Chris Hayes responds

by on August 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm in Data Source, Economics, Political Science | Permalink

In this segment Chris Hayes gives a gracious and interesting response to my post Racism by Political Party.

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1 razib August 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm

props to him for “updating.”

2 Jan August 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Props to Hayes for pointing out the two core issues: the racial dividing line in politics is as bright as it has ever been; one of the major party’s policies negatively and disproportionately impact African Americans, not to mention other minority groups.

3 Glen Raphael August 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm

“one of the major party’s policies negatively and disproportionately impact African Americans, not to mention other minority groups.”

That claim might be true, but it’s not obvious which major party you mean it to apply to. Care to clarify which party and which policies you’re talking about?

If you asked, the Republicans would likely point out the general failure of the War on Poverty, the fact that the black middle class was in some ways better off and improving at a faster rate in certain earlier times before the government tried so hard to “help” them, the fact that higher minimum wage laws are still presumed to harm minorities more and render discrimination less costly. They’d use terms like “culture of dependence” and make a pretty good case that many policies ostensibly designed and intended by the left to help African Americans have actually hurt them instead.

On the flip side, the Democrats would mostly have to point at their good *intentions* in passing all these “helping” policies, since the evidence is so thin on the ground that the policies actually DO help.

It would be awesome if we had a major party whose policies clearly *helped* African Americans, but we don’t. (If we did, that party’s top priority might be drug legalization and having the president immediately pardon all those previously imprisoned for simple drug possession – that would have a *huge* positive impact on family life and general employability in the relevant groups.)

4 GiT August 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Quite the paternalist take on things. Shouldn’t a bit more than 0% of African Americans recognize that a Romney presidency is best for them?

5 maguro August 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Perhaps they’re like those people in Kansas who constantly get duped into voting against their economic self-interest.

6 Jan August 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm

I think your are referring to “values voters.” Things like guns, abortion, religion, and other cultural issues, to cite the cliche list, may play a larger role in their voting than the nuances of economic policies.

7 JoeDog August 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I disagree with this sentiment. I would benefit from Republican tax cuts but I vote for Democrats because I believe their support for infrastructure, education, science, R&D, etc., is more economically beneficial. Similarly, those proverbial working class folks from Kansas understand, the worst economic disaster they can suffer is divorce. They are drawn toward rhetoric which emphasizes Jesus, family and guns (protection).

8 Miley Cyrax August 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Not specific to African Americans, but people tend to vote like they root for sports teams. Oftentimes, it’s more cheering for laundry than a rational calculation of one’s self-interests.

Of course, many times, they really are just duped by snake oil.

9 Cliff August 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm

GiT, where is your apology for being all over the other thread insisting he was not referring to the two parties, when he clearly was?

10 GiT August 27, 2012 at 12:41 am

My rejection of reading “political coalition” as an equivalent to “political party” remains justified, and hence I have nothing to apologize for.

The liberal and conservative data supports the conclusion that, for example, racists are about twice as likely to be conservative than liberal.

And Chris Hayes, who failed to dig much deeper than Tabarrok or Sides did, fails to notice the discrepancy in racial attitudes across party by race, and offers no explanation why racism among whites has such a different pattern across parties than racism among blacks and other minorities, with Republican minorities over 3x as likely to pick the racist answer re: marriage than Democrat minorities.

This discrepancy is prima facie evidence for being suspicious of political party membership as the correct way of analyzing the problem.

Without factoring in “democrats” whose democratic representatives vote with Republicans on race and immigration issues (read: white Southern democrats), the racism right and left variants of those who register libertarian, registered greens or other third parties who are likely to vote either third party or for a specific major party (look at the voting patterns for people of “Other” parties across races on the intermarriage question), and patterns among registered independents who consistently vote along Rep or Dem party lines, you haven’t told me anything about political coalitions. Note, especially, that a large plurality of voters are registered independents (40%), but a large majority of independents vote along party lines from election to election (60%+). Without disaggregating and including data on independents, party data is next to useless at capturing the contours of the constituencies behind the parties.

A simple example of why party is not the right way to look at this: Take a hot button race issue, like the DREAM Act. 8 Republicans voted for (contra the party) the Dream Act. Over 30 Democrats voted against it (contra the party).

The hypothesis I would want to defend is that most racists vote for politicians who vote with Republicans on race issues. Voting record, not party identification, for both voters and parties, is the appropriate way to identify political cleavages and political coalitions. The prevalence of white racists among the Democratic party (minority racists are barely represented) can likely be explained by the prevalence of Democratic politicians who vote Republican on race issues. A considered guess at how this would break down, looking at the differences between con/lib trends regardless of race and dem/rep trends for non-white groups, is that racists are at least 2x as likely to vote for Republicans or Democrats who vote Republican on race issues. Whether that would mean racists almost entirely belong to a Republican led voting coalition when it comes to racial policy will depend on what you mean by “almost entirely”.

Basically, neither Tabarrok, Sides, or Hayes has thought enough about why this particular data point disagrees with Hayes’s intuition, and we are all poorer for their lack of curiosity.

11 GiT August 27, 2012 at 2:09 am

That should read “for both voters and politicians” not “for both voters and parties” below.

12 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

Hayes 1.0 may be right, Tabarrok may be right, Hayes 2.0 may be right, you may be right. My point is that doesn’t mean anything.

We have a group of races/cultures who are down. Are they down historically or fundamentally? Are policies that promote them racist or anti-racist? It depends on the state of the meritocracy. Depending on which side you are on will influence your conclusion.

Using the “fact” that different groups may or may not be tilted towards one side therefore undecided voters should vote for or against those groups based on what they think group association means is not logic.

13 GiT August 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I’m not using the fact to say who anyone should vote for, though of course it will be used for such.

I’m interested in understanding how things work by getting one’s hands on the right description.

I’m as interested in this in the case of, say, income inequality questions where people rightly point out the problem of age and household size effects, for example. The fact that many people think inequality per se, as a relative measure, is meaningless, doesn’t impugn describing inequality accurately. The fact that how racists vote might be irrelevant to how I should vote doesn’t impugn describing racists accurately.

But in fact it does matter, because if the majority of racists vote for one’s policy prescriptions on the issue of race, though this does not impugn the worth of the policies (as that is ad hominem), cultivating racism and appealing to it in order to pass one’s preferred policies is morally blameworthy regardless. One could take a utilitarian position on the matter and say the ends justify the means, but on deontological grounds, one has problems.

14 derek August 26, 2012 at 10:35 pm

97% of Iraqis voted for Saddam.

And yes, the block voting pattern is a sign of political dysfunction. You would almost think that the Democrat controlled cities, school boards, teachers unions conspire to keep African Americans poor and uneducated. Wasn’t there some post a few days ago showing how breaking out of the Democrat political schooling stranglehold improved the lives of young people measurably?

We have a similar situation in Canada with the indian Act. A nasty piece of legislation that removes property rights and places unaccountable bureaucrats in control of the lives of people. An utter failure, but any, even a whisper of discussion of changing it gets overwrought responses from the sinecures who live well off of it, and as a bludgeon of accusations of racism. So another generation grows up hopeless and bitter, a very useful group for a political party.

I’ve seen the left dismantle a similar regime in Quebec, removing the political-religious regime that kept it in dark ages for years, and incidentally cementing the left in power.

I’ll accuse the Republicans of one thing, that is not giving a damn. Ceding the political ground has denied this group of people a competitive political fight where both sides need to actually improve their lives before they get a vote. As it is now they are an almost guaranteed voting bloc for the Democrats requiring at most token acknowledgement. In the political hierarchy they seem to be at the bottom compared to all the other groups.

15 Kevin August 27, 2012 at 2:05 am

97% of Iraqis voted for Saddam in elections that were neither free nor fair. American elections are, the last time I checked, significant amount freer and fairer (although not, I suppose, without their blemishes). So what are you talking about? How is that even apposite?

16 Adrian Ratnapala August 27, 2012 at 2:34 am

Quite the paternalist take on things. Shouldn’t a bit more than 0% of African Americans recognize that a Romney presidency is best for them?

I’m all for non-paternalism, but let’s work the logic back through the context of this thread:

a) Most black people will vote for Obama.
b) Being rational, black people will vote in their own interests.
c) It is racist to vote against the interests of black people.
d) Therefore it is racist to vote against Obama.

17 The Original D August 27, 2012 at 3:13 am

Bass-ackwards. The point is that, if the Republican party truly is the party of Lincoln, at least a modest percentage of black people will hear the faint dog whistle and vote for Romney. Alas, there is another, more powerful dog whistle.

18 Slocum August 27, 2012 at 6:50 am

Of course, a bit more than 0% do vote Republican. But is voting for Democratic candidates against African American self-interest? To the extent that minimum wages and anti-growth policies keep Black unemployment (especially youth unemployment) at very high levels, yes. On the other hand, African Americans are significantly more likely to work in government-sector jobs than the population as a whole, so voting for the party pushing to raise taxes, increase the size of government, and spend tens of billions of borrowed stimulus dollars to protect government jobs — sadly, that does make good economic sense for many African Americans (at least in the short term — in the longer term, they also need a vibrant, growing economy to support the government sector where many of them aspire to work, but in the long run we are all dead, etc).

19 Sam August 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

Surely the entire concept of something called “African American self-interest” is racist. The self-interest of a middle-class African American man in a leafy suburb is not the same as the self-interest of the poor urban African American man living amidst gangs and drugs.

20 Slocum August 27, 2012 at 11:56 am

“Surely the entire concept of something called “African American self-interest” is racist. ”

Oh brother.

“The self-interest of a middle-class African American man in a leafy suburb is not the same as the self-interest of the poor urban African American man living amidst gangs and drugs.”

Obviously they are not identical, but there are very good reasons to believe there is much more overlap that you seem to imagine. The chances that the AA middle-class suburbanite and poor urbanite both depend directly on government spending (for employment in the one case and transfer programs in the other) are higher than for the general U.S. population. And a high percentage of middle-class African-Americans have poor family members (to whom they may be providing some financial support — one of the factors that impairs black middle-class wealth formation).

21 sam August 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm

“The self-interest of a middle-class African American man in a leafy suburb is not the same as the self-interest of the poor urban African American man living amidst gangs and drugs.”

What a lovely picture of Black Americans Sam paints!
Really. I hope no one is wondering why many people still think bigotry and racism still about, no matter how gentle the racism or subtle the bigotry.

22 Jan August 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Rather than speculate on how great smaller government might have been for minorities, I prefer to evaluate how the public programs that Republicans want to cut–and have cut–impact those groups. Examples are Medicaid, Pell grants for college, food stamps and the national school lunch program.

You may want to review what the different parties’ positions have been on drug laws, and mandatory sentencing in particular, in recent years.

23 Miley Cyrax August 26, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Is a policy that is purported to be negative for African Americans automatically bad, like being for the elimination of affirmative action? Hardly anyone would admit they’re proponents of systematic discrimination against Asians (and to a lesser extent, whites), but that’s a consequence of affirmative action.

Some liberals even argue that affirmative action is bad in the long term for African Amercans because it’s “bigotry of low expectations.”

24 Rahul August 27, 2012 at 1:56 am

What’s the reasoning behind why something like Affirmative Action hurts Asian Americans more than it hurts whites? I never understood that.

25 Adrian Ratnapala August 27, 2012 at 2:40 am

Because Asian Americans, on average, have more to gain from a pure-merit policy.

I haven’t thought about the maths hard enough to figure if this actually makes a difference, but the argument is at least prima facie reasonable.

26 Rahul August 27, 2012 at 6:53 am

I still don’t see it. Do Disabled Parking spots hurt the best drivers (rather parkers) the worst?

Do reserved seats on buses for old people hurt the most athletic youngsters the most?

27 maguro August 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

So blacks:non-blacks::disabled drivers:non-disabled drivers?

28 Anthony August 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Because that’s what the numbers show. When U.C. Berkeley was forced to adopt race-blind admissions, the proportion of that freshman class which was white was about the same as under the previous setup, where non-Asian minorities faced a lower bar to admission. However, the proportion of Asians in that class was significantly higher, by about 10% of the overall freshman class, if I remember correctly.

29 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 8:36 am

“Is a policy that is purported to be negative for African Americans automatically bad, like being for the elimination of affirmative action?”

It’s amazing we can talk about this for hours and never fully grasp the part about there being zero-sum aspects to voting.

No, I don’t suspect minorities or majorities are 100% non-self-interested in their voting.

30 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

“one of the major party’s policies negatively and disproportionately impact African Americans, not to mention other minority groups.”

Primarily in the mind of democrats who think that:
1) their lip service signaling pro-minority prescriptions ACTUALLY help minorities and
2) their lip service signaling pro-minority prescriptions help or are at least neutral to the rest of the country

For someone like me who thinks that the main problem with democracy in general and the main problem with our nation specifically right now is the eschewing of public goods towards cash-transfers I have a lot of sympathy for things that seem to hurt a group simply because that group falls on the recipient of welfare state policies end of the divide.

Why do they fall on that end of the divide anyway? Outright racism?

31 Tarrou August 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Condensed, uncharitable version: “Ok I lied about the Republicans having all the racists, Democrats have some too, but they still have all the [i]effective[/i] racists”. Still, at least he had the decency to admit the original fraud.

32 lxm August 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I doubt the original was fraud, just his perception of where the parties stand. And in his extended statement he pretty much stands by the sense of the first, if not the absolutism of it.

Republicans may not be racists, but the party does exploit racism. You all surely remember the “Southern Strategy” that has kept the south solidly Republican for a generation.

And I’ve had enough anecdotal experience to believe that many Republicans are racists. I was called a traitor to my race for voting for Obama. And I’ve been told many other racist stories by my Republican friends. (Nicest folks in the world, I might add.) You don’t have to trick these Republicans into revealing their racist beliefs. They just right out tell you. Of course my experience may not be typical.

But then again when I listen to Rush Limbaugh I hear stuff like this: “In Obama’s America Black Boys will beat up White Boys on the School Bus.” Now I have no reason to think that Rush is a racist, but I have lots of reasons to think he panders to racial fears to get people to vote Republican. There is a racial tension in this country. Read the latest Ta-Nehisi Coates article in The Atlantic for a discussion.

I do get a kick out of watching Republicans try to dodge their way around the racism issue.

33 Dismalist August 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I sympathize, kinda: Seems to me the apparent racial divide is contrived, precisely for party political purposes. If true, that would be good news, for that would mean its days are numbered. Maybe just misplaced hope on my side.

The upthread discussion about rational voting is all well and good, but doesn’t account for low voting turnout among low income groups.

34 Joe Eagar August 27, 2012 at 12:48 am

The Southern Strategy was abandoned long ago; I believe the RNC officially apologized for it in 2004, the last time the GOP tried joining the minority bidding war. Anecdotal evidence isn’t helpful, either. Racism is a generational and regional phenomenon, and does not generalize to the whole country.

The paternalistic, narcissistic view of white elite liberals is so condescending, so enabling of its own racism, that I do not understand why we even have these discussions. White liberals do not envision a world where all the races live together. They envision a world where white liberals and poor minorities team up in a class war against the middle.

So no, I don’t buy the innocence of liberals on race. It’s absurd.

35 Joe Eagar August 27, 2012 at 12:53 am

To be clear, I don’t believe that poor minorities are stupid enough to go along with liberals in such an outlandish scheme, or that liberals themselves are in a position to make their fantasies come true.

36 GiT August 27, 2012 at 2:12 am

And yet, it appears, 94% of one particular minority are going to go along with that “scheme”. What, exactly, do you believe about them?

37 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

If one party is pro-race X, are they racist?

Do we really want to pass a policy and then judge it based on how we analyze how it affects people based on race?

Or do we just let people vote and decide for themselves?

Then if all of a race vote on one side of a political divide what do we assume about that policy? Should we aim to have every racial group split 50/50 on every policy and every political divide?

38 GiT August 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

If every racial group split 50/50 across every issue, this would seem to imply that every policy was neutral with respect to race. That seems like a pretty good standard to work towards.

39 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

And it cannot be done, and I’m not sure it would be a good goal. It would depend. But let’s accept that it would be a good aspirational goal. Here is why it couldn’t happen.
Here is why: someone would blink and then pander to a race.
Now you have to prove that the situation isn’t like that guy who showed how neighborhoods naturally segregate with his Othello board.
As long as a minority has even a marginal race identification, you end up with an equilibrium with the vast majority of them on one side and anyone opposed to pro-race identity politics on the other side.
We get the equilibrium we deserve.

40 GiT August 27, 2012 at 10:42 am

I never said I thought it could happen. And I’m suspicious of whether it would be a good goal to actually reach. It is, however, relative to the present state of affairs, a good goal to work towards.

41 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 11:05 am

“It is, however, relative to the present state of affairs, a good goal to work towards.”

That is a matter of opinion. And I mean each side has the different opinion. And Hayes is basically saying that if you are of the opinion that we are at the point of diminishing returns on promoting people based on race then you roll with the racists, so if you aren’t a racist you should vote Democrat.

I call BS.

42 GiT August 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm

It’s a matter of opinion insofar as all moral matters are a matter of opinion.

My opinion is that it is a fact that not working towards policy which alleviates inequality between the the well off and disadvantaged minorities is, basically, evil.

Note, however, that I will accept that the correct policy prescription for achieving this is not definitely knowable.

If one genuinely thinks abolishing welfare will diminish racial inequality or best improve the situation of the least well off, fine.

But if you are, in principle, hostile or indifferent to policy which compensates for racial inequity, well, that makes you not an especially good person. We are not over being anti-racist as a matter of principle, even if we are over affirmative action and welfare as a means of being anti-racist.

43 Joe Eagar August 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

GiT, I don’t think either parties has significant policy ideas on racial differences. If anything, it’s becoming a nonpartisan issue, with calls for education reform coming from Republicans as often as Democrats–both of whom couch it in racial terms of local educational bureaucracies exploiting poor black people–and a similar situation with drug legalization.

Other than those two areas, education and drug policy, there really aren’t any innovative policy ideas out there. The idea that simple redistribution would help is not supported by the facts, not unless the government forcibly moved minorities out of city centers and into suburbs or rural areas. Given how high inflation tends to run in cities (remember that inflation within a currency union appreciates the local real exchange rate, driving out investment and jobs) the kind of redistribution often cited by liberals would more likely speed up gentrification and increase minority isolation than actually solve the problem.

My own take is that minorities are attached to their communities and their physical land; that’s human nature. Thus, we need to bring inflation down in cities with supply-side reform on land use, housing policy, etc. It is absurd that the real median wage of San Francisco is close to that of Utah, but close to *twice* the Utah wage in nominal terms. That is not sustainable.

44 Joe Eagar August 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm

GiT, I forgot to answer your first question. I don’t think poor minorities are “going along” with an “eat the middle” class war, with themselves and wealthy white liberals on one side, and middle-class Americans on the other.

Sure, they vote Democrat. But the Democratic party is not uniformly left-wing. Look at how shrill and desperate liberals have become in their rhetoric. Every bit of political messaging explicitly mentions every liberal identity group–thus, the hated “heterosexual white male”–yet they still lose elections.

45 hartal August 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Chris Hayes concedes too much too fast. It’s sure that Taborrok would not look up a source like this, but what is Hayes’ excuse? Who in their right mind would give so much weight to self-reported racism to ascertain how prejudiced the bases of the respective parties are? This strikes me as worthy of a high school student. The Republicans are a party of prejudice, playing on and trying to mobilize the anti-black and ant-immigrant prejudice of their base so that they vote. This is why Romney admitted to going for boos at the NAACP and that is why he passed over Rubio.

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2009, pp. 241–253
Implicit Race Attitudes Predicted Vote in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election
Anthony G. Greenwald∗ University of Washington
Colin Tucker Smith
Ghent University
N. Sriram
University of Virginia
Yoav Bar-Anan
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva
Brian A. Nosek
University of Virginia
In the week before the 2008 United States presidential election, 1,057 registered voters reported their choice between the principal contenders (John McCain and Barack Obama) and completed several measures that might predict their candidate preference, including two implicit and two self-report measures i

measures of symbolic racism and political conservatism. Greater White preference on each of the four race attitude measures predicted intention to vote for McCain, the White candidate. The implicit race attitude measures (Implicit Association Test and Affect Misattribution Procedure) predicted vote choice independently of the self-report race attitude measures, and also independently of political con- servatism and symbolic racism. These findings support construct validity of the implicit measures.

46 Cliff August 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Well, unfortunately that tells you nothing about the question at hand (whether there are racists in the Democratic party).

47 Hartal August 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm

To get at the level of prejudice in the electorally active bases of the respected parties, one cannot reasonably rest contented with self measures of racism. first the self reported racists may tend to be more abstention in one party rather than the other. second there may be a much greater level of implicit, subconconscious or cynical forms of prejudice in one party that self reporting would not disclose
Why do tabarrok and Hayes insist on having this sophomoric discussion

48 Joe Eagar August 29, 2012 at 3:25 am

Does anyone else ever think we need a constitutional amendment banning thought crimes and thought police?

49 Yi August 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Blacks support Obama by 95% because most blacks in America are unapologetic racists.

Blacks support racist hiring, promotion, and admission policies that favor blacks and hispanics while racially discriminating against whites and asians.

The best way to end racial discrimination is by … not discriminating on the basis of race.

But Obama is an admitted racist, so no surprise black bigots support him.

50 Ya August 26, 2012 at 11:14 pm

^ The irony of this comment.

51 Miley Cyrax August 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Yes, the disregard for Asian Americans from all political spectrums is pretty appalling, especially from the left which prides itself on fairness and concern for all.

I thought it was especially vomit-inducing the way Obama gleefully wished Asian Americans a happy Lunar New Year, while him and Holder continually work to extort more opportunities from Asian Americans to give to blacks and latinos.

52 Yi August 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Someday I’ll meet a non-bigoted Democrat.

It’s not that Democrats are stupid and ignorant, though they are that. It’s that they lack common human decency.

53 StPaulite August 26, 2012 at 11:09 pm

It’s good to have things all worked out.

54 Ranjit Suresh August 26, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Americans on both sides of the Democratic/Republican divide need to ask themselves: who benefits from fomenting racial cleavages in this country? Who wins, regardless of whether Southern white Republicans or Northern liberal white and black Democrats lose?

The answer is obvious. The same people who championed civil rights and provided the architects of neoconservatism.

55 Joe Eagar August 29, 2012 at 3:28 am

Excuse me? Neocons benefit from racial discord?

56 Eric H August 26, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Very nice response, but the last half of the piece was flat. Wow, African-Americans overwhelmingly vote Democrat. That must mean that Democratic policies are pro-black. But then there’s this piece of news about a policy that is probably supported (though not overwhelmingly) by Republicans. Sorry Chris, but my view of journalists is that they should look for truth, not accept the received wisdom.

57 Jim the Third August 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm

What is the point of this debate?

If it can be shown that republicans or conservatives have a greater amount of racists, what can be legitimately concluded on the basis of this observation that hasn’t already been concluded, i.e. disproportionate impact, etc.?

Generally speaking, Freedom and Equality as the general ends of policy seem to be in tension. Liberals say that freedom should be restricted to advance equality; Republicans say that inequality is a tolerable consequence of freedom.

Since freedom is obviously a better cover than equality for racists, I don’t see what is surprising about the apparent results, but neither do I see how this observation would contribute to resolving that more fundamental disagreement about the relative rank of freedom and equality as ends.

58 B August 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm

That was a strange piece full of non sequiturs.

59 John Skookum August 27, 2012 at 1:55 am

I am tired of the entire topic and no longer care if I am called a racist. The days when the word was a magic totem that could shut down rational debate are now over.

60 GiT August 27, 2012 at 3:07 am

Hayes has accepted an overly simplistic way of answering and analyzing the question. (Which initially concerned political coalitions, not parties).

The frame should be this:

Do the vast majority of racists vote for politicians who vote for the Republican Party position on race issues? In order to figure that out, you’d have to look at a lot more information than any of the people who have commented on this are looking at.

Only that sort of analysis is going to help you understand why Black Republicans are 6x more likely to be against interracial marriage than Black Democrats or why “Other” (non-Black, non White) Republicans are 3x as likely to be against interracial marriage than “Other” Democrats.

Only that sort of analysis is going to help you understand why conservatives are 2x more likely to be against interracial marriage compared to liberals.

Only that sort of analysis is going to help you understand how Independents or Moderates who vote for the same party across election cycles affect the numbers.

Only that sort of analysis is going to help you understand how Libertarians, Constitution Party, and America Firsters who vote Republican or Greens who vote Democrat affect the numbers. (And members of “Other” parties predominantly vote… Republican, but then get their averages on issue positions pulled down by being lumped with the far left).

Any credible answer to this question is going to require a lot more work than has been put into the question so far among the bloggeratti.

61 GiT August 27, 2012 at 3:25 am

Here’s another way of restating the question:

Do the vast majority of racists vote *against* the Democratic party line on race issues when electing their representatives?

Or, conversely, do the vast majority of racists vote *for* the Republican party line on race issues when electing their representatives?

I expect the answer to this question is very different from the answer to “Are the majority of racists registered Republicans?”, or, as the question has been treated in the analysis by Tabarrok, Sides, and Hayes, “Are racists significantly more likely to be registered Republican than to be registered Democrat?”.

62 Tarrou August 27, 2012 at 7:28 am

Keep restating the question until you get the answer you want. And by all means, let’s keep treating anti-black bias as the only “racism” that matters. Because you know, asians, Irish, hispanics, arabs, Jews and Germans aren’t ever targets of discrimination, so let’s treat only one race as deserving of victimhood, and only one race as capable of perpetrating it. Seems like there should be a name for that.

63 GiT August 27, 2012 at 8:04 am

Chris Hayes posed the question (do racists almost entirely belong to one party coalition) and Alex Tabarrok provided the metric (indicators for chiefly anti-black racism).

I am simply working with Hayes’s question and Tabarrok’s proxy variable for racism using the dataset Tabarrok presented, which presents evidence for every question I raise. Anti-semitism, anti-asian, and anti-semitic attitudes require different data to analyze.

But yes, let’s shed a tear for all the Irish and German victims of racism in contemporary America.

64 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 9:04 am


We don’t have political coalitions in the USA. It is join one of the two parties or don’t let the door hit you on your way out. It’s another example of why arguments such as this strike nowhere near the root of the matter.

65 GiT August 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

We don’t have party coalitions. That doesn’t mean we don’t have political coalitions.

While the US lacks the multiparty flavor of many countries, it also lacks the party rigidity in member-voting of many countries, because the US party system gives individual politicians a lot of power relative to their parties.

This means that coalitions form across party lines along particular issue spaces.

66 Tarrou August 27, 2012 at 10:03 am

Yes, let’s be glib about the history of racism in this country not aimed at blacks or other approved modern multicultural victim groups. I mean, if an oppressed racial group manages to subvert and defeat the racism that oppresses them without massive federal intervention, that only makes the rest of us look bad, right? And it kind of wrecks the whole argument that affirmative action and similar policies are necessary to achieve “equality” (whatever that means). So let’s just pretend it doesn’t matter, so we don’t have to ask any hard questions about the way we treat race and racism in this country. Yes, let us shed no tears for the Irish, invaded, suppressed, colonized and starved, rioted against, murdered and disenfranchised, because hey, they managed to assimilate and become a success without special racially targeted legislation. Let us instead save our tears for the poor and downtrodden of today (of the correct sort, you know, like the Leader of the Free World), because only by ignoring the history of how other racial groups triumphed over their oppressors can we hope to repeat their successes.

67 GiT August 27, 2012 at 10:21 am

Do you know what “contemporary” means?

Also, you’ll find that Irish and German immigrants had a rather unique feature as far as overcoming racism went. They were white. Visual markers are sort of helpful with the whole discrimination thing.

68 Brian Donohue August 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

I know what ‘contemporary’ means. It means: existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time.

Newton’s discovery of the calculus was contemporary with that of Leibniz.

Nowadays, lots of people use contemporary when they mean ‘modern’. I don’t get it- ‘modern’ seems like a perfectly cromulent word to me.

I almost invariably let it slide – there are only so many hours in the day – but in this case I felt I couldn’t hold my tongue.

Or was it a rhetorical question?

69 GiT August 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Well then you should understand that I was referring to discrimination which occurs *right now*. There is very little of that with respect to Irish and German people. I was not referring to discrimination which occurred in the modern era, in which perhaps the early 20th century in America could count. Maybe there is still anti-Irish racism in the UK. But I’m not talking about the UK.

70 Joe Eagar August 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm

There is discrimination against Irish people today, though. You’re making the common mistake of thinking all white people are WASPs, which simply isn’t true. Regardless, nothing you said proves that blacks are incapable of going the “industrious minority” route.

71 Brian Donohue August 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

Here’s another question: what are the long-term trends in ‘racism’ (still vaguely defined) in this country?

Here’s another question: what are the long-term trends in talking about ‘racism’ (still vaguely defined) in this country?

Here’s a third question: shouldn’t these trends be moving in the same direction?

72 GiT August 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

Only if being post-racism entails being post-race.

But it doesn’t.

73 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

What if there was a law up for vote “give all minorities all the stuff.”

Obviously, the racists would vote against it. And the people who vote for it would be a-holes.

74 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 8:26 am

The other problem with the ‘data’ presented by either side as evidence is that none of it has anything to do with actual racism. It’s more like “I’m liberal, therefore people opposed to my policy preferences are by definition racist because I’m progressive and thus by definition the opposite of racist.”

75 GiT August 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

That’s why you use a proxy for racism that doesn’t really have anything to do with contemporary policy issues.

The “opposition to interracial marriage” item strikes me as particularly good. Is it possible to oppose the legality of miscegenation and not be a racist? Seems unlikely.

76 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I can make up something.

Why polls on what racism actually is?

77 GiT August 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Of course you can. That doesn’t make one’s stance on miscegenation a pretty reliable proxy for racism.

And I don’t follow your second question.

78 paul August 27, 2012 at 8:24 am

Wow! this skin color fetish really has legs…

79 The Anti-Gnostic August 27, 2012 at 11:14 am

Let’s flip the question around: are Democratic policies bad for whites? If they are, or even if whites think they are, then they will vote accordingly.

Most groups are far more honest than Anglo-Europeans about their preferences. Why should Jews vote for Arabs? Kosovars for Serbians? Greeks for Turks? Alawites for Salafists? It is what it is.

Maybe we should shrink government down to just protecting negative rights instead of making transfer payments. But Lindsey Graham (R–SC) would say that’s racist.

80 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Lindsey Graham is my George Costanza.

I have a glass box by my desk with a joint and a strike-anywhere match in it that says “If Lindsey Graham ever says something that makes sense to you BREAK GLASS.”

81 Andrew' August 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm
82 Chris August 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

This new poll might be relevant to the discussion

83 Chris August 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm
84 Joe Eagar August 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm

If welfare was such a racial issue, why do whites in pure-white communities tend to oppose it as much as those in mixed-race ones? I have a lot of welfare recipients in my family, people who really abused the system. They are all white. Is my opposition to traditional welfare racist?

85 JL August 28, 2012 at 9:49 am

It’s funny how the Obama camp uses explicitly racial language to attack Romney all the time, but somehow it is still Romney who is “racializing” the campaign.

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