The Latest Face of Racism
Almost everyone noticed when there was nary a non-white face in one of Romney’s early campaign advertisements. And if they didn’t, the Daily Show made it fairly hard to ignore. We don’t know if all that paleness was a misstep or intentional, but it was eerily accurate. There’s been a lot written about the prevalence of white faces among Republican supporters.
In the Daily Beast, John Avlon asks, When Did the GOP Get So White: The Republicans’ Loss of Diversity:
“Zero Percent of Blacks for Romney”—Oh, that headline hurts. And the WSJ/NBC poll can’t just be dismissed out of hand as the work of partisan hacks.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that no African-Americans will vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket, just that it will be within the margin of error and along the lines last time, when McCain-Palin somehow managed to score 4 percent of the black vote.
But ’twas not always thus for the GOP. Dust off your history books and you will see Republicans once had a virtual lock on the minority vote—and minority elected officials. The legacy of Lincoln was alive and well until not so long ago.
In Salon, MD Prof Thomas Schaller describes an emerging paradox in, Republican National Convention: Heart of whiteness:
These changes aren’t eye-popping, and it’s hard to know for sure if the minority or female representation in the GOP will continue to edge higher or even hold steady. But the sudden uptick in minority and female Republicans is especially noteworthy because it creates a rather curious paradox: The rising diversity among Republican elites comes at the same time the party seems to be retrenching —willingly and strategically, it sometimes seems—toward a more base-oriented, white-male dominated coalition of voters. Yes, the shares of non-white and female Republicans at the ballot box still far exceed the shares found, for example, at congressional roll call. But at the moment the two percentages are moving in opposite directions.
In the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates takes a different tack in a long piece, Fear of a Black President, noting that even our first black president prefers to avoid talking about race.
As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s original sin, slavery. But as our first black president, he has avoided mention of race almost entirely. In having to be “twice as good” and “half as black,” Obama reveals the false promise and double standard of integration.
TNC comes at the issue as a black man with ancestors that were lynched and friends that were, “shot while black” by police. I grew up hoping that racism would recede into the past, but instead find subtle racism everywhere. It is tempting to talk about a new racism, but I suspect it is a new manifestation of the same old racism.
One thing I’ve noticed is that my redstate friends and relatives are easily infuriated by charges of racism, and I suspect it is more than the tactical sort of taking offense one hears so much on right-wing radio. My family grew up around black people. We attended school with and played with black kids. Between them, my siblings have brought home friends of all colors. How can they possibly be racist?
What I suspect is that racism is becoming more of a classism. Whites are now allowed, even encouraged, to have non-white friends, and often those African- or Asian-American friends behave very much like their Caucasian-American friends, with similar income and education. Whites therefore feel entitled to despise the wrong sort of blacks — the poor, culturally-different dark people that speak in an argot, talk loud during movies, and wear their pants way too low.
Shooting Trayvon became OK once he was successfully portrayed as the wrong sort of black youth. Taking the vote away from those people is also OK because they are all perceived to be living off society and dealing drugs. Foreclosing on those people is OK because they bought houses they knew they couldn’t afford.
The question is whether the haves will ever be able to afford to openly turn on poor whites, many of whom are also living off society and dealing drugs. So far they have gotten a pass because the GOP needs their votes.