Thursday, May 22, 2008

Racial pretensions

Now more than 36 hours into boycotting TV news, I can always check the pulse of the Obamasphere--these days an extension of the mainstream press--to discern what the air waves have blasted as the latest propaganda spiel. So I'm enjoying music in lieu of hype blaring in the background from tee-vee punditheads. Who needs 'em? I don't.

With that said, onward to race-race-race, a recurring campaign media trope.

Riverdaughter posted terrific commentary this morning on an "annoying theme from yesterday’s sweetie attack... that Kentuckians pretty much admitted that they were racists in exit polls." Garychapelhill followed up with an argument that I also support:

By repeatedly crying wolf on the race issue, Obama lessens the impact of the charge of racism when it really occurs. Despite what the pundits and the Obama campaign say, this exit poll data is of no use when trying to determine the racial attitude of voters. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some numbers.

Gary then examined exit polls from Wisconsin, Georgia, Connecticut, and Florida to demonstrate that building an argument about racism (and sexism) in the primaries--and specifically Hillary's "racist" voters based on exit polls--is not only stupid, but dishonest and destructive in trivializing the real-world problems of post-civil rights era racial injustices.

For further edification, see also Richard Thompson Ford, professor at Stanford and author of the book, The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse.

I left a comment at Riverdaughter's post about the alleged racism of the Kentucky primary, which I'll re-post here with additional remarks, revisions, and panels from the KY exit polls via CNN.

Looking at the exit polls, the Blog Boyz and the media have ignored the nuances. I suspect their motive is to undermine Hillary's huge win in KY in protecting The Precious (h/t Anglachel) and his march to the nomination. Pffft. Pffft. Shield your eyes from the electoral map and how it favors Hillary in the general election. Ignore the argument that Obama isn't as strong in defeating McCain. Instead, they jam the public discourse with race scandal-mongering as a diversion from the issue of Obama's electability.

First, eyeball the vote by race of the exit polls.

African-American voters broke large for Obama, a greater percent than whites who voted for Hillary. But who would be silly enough to criticize AAs for voting for Obama? It's a historical opportunity, a no-brainer.

Next, the specious argument du jour about bluegrass state racism via this exit poll question.

Of the 18% of whites who said race of the candidate was important, 9% of them voted for Obama, 2% voted uncommitted. So that whittles down the argument that one in five bluegrass voters are "white racists." A portion of those 18% whites--9%--voted for Obama because his race was important to them. What's that tell you? Are the alleged racists confused? More sexist than racist? Seriously, wonder about how the question was phrased and whether people say the darnest, dumbest things to end a research survey as quickly as possible.

Additionally, 2% of the 9% of AAs--or 22%--said that the race of the candidate was important.

Of Black Democrats (9%), 91% of them voted for Obama.

Also notice the breakout of party affiliation. Looking at the vote by party and race, the exit poll lumped All Republicans together (6%) and All Other Party (1%) without identifying their race. I suspect these cohorts are white but we don't know because the exit polls didn't provide the data.

What the exit polls didn't analyze is how many of the white group (18%) who said race of the candidate was important came from All Republicans and/or All Other Party. There are no party affiliations attributed to these white voters. None.

Only 7% said that race of the candidate was most important while 14% said that race was one of several factors contributing to their voting decision. What's the race of the 7% and 14% of these respondents? We don't know.

Of the latter 14% group, which said race was one of several factors, 19% of them voted for Obama and 2% for Uncommitted.

Based on this data, to claim that Kentuckians are racists is simplistic and erroneous. I don't fault the overwhelming majority of AAs who voted for Obama. Do the Blog Boyz? Or the media? Hell, no. They're busy shrieking their heads off about Hillary's racist voters.

Is there racism in KY? Probably, just as there is racism and sexism in America. But how deep the racism is--who, what, and where--these exits polls don't probe.

However, it's malignant absurdity to use exit polls to declare "that Kentuckians pretty much admitted that they were racists." What we're seeing mostly, IMO, is racial identity with a candidate. You can see that vividly in how Black Democrats voted--91% for Obama.

Assuming that whites who voted for Clinton aren't voting for Obama because he's African-American dismisses and discounts what Hillary offers to Americans as POTUS.

Violet at The Reclusive Leftist wrote on March 10 about... for Obama from the African-American community, a phenomenon with which I’m deeply sympathetic. Just as millions of women (of all races) see their gender reflected in Hillary, millions of African-Americans (of both sexes) see their race reflected in Obama. You can call it identity politics, but what I call it is the chance to finally feel represented after 200 years in a so-called representative democracy. I begrudge no one that yearning.

Neither do I.

I support Hillary first and foremost because of her policies, her knowledge, her experience, her can-do attitude, and her tenacity. OMG, we need a fighter in the WH when our nation faces crises on so many fronts: the economy, energy, foreign affairs, and national security with two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also identify with Hillary as a woman, trusting her to represent the interests of half of America better than a man with a sexist attitude who refers to us as sweeties.

So sweetie darthlings, take your racial pretensions about Hillary voters elsewhere. My teevee news programming is dark and Beethoven is playing. Da-da-da-duh.