Interesting post by Dave Winer (who basically invented all this blogging, RSS software we’re using these days) about “northeast-style” racism. I think he’s spot on with this bit:
I grew up in the northeast, not far from where Geraldine Ferraro lives, and I recognize the racism of the northeast, where people nod knowingly that blacks who are competing with whites have been given some kind of advantage that makes it possible for an inferior person to compete with a superior one.
It’s easy to trigger this kind of logic in a northeastern white supremicist, just say that a black guy wouldn’t be there if he weren’t black.
You can say “It’s True,” in a tone that says that disagreement is naive. “Of course,” you are supposed to say.
I’ve seen Jews and Catholics do this, two types of people who have themselves been victimized by stereotypes.
I grew up with Southern-style racism, which is the most popular and recognizable kind of racism in the U.S. (Indeed, some could make the argument that it’s been fetishized through cultural products such as this, but that’s a subject for another post.) So, I appreciate it when someone who grew up with the Northern version of racism names it in the way that Winer does here. He goes on to repudiate that sort of racism as “lunacy” and references the Ferraro comments.
Winer concludes his otherwise insightful post with an unfortunate, and unfounded, prediction:
Someday America will grow out of this lunacy, and will stop judging people based on their race. That Obama is a very serious candidate for President says a lot about him, but it says even more about us, that the racism of Ferraro and the northeasterners who reason as she does, is falling into the background.
This just sounds like more of the Tony-Snow-type rhetoric about racism not being that big a deal anymore. It’s wishful thinking though, not supported by sociological research. We have to do more than simply wish it away.