Preconceived Prejudice


Okay, I got withdrawal symptoms and had to get a blogging fix:

Academics dub tea partyers devout, racist

Two years after it burst onto the political scene, the tea party is getting a critical eye from political science academics who say the movement generally is populated by knowledgeable and religiously devout voters, but they are hypocritical and more likely to be motivated by “racial resentment.”

Gathering this weekend in Seattle for the annual American Political Science Association convention, several professors argued that tea party Republicans are more likely than other voters, and even than most others in the GOP, to harbor racial hostility, as judged by their answers in a broad pre-election survey administered in October 2010.

“Tea Party activists have denied accusations that their movement is racist, and there is nothing intrinsically racist about opposing ‘big government’ or clean energy legislation or health care reform. But it is clear that the movement is more appealing to people who are unsympathetic to blacks and who prefer a harder line on illegal immigration than it is to other Americans,” wrote Gary C. Jacobson, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, in his paper “The President, the Tea Party, and Voting Behavior in 2010.”

In another paper, Alan I. Abramowitz, a professor at Emory University, crunched the numbers from the American National Election Studies’ October 2010 pre-election survey and drew up a portrait of tea party voters that found they are more likely than other Republicans to be registered to vote, to have contacted a public official or to have given to a campaign. They also are generally older, wealthier and more likely to be evangelical.

But like Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Abramowitz also said they were more likely to harbor racial resentment, which he judged based on their answers to questions such as whether blacks could succeed as well as whites if they “would only try harder,” and whether they agreed with the statement that Irish, Italians and Jews overcame prejudice and “blacks should do the same without any special favors.”

Mr. Abramowitz said tea party supporters were substantially more likely than other voters to question how much effort black Americans are making to advance themselves versus being held back by social factors.

“Tea Party supporters displayed high levels of racial resentment and held very negative opinions about President Obama compared with the rest of the public and even other Republicans,” Mr. Abramowitz wrote. “In a multivariate analysis, racial resentment and dislike of Barack Obama, along with conservatism, emerged as the most important factors contributing to support for the Tea Party movement.”


Well, we already knew that Tea Partiers were mostly conservative Republicans, so it’s no surprise that they tend to be fundiegelicals too. According to the latest polls, half the country dislikes Barack Obama.

But how does this equal racial resentment?:

Mr. Abramowitz also said they were more likely to harbor racial resentment, which he judged based on their answers to questions such as whether blacks could succeed as well as whites if they “would only try harder,” and whether they agreed with the statement that Irish, Italians and Jews overcame prejudice and “blacks should do the same without any special favors.”


It’s often been claimed that the Irish, Italians, Jews and other “ethnic whites” had an easier time succeeding because they could blend in with WASPs. But that doesn’t explain the success of Asians and Hindus.

Desegregation started before I was born. Affirmative Action started with John F. Kennedy. In our allegedly racist society black people have risen to the top of sports, entertainment and politics (we even have a black POTUS.)

It’s been almost three decades since the Cosby Show was the highest rated television show in the nation. White kids across the country were wearing Michael Jordan jerseys and “Air Jordans” almost as long. Will Smith is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office and the only one to have eight consecutive films in which he starred open at #1 spot in the domestic box office tally. Then there was Michael Jackson, who dominated the music industry.

Bull Connor died in 1973. Orval Faubus left office in 1967 and died in 1994 (Bill Clinton took his old job in 1983.) George Wallace died in 1998, but in 1979, Wallace said of his stand in the schoolhouse door: “I was wrong. Those days are over and they ought to be over.”

I know it’s politically incorrect to question the Democratic dogma that racism is responsible for all the problems in the black community. But it’s black men that are killing other black men. It’s black men that are impregnating black girls.

Black parents have to take responsibility for ensuring their children get the best education they can. The parents need to make sure their kids go to school and do their homework. Even if their schools are substandard the kids can master basic literacy skills.

My grandmother was born in 1903 in Kansas and lived in a one-room farm house with a dirt floor. She graduated from high school and so did all of her children. I was the third one of her grandkids to attend college.

No, I never had to face racial discrimination, but nobody ever gave me anything either.

I’ll see you tomorrow.


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62 Responses to Preconceived Prejudice

  1. HELENK says:

    when I was working, my general manager of a commuter railroad was a black man. He was one of 11 kids raised in Mississippi before civil rights was passed. He was taught to work hard and be all he could be. Was it easy, no
    He expected the best from those who worked for him and did not tolerate BS and dumb excuses.
    So it does go to how you are raised and what you are taught, no matter what race you are. What do you expect from yourself?

  2. lorac says:

    That article is saying that people opposed to illegal immigration are racist. I’m so tired of them equating illegal immigration with lawful immigration. But, I’m sure they know the difference, they’re doing it intentionally. I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing the race card more than we did in 2008. This time they’re really desparate.

    Whew. Imagine how bad it would be if they hadn’t selected a post racial candidate….

    And speaking of our most divisive president, the fact that even he is not called out on his divisiveness, is even more proof that it’s only women who are proclaimed divisive!

  3. 1539days says:

    I especially enjoyed the assumption that being against “illegal immigration” makes you racist. It is perfectly fair to object to an activity which violates this country’s ability to deal with its residents.

  4. Mimi says:

    From Toby Harnden of the UK Telegraph

    “Under this pressure, the White House adviser alleged, Boehner changed his mind. “This was a political thing, a Tea Party thing, a Rush Limbaugh thing.”

    It fits with the campaign strategy Obama appears to have decided on – portray Republican leaders as prisoners of the racist, Right-wing nutters from the Tea Party. They’re to blame, the argument goes, for the gridlock in Washington because of their intransigence in the face of nice, reasonable Obama.

    The problem is that every smear and insult possible was thrown at the Tea Party in last year’s mid-term elections but the grassroots movement still drove an historic Republican victory. It is also an obvious attempt to change the subject, moving discussion away from the economy by fixating on alleged racism or religious fundamentalism on the Right.”

    This fairly well written and reasoned piece by Harnden is getting to the heart of the matter. They got nothin’. Nothing to run on, no policies in the pipeline, no big ideas, no accomplishments, no public support so they have to have a boogie man to blame everything on, change the subject, and ramp up fear, anxiety and outrage. The problem is that it is coming back at them because they are their own boogie men. The problem with screaming it us or the evil them over and over is that eventually someone will say “I choose neither”.

    • Dario says:

      The raycist attack is for the black community. It’s what turned Obama’s campaign after the NH loss, but this time the attack will not energize the blacks to go out and vote.

  5. Dario says:

    I don’t believe that it’s prejudice that stops many of the blacks from success. I see it more as a culture issue. We often accept that there’s such a thing as “black culture”, but we don’t really delve with honesty what its strengths and shortcomings are. A good place to start is by questioning why is black culture separate and identifiable from the rest after four centuries.

    • Mimi says:

      And some of the things that are celebrated in black culture are in fact dominant in the south in all groups regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, or socioeconomic strata. As a southerner I have much more in common with southern blacks than with northern whites and this was understood and embraced until the demonization of 2008. I admit that it still hurts to think about it.

      • Dario says:

        And some of the things that are celebrated in black culture are in fact dominant in the south in all groups regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, or socioeconomic strata.

        You don’t give examples, but I imagine music would be one of those strengths. But there are values that are distinct to the black culture that are weaknesses, for example lack of savings, the building of capital. Our system is capitalist and if one is to advance, one must build capital, net worth. Most groups that have come to this country come for that reason. Why is that aspect so weak in the black culture? It’s an important question that many don’t want to delve into.

    • insanelysane says:

      A lot of it isn’t. Our foods revolve around what Immigrants including Africans brought with them to America and has melded easily into our American culture. We humans all feel the percussive rhythms and feel instantly close. We all have that roaming urge and ” get ” the Savannah grasslands community that all our ancestors walked….it’s just we all want to be unique,too.

      We just focus on divisions instead of commonalities. It’s more fun.

  6. imustprotest says:

    Their operational definition of racism is flawed:

    “Tea Party supporters displayed high levels of racial resentment and held very negative opinions about President Obama compared with the rest of the public and even other Republicans,” Mr. Abramowitz wrote. “In a multivariate analysis, racial resentment and dislike of Barack Obama, along with conservatism, emerged as the most important factors contributing to support for the Tea Party movement

    If Tea Party members were more likely to vote, to have donated to a campaign and contacted a politician, they’re most likely more tuned in to politics and current events. Isn’t it possible that they have a stronger dislike for Obama because they are….you know….paying attention to what a screw up he is!!!?!!

    • 1539days says:

      Not if your operational definition of “high-information voter” is Obama-voting robot.

      • imustprotest says:

        True, but I would venture to guess that those “high information” Obots probably haven’t tuned in to politics before this SElection. Probably because before ’08 they were too young to vote.

    • Valhalla says:

      I thought that point was really interesting, about the high level of voting participation and the political process. THAT could have been the headline — as what the distinguishing factors are — instead of “they’re RAYCISTS! !11!eleventy111!!”

      And I find the way the question is worded, ” Irish, Italians and Jews overcame prejudice and “blacks should do the same without any special favors.”” is fairly crap, too. It’s the “special favors” bit that’s crap.

      I’m not a big fan of the line of reasoning that goes “well this other group bootstrapped themselve so why can’t you????” because it ignores many complex factors. But that question assumes a level playing field among all 4 groups, and then asks the survey taker to agree with one group being granted “special favors” or be labeled raycist. If you took out the names of the groups — and just said something like, 3 groups pulled themselves up by themselves but there’s a 4th who didn’t — should the 4th get “special favors”?, well, who WOULDN’T disagree? Even the choice of questions belies what the surveyors hoped to find.

  7. lorac says:

    Mimi, perhaps you have some positive similarities, but when they’re talking about black culture and lack of success, I think they’re talking about the very high percentage of blacks who don’t finish high school, the higher percentage of youth and unwed pregnancies, the higher rate of incarceration, the higher rate of black on black violence, the self-defeating belief in many that studying and working hard is “trying to be white”. Only black people in their own families can fix those problems, IMO.

      • Bill is clearly a racist.

        • lorac says:

          Isn’t it amazing? People who encourage blacks to do the right thing so they can get ahead are racists, and those who aren’t racist are the ones encouraging them to keep the victim attitude, stay on the government dole, and not work to better themselves and their situations….

          How did it get so backwards?

      • 1539days says:

        Not only could a white person not have said that,I’m not sure if a non-comedian could have, either. People were laughing at some of those examples, but I think Cosby was dead serious about the whole thing.

      • Dario says:


        Willie Brown,
        another racist, I guess, once said that many in the black community wear their ignorance like a badge. Willie was hated by the California Republicans, but he made deals with the G.O.P. when he needed to and he never stopped pursuing liberal policies. If it wasn’t for the term limits, he’d still be speaker in Sacramento.

        I read his column every time. He’s take on politics is even handed, even if he’s a Democrat through and through.

    • Dario says:

      the self-defeating belief in many that studying and working hard is “trying to be white”.

      That’s one value that’s almost unique to the black culture. There’s a program that allows a poor student to attend a prep school. They get all the opportunities and support to advance, from counseling, to tutoring. One kid exemplified that weakness. He was failing, not because he couldn’t do the work, but because he would lose his friends if he were to advance. Being part of the group is very human, and losing that sense of belonging is huge.

  8. SYD says:

    Nobody is buying this cock and bull story anymore. They need to think of some other slur to use against folks who don’t see things they way they do.

    • Dario says:

      The blacks will believe it, and it’s why the race card is used.

      • imustprotest says:

        I was shocked when they believed that the Clintons were racist. I don’t know why they had to call them racists, it really was a low-low point in the campaign.

        • Dario says:

          I don’t know why they had to call them racists

          After IA, Obama was ready to win NH, but Hillary beat him in NH. Obama needed to win SC. He needed a strong black vote. If the black vote was divided between Obama and Hillary, Obama would lose and put his campaign away, like it happened to Edwards. Something needed to be done to take away almost 100 % of the black vote, to energize it. Unlike Jackson, Obama was an unknown quantity to the black community. It worked. I don’t believe the race card was used to make the whites feel guilty, but that happened to be a bonus. To this day I read in comments how Hillary used race baiting.

      • Valhalla says:

        It’s also because it’s all they’ve got. Obama can’t inspire the troops with his awesome record of progressive change or positive accomplishments, because it doesn’t exist.

        Because, really, just doing the math, AA support for Obama was so high in 2008, he can’t possibly hope to outdo himself with AAs to the extent it would make up for all the support he’s lost everywhere else. (again, I feel compelled to remind everyone of Obama’s historic flip of the gender gap to the Rs during mid-terms. Way to go, President Historical!).

        Obama’s job is to block out any candidates on the D side who would make real changes, or slow down the growth of “crony capitalism” among the elites on either side, for 2012. He fulfills that job whether he wins or not.

  9. ralphb says:

    Matt Stoller wants to push Obama off the ticket. Kind of hitting the Dem mainstream now.

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/09/04/favoritesonsanddaughters

    • Dario says:

      Pelosi, Reid, 2×4 Schumer, et al would have to be on board, and I don’t see that happening. Obama is their creation.

    • jjmtacoma says:

      Yet another “who could have known” moment?

      I was trying to figure out if Stoller was part of the journolist brigade that brought us this mess.

    • 1539days says:

      I enjoyed this part.

      Obama has ruined the Democratic Party. The 2010 wipeout was an electoral catastrophe so bad you’d have to go back to 1894 to find comparable losses. From 2008 to 2010, according to Gallup, the fastest growing demographic party label was former Democrat.

  10. ralphb says:

    This race baiting thing is just stupid. Incompetence comes in all colors.

    These asshats seriously need to be ignored and shunned.

  11. ralphb says:

    Governor Sarah Palin is running!

    Above is a picture of Governor Sarah Palin this morning … in Iowa with a crowd.

    She is running and the pic was taken in Storm Lake, Iowa in a 1/2 marathon.

    By the way, I understand she had a very good running time…I am trying to get that for you.

    UPDATE – her time 1:45

  12. A Jezebel blogger was tweeting this week that first and second generation black immigrants from the West Indies and Africa are 14% of the US black population and 41% of black students at Ivy League schools, citing this and other studies. Which reminded me of the last time I talked to my doctor (from the West Indies), she was telling me about growing up with strong education values in her family. Anyway all of us are individuals and none of us are from monolithic groups. That’s the trouble with race-baiting, the baiters are usually generalizing about all white people in the south or in the flyover states, or about all black people. It’s where the stupid starts.

    • Dario says:

      In a discussion we had before about the same issue, I explained that the problems we see with blacks (American blacks, not new immigrants) is part of the legacy from slavery. I went through all the reasons why black men are not as responsible for their seed as one would expect. It’s very human to care for children and family, but that value is not as strong in the black community. I also explained why those who came from slavery had difficulty changing their habits of living from day to day living, that is, spending all their money and feeling rich for a day. Not being born in this country, and studying antebellum South, gave me a unique understanding of the dynamics between blacks and whites, and the black culture. I’m not out to defend anything.

      • We should continue to have forward looking dialogue in this country about race and race relations in our politics and school and work. Not sure BO and the Obots have advanced that or made it more difficult, but race baiting for BO’s campaigns have not helped.

        • Dario says:

          Race baiting has not helped in that it has made us more divided, but it accomplished in 2008 what Obama wanted, a strong and energized black vote. Their thinking is that if it worked once, it may work again in 2012.

      • lorac says:

        Dario, that’s what I had always heard as well, until I read some articles which showed that blacks actually were usually in two parent households again until the sixties. So, I can no longer buy that this is a legacy from slavery. Personally, I hate the term “baby mama” – it originated in the black community, and really all it means is that two people had a baby with no seeming plan to be in a relationship to parent the child. It’s all over popular culture – and there’s nothing derogative about it – which means it’s likely to continue – which means poverty will continue in those black families….

        • 1539days says:

          Worse, it’s a way to divorce the man from his family. That “baby mama” has no special meaning as a person, she’s just a woman who got pregnant and had his kid. Then there’s the baby daddy who is usually a marginal source of child support. It’s crossed over to all racial groups and a number of celebrities.

  13. jjmtacoma says:

    My dad has always said that poor people have no more idea how to become middle class than we have any idea how to be rich. He would say, “Don’t you think we’d be rich if we had any idea how to do that? Yeah, well poor people would love to be middle class and they just don’t know how.”

    My parents started out poor when they got married and I did my time poor when I was a young adult but I lived super lean and saved money until I could afford a house (then I was REALLY broke!).

    That was what “we” did, start out poor but work and save and angle for promotions and raises until “we” weren’t poor anymore.

    • Dario says:

      That’s true, but most of us understand the basics of our system and what we need to do to get ahead. Most of us at least try. I’m not sure that’s part of the black culture. I live in a diverse neighborhood, and from what I can see, their lifestyle is making it one day at a time.

      • jjmtacoma says:

        What I mean to say is that I expected to work my way “up”.

        Making it one day at a time won’t ever change where you are. I knew this as a kid because it was drilled into me. Education plus hard work more hard work and then add a little hard work and you will get what you earn. Saving what you earn will get you a good life.

        I had friends who skipped going to college because they didn’t like school and could make more money working full time than I was making working part time selling trumpets to the parents of 5th graders.

        They teased me all the time. I lived with mom and they shared apartments or houses with friends. A few years later, I owned a house, car and went on vacation (cheap ones) and they lived in apartments or with parents and were still doing the same jobs and were paid pretty much the same with just small raises over the years. They talked about doing better but they didn’t do the little plodding things to move ahead a baby step at a time and they had NO idea how to do that for years. Several of my friends would have qualified for a TON of financial aid to go to college.

        I’m not convinced that the “black culture” isn’t just these sorts of things playing out – but I don’t really know. All the black people I know are successful.

        • 1539days says:

          I read this book a couple of years ago called “Scratch Beginnings.” A white kid who graduated college wrote a book about being dropped off at a bus stop with a few bucks and making his way from a shelter to a steady job, an apartment and a car in less than a year. I think there’s something to the idea of learning the skills (saving money being a biggie) to advance in your economic class.

        • Dario says:

          I’m not convinced that the “black culture” isn’t just these sorts of things playing out – but I don’t really know. All the black people I know are successful.

          I think you are right that your friends displayed similar values that play out in the black culture, but the difference is that it’s more prevalent in the black culture. There are successful black people that work and sacrifice for a better tomorrow too. The question is what’s the most prevalent value. As I told my hippie friend: While I studied and worked, you were having fun doing drugs and partying. It’s a tradeoff. Which is better, I don’t know. What we should not do is feel that we owe those who don’t want to sacrifice, but we also need to understand that group/family culture plays a big part as to why people remain in poverty.

        • Pips says:

          What you describe jjm, is exactly what I’ve always perceived, and admired, as the epitome of fulfilling “The American Dream”. A determination, a willingness to work towards, even make sacrifices if needed, to do better for yourself.

          Good on you “kid”. (I’m repeatedly surprised that the sweet young girl in your avatar is in fact an accomplished woman, lol). 🙂

  14. ralphb says:

    This is the best evah!!

  15. yttik says:

    I think we’re doing some real harm with all this focus on racism. Kids internalize those messages. When you’ve got all these people trying to claim that the opposition to Obama is just because he’s black, kids hear that and think, what chance have I got? This guy is the leader of the free world. That’s an incredibly demoralizing message to hear day after day. The real truth is that most people are opposed to Obama’s policies, his lack of leadership, and his character.

    • Dario says:

      What parents and family members say and their behavior towards other races is what will form the prejudice in children. A child who hears the parents denigrate a group, Jewish, blacks Latinos, etc., will form a distorted view of that group. That’s why segregation is so harmful. People with wrong views never have the opportunity to destroy their prejudice. Growing up in a homogeneous culture was lucky for me. I never heard anything negative about another group.

  16. myiq2xu says:

    I just realized what a horrible sexist pig I am. When offering examples of the cross-racial success of black Americans I left out the Queen of Day Time – Oprah Winfrey.

    She knocked off Phil Donahue on the way to becoming the nation’s second black billionaire. (BET’s Bob Johnson was #1)

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