Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Race in PA

So, this will surely bring out the comments, or the peanut gallery, or you know, the two people I have reading this who post a lot when I talk about things like this (you know who you are):

Sixteen percent of white voters said race mattered in deciding who they voted for, and just 54 percent of those voters said they would support Mr. Obama in a general election; 27 percent of them said they would vote for Mr. McCain if Mr. Obama was the Democratic nominee, and 16 percent said they would not vote at all.

Just fantastic. Right before I read this, I had been thinking the obviously stereotypical although still partly true thought: "doesn't success among white working class voters in rural areas probably mean success among the more racist sections of our society?"

According to these exit polls quoted in the Times, the answer to my question is essentially yes. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Here's my favorite person ever, Nora Ephron, on the subject:

This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don't mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can't even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder -- after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn't believe any of those articles.) To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday's primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them.

I had to add that last quip at the end because Nora's acerbity when it comes to men just warms my cold heart.

(Before you say it, yes, I know that like 90% of black voters vote for Obama. So I get that this is a two way street. But I reserve the right to be indignant about this kind of example of enduring racism in this country.)

(Two more posts on the subject here and here.)


Silvs said...

dude i just wrote this super long comment in response to your post and blogger erased it. i guess i could just call you and tell you the gist of it. i don't feel like rewriting it.
it had something to do with how much i dislike hillary and don't like it when people sympathize with her purely cause she's a woman cause she totally sucks and how yeah i think race and gender do play a role at some point but i think race is a bigger issue cause i think race divisions run deeper than gender divisions in this country and how even though the majority of black people are voting for obama it can't wholly be a race thing otherwise jesse jackson and al sharpton (to a much lesser degree cause the guy is a joke even though i'm no fan of jesse either) would have fared far better with blacks than they did in their presidential runs. and i posed the question of what would this race look like if hilhil and obama were white men. i likened it to the 1960 election purely based on nixon and kennedy's PUBLIC image (cause i think kennedy turned out to be dishonest and a bit of a dog--mad props for civil rights though). but the point is that obama is a likable guy while hilhil really isn't.
anyway, i realize now that i probably don't have to call you cause that was basically my original comment, but more cogent and insightful. oh well. guess we'll never know.

el super said...

ok so i'm not gonna comment on your post because you know my feelings on that nor on silvia's comment which i just won't even go there. But i will comment on nora and how she is amazing and we would be friends because we would get drunk and say "LIES!!" and i would tell her that i don't date liars and their lies and she would be like "CriCri, for reals." Did you ever read her collection or articles called "crazy salad"? It's good and i mean it's called crazy salad which is an awesome title.

so this is just to say, blaze on nora with your bad self

Anonymous said...

There there sweetheart, your white-guilt-fueled indignation is duly noted.

As for the facts: for fuck's sake, Jesse Jakcson won seven primaries and a number of caucuses! He got some seven million votes total in '88. That's... significant! Sharpton has run for Senate and Mayoral seats only, and only in 2004 did he make a serious bid for a Presidential nomination, and I'm sorry to say, but the truth is that no one could take him seriously by that point.

Emily said...

orges, i don't think the fact that jesse jackson won primaries means that our country isn't still racist. obama wins primaries, too. the point is that his race may be a factor when people are deciding not to vote for him.

Anonymous said...

Don't wanna turn this into a blog-comment war (would that be the first for your blog), but boo-hoo! People are racist! How unfair! People shouldn't be racist! That's a terrible thing to be! But they are! OMG! Whatever shall we do?

Also, my point was not that racism doesn't exist, but that it can be overcome with the right message. My point was that Jackson won seven primaries despite racism. My point is that maybe Obama can't win because the guy can't open his mouth without raising taxes. Maybe that!

el super said...

people are also probably not voting for hillary because she is a woman. we live in a shitty society that is making itself feel better by having 2 minority candidates.

Silvs said...

your last part xtina i will certainly agree with.