I was listening to This American Life earlier this week and they had a show on the last days of the election in Pennsylvania, where I grew up.
The idea of the show was to cover all aspects of the last week of the race, but the part that held the greatest interest to me were the white people who didn't want to vote for Sen Obama because of his race. Most of them were union workers, where judging from Senate voting records, these folks clearly had more to gain with Obama than McCain. One quoted a friend of his who said something like, "If you let Obama in the White house, next thing you know Al Sharpton is going to be Secretary of State…" It was the old, “There goes the neighborhood argument,” which I am familiar with, having grown up in the “Alabama in-between” of South Central Pennsylvania. The idea is that if you let one black person in, they bring in their friends, and then there goes the neighborhood.
I laughed when I heard this and I am not even sure why. Maybe because it’s so familiar, but I rarely hear anything similar to it where I live now (greater Seattle area). Seattle area is pretty liberal, but we have our share of racists, too. Once my wife had a piece of hate mail from some skinhead organization slipped into our mailbox, hand addressed to her with her first name scrawled in red magic marker. That freaked us all out. In Pennsylvania I don't think you would ever get hate mail like that. People would just tell you where they stand, like they did on this episode of This American Life, where volunteers tasked with calling homes to drum up the vote would routinely get people who said, “I can’t vote for Obama because I’m prejudice.” Or even the guy mentioned above who is afraid of losing the White House to a black man.
I just started to think about how differently racism is expressed in different places and wondered if anyone else has noticed anything similar. I know this probably should go in P&R, but I rarely go in there and wanted to see if we could discuss this with less acrimony and angst, although clearly it is a huge issue, and people are bound to have strong feelings. If this is poorly placed or considered, feel free to nuke, move, or lock the thread as the situation warrants.
These people (what do I mean by "these people?") have the most to gain by an Obama presidency. Once they see that a black president is, you know, a president, and not some Stereotype-in-Chief, they might start to rethink some of their prejudices. Most of these are built more from unfamiliarity than anything real.
The skinhead types are always going to be there, unfortunately.
I've only been to Seattle once. While there were plenty of people of all races around, I was struck by all the light blue eyes. It was almost ubiquitous.
Far more interesting to me are the people who are ostensibly racists, but are voting for Obama anyway:
Jesus. Having a confederate flag doesn't automatically make you a racist.
When I saw the thread title, I just knew that there's a screenplay for the pilot episode of a sitcom named exactly that sitting on somebody's desk.
I know that was coming, and I was also fairly certain it would come from you. I almost disclaimed it, but then I thought "nah, people will get the idea." Thanks for proving me wrong.
I guess if you thought I was saying, "Oh yeah, well look at that picture you, yourself, just posted! Gotcha!" then you probably think I'm an idiot.
What interests me is why you expected me to comment on the picture in the first place.
Or maybe the picture was meant to be funny...
Another interesting anecdote from 538 along the same lines:
Is this guy a hardcore racists? Not so much so that he won't vote for Obama, obviously, but the language used certainly suggests he may not be the most tolerant person in the world. Regardless, the point is that he is apparently able to look past that.Last week, Julie Hensley made one of her thousands of phone calls on behalf of Barack Obama. A woman answered. As Hensley ran through her short script, the husband impatiently broke in.
"Ma'am, we're voting for the n***er." And hung up.
You'd already posted in the thread so you just seemed like an easy favorite.What interests me is why you expected me to comment on the picture in the first place.
And now I've totally P&R'd this thread when all I meant was to post an interesting picture. Sorry, Tim :(
Okay, sure, I was just getting too defensive about the whole thing. My first post was a serious question, though.
As for the topic, my somewhat racist mother hasn't mentioned the fact that Obama is black as a reason not to vote for him, so that's something.
A good friend of mine was commenting on Obama's bid for the Democratic nomination earlier this year.
My friend is "convinced" that Obama is the anti-christ, because her extremely Conservative, extremely racist grandmother was gushing over how fantastic he is, and how she was intending on voting for him if he won.
His appeal goes across party lines, and makes some people color-blind. While he isn't my candidate, I think these things make him nothing short of amazing.
Like a friend of mine's grandmother, who's horribly upset that her son (the grandmother's son, and my friend's uncle) is a vocal racist. She'll complain at family gatherings about how she "just doesn't know why Bob hates the n***ers so much". It really never occurs to her that growing up in a house where people use that word freely might have anything to do with it.
I met an elderly woman around here, in the purported liberal mecca of Burlington, Vermont, who told me quite clearly that she was supporting Hillary Clinton because a friend of hers told her that if a black man is elected President, he'll make all of the white people slaves, as payback for black slavery. And she doesn't want to be anyone's slave.
Granted, she also openly wishes that someone would just shoot Dubya already. She's a little off her rocker.
On the OT:
In Israel, a lot of people I know just didn't understand black/white racism in America. They just didn't get it.
On the other hand, there is a lot prejudice there, but it's more centered around the triple poles of Jew/Arab, different races of Jewry, and different observance levels of Judaism.
Do you mean they don't understand the ins & outs? Or do they just not understand how individuals within the 2 groups might hate the other group?
I wish I had known earlier (I only found out this week) that Hal Lindsey has been promoting this view quite a bit. Apparently no one among his adherants is calling him out for incorrectly predicting the date of the rapture about a half-dozen times now. Seems to me his record on interpreting Revelation isn't so hot...
Remember all those people last election who were saying, "Anybody but Bush!"?
Now they need to either put up or shut up.
[QUOTE=LesJarvis;1526048]Far more interesting to me are the people who are ostensibly racists, but are voting for Obama anyway:
"All right, we'll give some land to the niggers and the chinks, but we DON'T WANT THE IRISH."
I think what's more interesting than the typical racism and prejudice is just how many people there are that don't seem to realize just how freaking significant it will be if Obama wins the election. It's historic! And yet, just ten years ago even, would it have even been remotely possible? I'm really not sure...