Tagracism

Voting for a Racist is the New Normal

“America is already great because America is good”
– Hillary Clinton

Two weeks ago, that statement was dealt a severe blow as Donald Trump became President-Elect of the United States. Just like many others in my circle, it landed like a hard blow and made me question my beliefs and assumptions about this country. I’ve lived here for little over 16 years now or rather in two Bush terms and two Obama terms and never have I felt more despair in terms of this country’s future and ideals. To be honest, I’ve not yet completely recovered much less heed to any advice of being open to the “other side”. It’s almost like America woke up suddenly and said, it’s a white country and you just live in it.

The more I read about this election especially after a grueling and anger-inducing 16 months of campaigning, the more I believe that white America stood up and stamped its authority over this country of immigrants. We often ask each other that how could anyone vote for Trump after what he said and has done throughout the course of his campaign and his earlier life? He and his supporters offended Mexicans and other immigrants, African Americans and other minorities, Jews, disabled people, and even women. He was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women and a dozen women came forward confirming that he indeed had. He called Mexicans rapists and criminals and implied black neighborhoods have an infestation of crime. He mocked disabled reporters.

Well, maybe…just maybe they voted for him just because of those things and not in spite of them. Perhaps he was so generous in his hatred of various sections of the society that people focused on the things they hated too and ignored the rest. This may just be a form of cognitive deafness if you may. A Muslim woman who hates Mexicans, or a feminist who hates Muslim, or a Latino who is sexist, or, well, you get the picture.

Pundits are already spinning narratives on why Clinton lost but don’t pay heed to those. The race angle only makes sense. I don’t say this lightly since I do (still) believe America tries the most in attempting to address the scourge of supremacy of one race or religion over the other. Except in this election, Republicans actively sought to support the candidate who dispensed with the dog whistle and actively courted white supremacists and anti-Semites.

The Republican base had been clamoring for a more overtly radical and less politically-correct candidate since the GOP chose to nominate moderates like McCain and Romney. Instead this time when the base won out and they got the brash loud-mouthed lout, they came out in droves to support the nominee. Data shows Trump won a lot more Romney voters in red counties or at least enough to counter the increased Latino voters in Democratic counties. In my opinion, Clinton’s only electoral folly was that she appealed to the better angels of the GOP’s nature only to find out that there were none. The moderate and #NeverTrump-ers either went back to the Republican fold or simply were too few to matter. A majority of whites, whether they were college educated or not, voted for Trump.

The Rust Belt is not evolving as rapidly as the other parts of the country in coming to terms with the new economy. Resentment against declining job opportunities and resistance to training for the newer jobs [1] was redirected to the presence of immigrants. Fear in those parts worked much better than hope. People did not vote for Trump in spite of his despicable views but because of it. He forced them to dig up their primal fears and baser instincts of resentment and victimhood based on a false sense of racial superiority. Other moderates hadn’t made those fears explicit yet.

Subtle hints didn’t work, obvious hints didn’t work; ultimately you just had to say it out loud and repeatedly for those people to get it. No amount of talking to them about ‘economic anxieties’ is going to matter. I’ve lived for 8 years in one of the more conservative towns in the country where college-educated white conservatives consider a space space under a Republican administration and a Democrat administration. The fear is real. No one was talking about reaching across to the liberals once Obama got elected in a far bigger mandate. They just got down to work and decided to beat liberals and in 2010, they laid the groundwork of doing just that.

However, to end on a slightly positive note, it turns out that just over 100,000 voters in three Rust Belt states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) decided the election in which 130 million people voted in a country that has more than 320 million people. Of course, it was the Democrats much vaunted blue wall that cracked; however the signs have been there for a while now. So if there’s any reason to hope it’s that the majority of this country doesn’t subscribe to those views. As votes are still being counted, Clinton continues to increase her lead in the popular vote and may end up with at least 2 million votes or around a 2% margin. That’s a point and a half over Al Gore who also won the popular vote while losing the presidency. That’s progress; rest is just electoral college reality.

Footnotes:
  1. We see this as part of our professional jobs []

“…sexual harassment—from customers, coworkers, and management—can be traced back to this whole culture of forcing women to make their income based on pleasing the customer.” [Source]

“Black students are about half as likely as white students to be put on a ‘gifted’ track — even when they have comparable test scores.” And then they tell the black people to try harder.

Unleashing the Outrage

Apparently some unfunny comic, Joel Stein finds himself on the wrong side of the desi outrage of the week. Couple of days ago, an article in Time mocking the heavy Indian presence in Edison, NJ made the rounds of the interwebs and got retweeted heavily on Twitter (redundant? Where else would anything get retweeted?) It still remains the Most Read article on Time.com eclipsing the teen sensation, what else, Twilight Eclipse. So you can imagine the dissemination power of mocking desis and I’m not helping either by linking to it. If you read it, it comes off as an amateurish attempt at humor and trying too hard to rankle an otherwise peaceful minority (with the exception of perennially offended Rajan Zed). I read it, said meh, tweeted the link, and moved on.

Time Popular Posts.PNG I thought someone clueless about satire, albeit lame, in India particularly at Rediff would get offended and unleash the infamous Rediff commenters but I had never imagined someone on this side of the pond would fall for it. Sepia Mutiny did, unfortunately. Anna’s rant was needless (and long) and even her fellow blogger, Abhi thought Stein’s article didn’t deserve a rant. The post has 292 comments as I type this compared to an average of about 30-40 on other posts on their front page. So I understand the need to, as @cgawker would say, outrage but there ought to be a deserving target for your outrage. Stein’s largely unfunny attempt didn’t even raise my eyebrows; so much for being ‘on the edge’. But I understand this is the age, albeit declining, of the pageviews where you must provoke or be over-the-top outraged to generate discussion. Too bad, it isn’t the Drudge type of racism.

On the other hand, read this reasoned rant (I use the term loosely) on Manoj Night Shyamalan’s latest to-be-flop movie, The Last Airbender casting decisions. Now that’s a protest I loved reading every word of; calm, direct, and backed with evidence.

Related meta-rant at Vantage Point.

Using Literacy as a Racist Code Word

In his speech Thursday to attendees [Tea Party Convention], former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo invoked the loaded pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that President Barack Obama was elected because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country.”

[Source: Raw Story] Wait! I thought a lack of “literacy test” was how Bush, a certified C-grade student got re-elected. But then Tancredo tells me “illiterate” people often vote for law professors. By the way, read the full story to understand how racists like Tancredo use code words like ‘literacy’ to mask their hate. And this is the guy who failed to get a single delegate…at the Republican Convention. He couldn’t even fill the room at a Tea Party Convention.

You may be racist if…

If you write an article that results in a mass of people denouncing your article and possibly yourself as racist, it’s not going to be for some arbitrary reason. Though it won’t be comfortable, you need to accept the idea that you may have done what it is you are being accused. Calling the large group of people whom you offended irrational is not going to help.

[Source: Race-Talk] Amen. The first and only refuge of a racist is to claim that he isn’t one. The next one is to claim that he has black friends even though it might be just one and he hasn’t spoken to him in ages.

America for White People?

Pat Buchanan believes America is for white people. As Russell Peters said it best, soon we all are going to be beige; run all you want, one day we’re going to hump you.

Pat Buchanan’s Outdated Racist Terms

Pat Buchanan’s racism consists of using outdated slurs. Why is this guy still on TV?

Why the Bradley Effect might be dead

The Bradley Effect in U.S. politics is attributed to the inflated polling numbers for non-White candidates. The effect was brought to light in the 1982 California gubernatorial race when Tom Bradley lost the race in spite of being significantly ahead in voter polls. It is based on the assumption that voters inaccurately tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for non-white candidates but end up voting for their opponents on election day. They ‘lie’ to the pollsters to appear politically correct or do not want to be seen as racist for not voting for a minority candidate. By various accounts, this effect is said to be nearly 7 percent i.e. if Barack Obama was 7 percentage points ahead then he would actually be dead even with John McCain (remember Clinton’s ‘white working class Americans’?). Hence all the skepticism for his wide lead. But is the Bradley Effect really that significant and still persistent in today’s political scene.

Barack Obama has been campaigning for President almost non-stop for almost 2 years now and everyone in this country has heard of him or heard him speak, or seen him. Thanks to the 50-state Democratic Primary, Obama has visited virtually every corner of this vast country and people have had a chance to listen to him and judge him on the content of his character rather than the color of his skin. His win in all-white previously-Republican Iowa was symptomatic of change. His near-omnipresence on the media spotlight changed perceptions better or for worse like the attitude expressed by the person below:

“One thing you have to remember is that Obama, he’s half white and he was raised by his white mother. So his views are more white than black really.” Ms. Mendive looked tentative. “Well, that’s true.” Ms. Vance said she was so used to looking at Mr. Obama, “I don’t see the color of his face anymore [source].”

Another aspect for the weak Bradley Effect on Obama’s candidature may have been his bi-racial ethnicity. He was the ‘typical’ black candidate and although the Rev.Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Ayer scandals tried painting him as an angry Black Panther, his cool demeanor, eloquent speeches, and articulate policy stances made it difficult for his rivals to paint him as in the mold of an prejudiced version of the average black man. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight looked at the primary polls and the actual results and found that Obama in fact overperformed by 3.3 points on election day.

Much has changed in the U.S. since the Civil Rights movement and an entire generation has now come of age when racial segregation was never an institutional barrier. Of course, much remains to be done and you still see signs of discrimination but the youth having grown up with their minority peers are less likely to be racist. Obama’s strategy of focusing on the youth vote and emphasizing voter registration may have put paid to the hopes of his rivals hoping for the Bradley Effect.

Finally, the Bradley Effect may exist in certain parts of the country like the Deep South or the Appalachian states but these states are hardly battleground states and vote Republican anyway. The national polls may exaggerate the impact of the effect since it does not account for the disproportionate number of voters who are least likely to exhibit such tendencies. In fact, on the national level there appears to be no evidence of the Bradley Effect; in fact the effect has waned since the mid-1990s [PDF link] and there appears to be no effect right now.

And of course, when the economy is down in the dumps, people are less concerned about voting on their racial prejudices and more concerned on who will protect their jobs and boost the economy. McCain has floundered all over the place and any other Republican candidate probably would have handled it better but an economy in trouble has traditional benefited Democrats. And people seem to care less if the Democratic candidate is black.

Will they deport Henry Cejudo’s mom?

Olympian UndocumentedAlthough we have had an overindulgence of sappy Olympics background stories, this one is genuine. Henry Cejudo, 21 son of an undocumented migrant or like some like to call them, illegal aliens has just won the gold for the U.S. in the 55-kilogram wrestling event. His immediate reaction – “The United States is the land of opportunity. It’s the best country in the world and I’m just glad to represent it.” His mother worked two jobs to feed a family of six children on her own and Henry himself worked hard as a kid to put food on the family table.

Although his family and friends were in the stands during the final, his mom couldn’t make it understandably considering the country that his son won a gold medal for wouldn’t take her in (although the official reason is she is taking care of her grandchildren). While not condoning illegal immigration, Cejudo’s story reflects the majority of such immigrants who cross the border due to economic hardship and to avail of the opportunities that their native country did not accord them. Nativists would like us to believe that people like Cejudo are criminals and are a threat to the American society. I wonder if Bob Costas will cover this American dream story in tonight’s Olympic telecast.

But the important question here is will Lou Dobbs and his ilk now demand deportation of an Olympic gold medalist’s mom?

Racism Watch for Chris Matthews

After being clearly guilty of sexism toward Hillary Clinton, Chris Matthews is placed on racism watch given some of his statements against Obama. Matthews, IMO, is caught in a time warp from the 60s and 70s and often seems at a loss to comment on latest political trends.

Wacko Clinton Supporter

Just another working class white American. And they say racism is dying in America.

The Appalachia Racists

How are so-called working-class Appalachia whites Obama’s problem? If they can’t see beyond their racism, Obama will never get their vote no matter how hard he tries. It makes sense to let them wallow in their heartland gutter.

Watson Racist

James Watson, the co-discoverer of the DNA structure has stirred the race vs. intelligence debate (once again). His previous controversial exhortations have included, “a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child if tests could determine it would be homosexual” and “black people have higher libidos.” If nothing, he at least proves intelligence and education doesn’t necessarily make you worthy of respect. Sakshi and Ashutosh have more to say.

Beastly Men with Hot Wives

Just treat this as a minor quibble (maybe it shouldn’t be) from my web surfing observations yesterday. I was scrolling down the front page of Indianpad and noticed a story that had already amassed ten votes. The story was headlined ‘In pics: Beauty and the Beast’ so I assumed either it was someone’s tongue-in-cheek commentary on AbhiAsh wedding with a picture of an unshaven Abhishek as noted earlier by Sakshi. But when I opened the story on Indianpad, I saw the following story featuring Vinod Kambli and his wife:

Now although, Kambli isn’t the handsomest hunk around and his wife is admittedly a hottie but the story clearly wasn’t aimed to show how Kambli had ‘lucked out’. And Kambli is definitely not a beast compared to other men. Notice the comment along with a picture that was posted below the story followed by the tag of ‘beast’ once again:

Notice anything common about the definition of a ‘beast’? Also, if you google the chick (I had to coz I have never heard of her) in the comment i.e. Kim Kardarshian, you’ll know her claim to fame. Would Sachin Tendulkar be called a beast even if his wife was twice as hot?

Note that this isn’t a commentary on Indianpad which according to me is one of the few successful Web 2.0 sites in India today (love the fact that they share ad revenue with their users). On ocassions, they have eclectic non-blog content and hilarious images. This might be merely a reflection of blatant discriminatory attitude based on skin color by a section of their online users. But I am surprised that the story received 10 votes even from some of the sites frequent users. I am not judging ogling at Kambli’s obviously hot wife but I do take offense on the story headline. The way in which any story is presented certainly makes a difference in the way readers perceive it, right? I’m sure this minor quibble and half-hearted rant will not register in their rapidly growing community but I can simply voice displeasure on my blog, right?

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