Thursday, March 20, 2008

Racism and the Democratic Party

I have already made a post about "the Speech" however there are repercussions for the Obama campaign by making "the Speech" in lieu of doing what pretty much every other politician in this country would have done, a.k.a. the smart and politically convenient action, throwing the preacher under the bus.

I read this article in today and it made me realize, as someone who grew up in South City why this is damaging. Many of these working class whites racism is different from the Country Club Racism one encounters among more educated whites, and in the conservative media.

The South City/working class white racism seems (in my very inexpert opinion) to be based on economic competition, cultural tensions between people living in close proximity to each other. The Country Club racism is bred more through ignorance and the Ronald Reagan "welfare queens driving Cadillacs" stereotypes, people who would never utter the n-word yet think all their tax dollars are lining the pockets of people living in the ghetto the conservative Southern Strategy still at work.

No matter either of these racist persuasions, the comments of Rev. Wright give racists the excuse to say why they WON'T vote for Obama. The folks in the article never would have told that reporter that they wouldn't vote for Obama because he is black, but the anti-white and anti-American comments are the perfect copout (don't give me a lecture about Black Liberation Theology either, it is not going to change these folks minds). Some people would say that these folks aren't voting for the Democratic Party no matter what, the country club racists yes, but working class? But the first time that the problem of racism in the Democratic Party crossed my mind as a problem is after Ohio and I heard exit polling results on CNN about how 20% of voters cited race (Q:"race of candidate was important to you?") as a factor in determining their choice and that 60% of those respondents were voted for Hillary, who won by a ten point spread (54% to 44%) with 76% of the turnout being white, winning 64% of those white voters.

What we see in these numbers are white voters voting for Hillary/against Obama admittedly based on race , at least in part. This is going to be problematic in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. These states are not only geographic neighbors but share many of the same demographics. AND they now have the Rev. Wright excuse that they aren't the ones throwing the first racially charged stone.

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