Thursday, May 10, 2012

The US is a post-racial nation? In what universe?

There were many people who were saying that the US had entered into a "post-racial" period after the election of Barack Hussein Obama. Ummmm.... Not even slightly. Not unless you were someone who thought that the ending of racism was merely checking the box labeled "Black President". Never mind that proclaiming the US to be "post racial" when Obama became president totally ignored the system of racism that is pervasive in government and society. Never mind that a election of a non-White president means bupkis as a discussion about racial politics that aren't black-vs-white. (hey! Remember that there are non-African American minorities in this country, too!) Just forget that there is a difference between electing a non-White president and it being socially allowable to have tasteless cartoons about black people, about othering the president (e.g., continued proclamations that he's not American, that he's not Christian, that he's a terrorist, that he's a Nazi, that he's a communist, that he's a socialist, that he's the anti-Christ, etc.), about proclaiming that he is not respecting the presidency (no matter what he does), etc.

Yeah... we're not in a post-racial nation. What we're in is a nation in which some people think that it is post-racial, and that "post-racial" means, "we can be angry bigots in the open now." And a recent study shows just how not-post-racial the US actually is:
The study, led by psychologists at the University of Washington, shows that between January and April 2012 eligible voters who favored whites over blacks – either consciously or unconsciously – also favored Republican candidates relative to Barack Obama.

The study's findings mean that many white and non-white voters, even those who don't believe they tend to favor whites over blacks, might vote against Obama because of his race. These voters could cite the economy or other reasons, but a contributing cause could nevertheless be their conscious or unconscious racial attitudes.

In the study, a majority of white eligible voters showed a pattern labeled "automatic white preference" on a widely used measure of unconscious race bias. Previous studies indicate that close to 75 percent of white Americans show this implicit bias.

"The study's findings raise an interesting question: After nearly four years of having an African-American president in the White House, why do race attitudes continue to have a role in electoral politics?" Greenwald said.

He suspects that Obama's power as president in 2012, compared with his lesser status as candidate in 2008, may have "brought out race-based antagonism that had less reason to be activated in 2008."

Another possibility is that Republican candidates' assertions that their most important goal is to remove Obama from the presidency "may have strong appeal to those who have latent racial motivation," Greenwald said.

In other words, voters tend to have an unconscious (but measurable) white-bias in the US. The Republicans are out to oust Obama, and this single-minded charge to oust him appears to be increasing interest among those who do hold anti-black opinions to get out to vote. While it's legal for racists to vote (just as it's legal for gun owners, vegetarians, communists, etc. to vote), I do personally think that in their single-minded crusade to oust an alleged Muslim-non-American-Communist/Socialist/Nazi-terrorist from the White House, the GOP is hitching themselves to an angry, wild, hungry, ornery tiger: that's one beast that I won't want to be anywhere near if it were to get loose.

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