Thursday, November 06, 2008

Is racial change on offer?

Black conservative Shelby Steele throws some cold water on the theme of racial redemption expressed by Obama's victory. Steele has always argued that Obama is a "bargainer" - a black man who promises whites that he will not accuse them of racism if he does not hold his race against them. This, by itself, might be called racial reconciliation, but, for Steele, Obama offers whites this racial innocence only in return for their support. Thus the implied and express charges of racism in response to certain criticisms of Obama.

For Steele, this is anything but post-racial. Nevertheless, couldn't an Obama victory move us in a post-racial direction? Over at NRO, a number of commentators argue that, if it doesn't, it should. Obama's election, they say, should lead to a recognition that the real problems facing the African-American community are largely unrelated to current day racism.

But Steele isn't buying.

Like most Americans, I would love to see an Obama presidency nudge things in this direction. But the larger reality is the profound disparity between black and white Americans that will persist even under the glow of an Obama presidency. The black illegitimacy rate remains at 70%. Blacks did worse on the SAT in 2000 than in 1990. Fifty-five percent of all federal prisoners are black, though we are only 13% of the population. The academic achievement gap between blacks and whites persists even for the black middle class. All this disparity will continue to accuse blacks of inferiority and whites of racism -- thus refueling our racial politics -- despite the level of melanin in the president's skin.


I'm a bit more optimistic, but the ball is in President-elect Obama's court. We can move past our racial politics if he intentionally decides to lead us there. I don't expect him to do that, but he is uniquely situated to accomplish that.

20 comments:

tom paine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tom paine said...

Rick, you do choose some rather strange sources to reference. Shelby Steele is the reknowned author of:

"A Bound Man: Why We are Excited about Obama and Why He Can't Win."

Now if this had been written in 1995 or even in 2005 maybe Steele could be given a free pass. But it was published in 2008!

You are now reduced to quoting people who have published their inability to make correct conclusions.

It's similar to having President Bush give a seminar on how to run a country!

Anonymous said...

With 70% of Obama vote being single women, we probably should turn to Oprah to get the answer.

tom paine said...

anonymous said...

"With 70% of Obama vote being single women"

If 70% of Obama's vote total came from single women then we would now be talking about president elect John McCain.

Anonymous said...

tp -

70% single women is the figure reported yesterday...I'll be listening for any correction but with the low voter turnout I think it is probably true.

Anonymous said...

Who was the source of that statistic? Unreliable sources rarely retract errors; so who's the source?

sean s.

Anonymous said...

OK, I did a little googling; I think I understand Anonymous at 5:18's error.

The number I am seeing most widely reported is 60%: 60% OF SINGLE-WOMEN VOTED FOR OBAMA; not that 60% of Obama's vote came from single women.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics ...

sean s.

tom paine said...

sean,

You are correct. However, to be fair to the "70 percent of Obama's votes" post, for some folks the old adage "a little information can be dangerous" might apply.

Anonymous said...

sean and tp -

I have not heard a retraction or correction of the 70% but I think it will come up again. For now, let us use your figure of 60% with approximate figures.

More then half of the population is women or a good estimate is 55%, which means that we have about 167 million women in this country. Let us say that 1/3 of those are under the age of 18 leaving us with about 112 million women. The most recent estimate I could find of married women is 52% leaving us with about 54 million unmarried women. Using your figure that 60% of unmarried women voted for Obama would give us 32.4 million votes. Obama received 65,103,908 that would mean about half where unmarried women. That would still be a very substantial number when you consider married and unmarried men and married women that all combined only make up the other half.

As I said, maybe we should turn to Oprah to get the answer to Rick’s question. I think most of Oprah viewers are unmarried women.

Publius said...

Though I voted for the Republican Candidate, President-Elect Obama has convinced people that he is an agent of change.

People wanted business as unusual.

It does not matter precisely what section of the population wanted him, enough wanted him that he won the election.

Obama's story is one I understand, of taking what life has dealt you in making the most of it. He did not know much of his birth father he was raised by a single mother; he may have felt on the outside of both the black and the white races.

He did not let these impediments slow him down he instead chose to do the best he could in school and sports and all the other things of life handed him.

I hope he brings the same enthusiasm to his new office.

Because I feel one of his main weaknesses to hold this office is a lack of experience.

Anonymous said...

publius -

You should check his genealogy and you'll find that he has royal bloodline that relates him to Bush, Cheney, General Lee and back to the English throne. He may know more about this then you think.

Michelle, his wife has a cousin that is a Jewish Rabbi on the Southwest side of Chicago. I would think this helped him launch his political career.

For some reason it appears that Muslims around the world are thrilled he was elected President. Can you imagine someone being accepted by both Jew and Arab?

When he spoke in Germany, they said that he would not only be the next President of the U.S. but would become President of the world. Google is claiming that they are being swamped with searches of anti-Christ. This is not a normal election for some reason that makes it worth paying attention to.

His campaign was by far more spiritual then political because all he really said was trust me.

The main group of people that voted for him was single women. That is very significant to this country and the Republican Party and I would like to know why his message appealed to them.

I think it alone deserves discussion as to why and what it should mean to policy decisions.

Would he have won without Oprah endorsement?

Publius said...

Revelashun 4:8(New Stupefied Version)

“And the four living creatures, individually having six wings, were full of eyes all over and within [underneath their wings]; and day and night they never stop saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Almighty (Omnipotent),

Who was and Who is and Who is to come.

And he shall speak in the East and say I'm the President of all presidents (Omnipotent).

And she who is called “beloved” [Oprah] shall anoint him.

(And though she starred in “Beloved,” a movie that is as far from a good movie as the East is from the West.)

All the women who are without men shall crown him."


PuhLeeze !!
As an evangelical Christian, I am embarrassed by you.

Anonymous said...

Publius -

"As an evangelical Christian,"

Your immaturity is showing and an evangelical Christian would not be mocking the Bible as you are.

tom paine said...

Well, I voted for Obama but I'm still not sure that he's not going to kill all the puppies (irrespective of his news conference announcement) and eat the spring flowers before taking us down the path to Marxism and eternal suffering.

Damn, but those GOP ads were good!

gus said...

Tom Paine, we are concerned with Mr.Obama killing puppies, it's the human babies that he allows to be killed that bothers us.

How do you feel about his stance on letting live babies die because that was Mom and Doctor's intent?

Please, Tommy, the rest of your posts are brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
sean and tp -

I have not heard a retraction or correction of the 70% but I think it will come up again. For now, let us use your figure of 60% with approximate figures.

More then half of the population is women or a good estimate is 55%, which means that we have about 167 million women in this country. Let us say that 1/3 of those are under the age of 18 leaving us with about 112 million women. The most recent estimate I could find of married women is 52% leaving us with about 54 million unmarried women. Using your figure that 60% of unmarried women voted for Obama would give us 32.4 million votes. Obama received 65,103,908 that would mean about half where unmarried women. That would still be a very substantial number when you consider married and unmarried men and married women that all combined only make up the other half.

As I said, maybe we should turn to Oprah to get the answer to Rick’s question. I think most of Oprah viewers are unmarried women.

12:44 PM

Anonymous said...

Anony 12:44

You forgot to compute the fraction of unmarried women that actually vote.

tom paine said...

gus said...

"we are concerned with Mr.Obama killing puppies, it's the human babies that he allows to be killed that bothers us.

How do you feel about his stance on letting live babies die because that was Mom and Doctor's intent?"

First of all Gus, it appears that you left out a word (not) in between "are" and "concerned" in your first sentence.

Second, it appears that you are either unaware or choose to ignore Obama's actual position on the Pro-Choice/Pro-life issue.

So I will provide Obama's own words for you:

"On an issue like partial birth abortion, I strongly believe that the state can properly restrict late-term abortions. I have said so repeatedly. All I've said is we should have a provision to protect the health of the mother, and many of the bills that came before me didn't have that.

Part of the reason they didn't have it was purposeful, because those who are opposed to abortion have a moral calling to try to oppose what they think is immoral. Oftentimes what they were trying to do was to polarize the debate and make it more difficult for people, so that they could try to bring an end to abortions overall.

As president, my goal is to bring people together, to listen to them, and I don't think that's any Republican out there who I've worked with who would say that I don't listen to them, I don't respect their ideas, I don't understand their perspective.

And my goal is to get us out of this polarizing debate where we're always trying to score cheap political points and actually get things done.

I absolutely think we can find common ground. And it requires a couple of things. It requires us to acknowledge that..

1. There is a moral dimension to abortion, which I think that all too often those of us who are pro-choice have not talked about or tried to tamp down. I think that's a mistake because I think all of us understand that it is a wrenching choice for anybody to think about.

People of good will can exist on both sides. Nobody wishes to be placed in a circumstance where they are even confronted with the choice of abortion. How we determine what's right at that moment, I think, people of good will can differ.

2. And if we can acknowledge that much, then we can certainly agree on the fact that we should be doing everything we can to avoid unwanted pregnancies that might even lead somebody to consider having an abortion."

So Gussy, if there is anything still unclear to you please advise.

tom paine said...

Per an AP report from a national demographic analysis:

"Obama won precisely half of all young working-class white men, 10 points better than any Democrat since the Reagan era.

Obama won among young white women without a degree by 54 to 45 percent, the first time a Democrat had more than 50 percent support from this group in the post-Reagan era. His highest level of support from young whites came from college-educated women, who backed him by 61 to 38 percent."

No mention of Oprah in this study. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

If anyone knows how to market to women, it would be Oprah. I wonder how much assistance she gave Obama and his people before they launched his campaign. It appears that we have been taken over by the afternoon talk show crowd.