes as black, but everything else is the same. The white person thinks that he or she is selecting on the basis of nonracial factors like experience.
University of Colorado freshman Darian Salehy loves college life so far — except for one thing.
“It’s all white people,” Salehy mused on the Boulder campus lawn recently, looking at fellow students headed to class.
Salehy, of Iranian descent, fears the state’s flagship university, currently about 9% non-white, might become less diverse if Colorado passes a ballot measure banning government consideration of race or gender in university admissions, contracts and state spending.
The measure is similar to ones approved by voters in California, Michigan and Washington state, as well as one on the Nebraska ballot this year. It’s part of a state-by-state push by former California regent Ward Connerly, who tried but failed to get the question on ballots in Arizona and Oklahoma this year.
Affirmative action isn’t dominating national political headlines — or even getting a lot of talk in Colorado, where it’s just one of 14 ballot measures facing voters and has been overshadowed by the presidential race and financial crisis.