A Vote For Racism

I hear there's a new bestseller out right now. It's called, "The Dummies Guide to Being a Racist in the 21st Century".

And obviously, the book's instructions are working. According to Ohio's Democratic Primary exit polls, 18% of white voters said that race was a factor in the way they voted. And 75% of those voters cast their ballot for the candidate who's white.

I'm not suggesting that everyone who doesn't vote for Barack Obama is a racist. I don't believe that. I genuinely think folks have the right to vote for whoever they want to and if folks really don't like Obama's policies or character, fine.

If they don't like Hillary's policies or character, that's cool too.

McCain's comb over? What can I say? You're either feeling it or you're not.

But the policies, character and comb over have nothing to do with that 18%. I have a real problem with that 18%. "Race being a factor" is basically code language for saying, "Hell no! I'm not voting for that negro!"

I can't say I'm surprised by that. I think that may actually be a low ball number. Despite all the hype talk about how we've transcended race, we can look around us and see that that's not true. We're not burning crosses on each other's lawns every other day but we're not exactly homies unidos either.

It gets me thinking about how we've had just about zero conversations between our presidential candidates about the de facto segregation that takes place in our nation's schools. But here in Los Angeles, according to some reports, up to 60% of black and Latino students do not graduate from high school. They aren't bad kids, but they do get stuck with teachers who will sit at their desk and read the newspaper. They get stuck with the teachers who say, "If you don't want to be in my class, don't come anymore."

I know I can go on a candidates website and check out an education plan but why isn't this a huge issue in the national conversation? To me it's because this drop out rate disproportionately affects people of color and poor white folks. And the last thing the elites in this country really want are more people competing against their own children for a spot at a top college.

And what do uneducated people do? Well, some of them join gangs. Here in LA, we've had a ton of gang violence in the past two weeks and the violence has primarily affected innocent victims. An entire neighborhood was shut down for hours in the aftermath of the shooting of a 36 year-old man and his 2 year-old granddaughter. A seventeen year-old high school senior, Jamiel Shaw, was shot and killed Sunday night. Yesterday a six year-old child got shot in the head while riding in a van with his family.

Oh, but I'm sure that 18% in Ohio could care less, because to them, that's what black folks and "illegal immigrants" deserve. They're going to sit around and think that it won't happen to their children because white children are inherently good and never join gangs or get shot by gang members.

I wonder if that 18% sees Obama's face and thinks of that black boss of theirs that they believe only got the job because of some sort of quotas, special treatment or diversity initiatives.

And the candidate that this thinking benefits doesn't denounce this sort of thing at all.

When I lived in China, the newspapers would mock U.S. criticism of Chinese human rights violations by basically saying, "Look who's talking! Isn't racism a human rights violation?" And truly, it is.

Those 18% weren't voting for someone because of the content of their character. They weren't voting for policies that will make this country a better place for everyone.

No matter how we look at it, they were voting for racism. How shameful.


Jen said…
That's true, and it's one of the continuing diseases of this country. I also wonder, though, if part of this is due to the "haves" being so consistently at the top of the political food chain. I wonder if they play segments of the population like the Tsars used to play the peasants against anyone non-Russian.

"It's their fault that you don't have x, y, or z..."

I just know that unless folks in this country learn to get past themselves and be willing to look at everyone for who they are, rather than their "category," we're doomed to remain in the sick economy, poor educational system and lousy health care that we have currently. And the economic spread between the very rich and the increasing numbers of poor is just not to be believed.

But... in the midst of my torrent, please don't think that I'm in any way excusing that 18%.

Ian Lidster said…
In a perverse way people were actually more honest when they openly declared their prejudices rather than hiding behind some pathetic "Oh, no, some of my best friends are black!" facade.
Good post. BTW, even though I'm Canadian and can't vote, I can't stand Hillary (for many reasons, none of which have anything to do with her being female) and hope she doesn't make it. She's always been an ambitious opportunist and I wouldn't trust her to bring back the correct change from the corner store.
Mes Deux Cents said…
Hi Liz,

Hillary Clinton's race-baiting is paying off for her. She and Bill planted the seeds and now those White people, who may have been on the fence, trying to overcome their racial bias, were given the opportunity by the Clintons to return to regressive racial thinking.
Jameil said…
VERY low ball numbers. people don't like to admit that kind of stuff. on china, whenever i hear anything about fixing all these other countries i'm always like DO YOU NOT SEE ALL THE KIDS SUFFERING HERE?!?! THERE ARE HUNGRY CHILDREN IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD!! (well maybe not yours, W. you've probably never seen any hungry kids outside your photo op.) KIDS WHO DON'T HAVE PEOPLE WHO CARE ENOUGH ABOUT THEM TO MAKE THEM GO TO SCHOOL!!!!! COME ON!! Start at home!!
none said…
Race isn't an excuse. I went to a poor school with broken toilets, teachers who read the paper, 20 year old text books and no lab equipment. But we had no gangs or drugs and pretty much everyone graduated got a job or went to public college.

Declaring racism as an excuse for violent and criminal behavior when is counter productive.

My whole family was poor and or mexican and we got out of the projects despite most white people hating our guts.

I think just as many blacks are voting racism as whites.
Yes the Clinton tactics are working. We have come a long way regarding race relations but let's get real.

The numbers in the L.A. school district are horrible and I don't think it's just a race thing. California used to have some of the best schools in the country until prop 13. The schools have been gutted and education as a whole has been devalued.

There is a new book about how there has always been a strain of anti-intellectualism in America. However, now it's the norm among all races. In fact some of us revel in our ignorance. I think the author is Susan Jacoby. People are more invested in watching Entertainment Tonight than the news. Reading is down, video game playing is up. etc. I fear for what is going to happen to this Superpower in a few decades. It's not looking good.
P.S. Bill Clinton was actually a "have not". He grew up poor.

Yet he signed a severe welform reform bill during re-election for his second term that threw a bunch of children under the poverty line.
Miriam said…

I like your attitude!

I don't know if everyone can do that -I guess it starts at home.
Anonymous said…
You're right, "race is a factor" is code for "I don't really trust those darkies, they're not like you and me". It's so pathetic when people hide behind these smooth euphemisms. It's like all the Brits who say "I'm not a racist, but...." and then rant on for half an hour about how they're taking all the jobs, living off benefits etc etc. Some people will never see beyond their prejudice to the reality.
Liz Dwyer said…
I absolutely do think we are played off of each other. I was talking with some friends last Saturday and we got around to whether or not I believe there is some sort of "illuminati" type shadow organization pulling all our

Good points! I always think the facades can be broken down when people marry each other. Of course I'm biased since that's the background I come from. :) But when your child comes home and says, "I'd like to marry such and such and she's not the same as us," well, that's a watershed moment right there. I think it forces people to really take a look at what's in their own heart even if they've gone years saying, "I don't see color". And if someone's in your family, you see right there that they've got the same dysfunctions, issues and shining qualities everyone else does.

It really is a, "Are you sure you want to trust this black man with your sleeping kids at 3AM?" kind of game. It makes me sick. I'm so close to swearing off all news media for the next month because all the gossip and racist innuendo really grates on my nerves, especially with gas being $5.39 in Santa Cruz. Talk about some REAL issues, OK? BTW, hope your blogging break is going well. Nice to see you out visiting again! :)

Well the excuse is that kids here could pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they really wanted to. We like the myth of intrinsic motivation in this country because it makes us feel better when we see homeless people, poverty and the utter degradation of humanity. We like to feel superior, like, "They must have done something to get themselves into those circumstances." And so we look the other way.

I got to writing so much that I just turned it into a post. See my post from today! :)

The numbers are sooo bad, aren't they. Prop 13 being repealed could fix a whole lot of stuff in this state. But it's the 3rd rail of California politics. Ugh.

There is definitely a disdain for being intellectual in this country. We're encouraged to shop till we drop and merely be obsessed with pop culture. And although pop culture is fun, folks know who Kim Kardashian is instead of Kim Jong-il.

Whenever I think about BC signing that welfare bill I think about how easy it is to put your own interests ahead of the betterment of society. He did it so he'd get re-elected. Such a shame.

I think it can start at home, but if it does then we're in even more trouble since parents have less time to spend with their kids due to work, long commutes, etc. I used to not see my sons til 6:30-7PM and that was a good night.

What drives me crazy is that when you point out that it's code language, people act like you're crazy, that you're just trying to make up stuff. Here in the states, people complain about welfare and believe black folks are just sitting around doing nothing, which isn't true. But they don't even blink when the government bailed out the airlines after 9/11. Or when cities give "tax breaks" to companies. The injustice really is disgusting.

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