A Conservative New York Times Gets It Wrong: There is No End to Black Politics


At the “black and progressives website for Obama,” Amiri Baraka provides a good critique both of the whitewashed New York Times cover story, “Is Obama The End of Black Politics?” and also of the “people with the signs in St. Petersburg” who said to Obama “You’re undermining the (Black) Revolution.”

In his analysis Baraka points out that

Black politics will only disappear when the Black majority disappears. And even the wish fulfillment of New York Times “liberals” can never achieve this, nor the creepy self hatred of those incognegroes the Times wants to anoint as post black negroes. Still the question of Obama’s candidacy is a quite different consideration. As I have said , in print and in the flesh at many forums, no matter what is said by whoever thinks to deny this, or even what Obama says himself, the foundation of Obama’s successful candidacy is the 90% support by the Afro-American people. A fact that I’m sure he understands. Obama also understands that it is the rest of the American people he must reach out to, no matter how attempts he makes to do this are questioned, even by Black people.

This is a point the mainstream media constantly miss. If it were not for the long African American struggle for liberation from racism, indeed every phase of that nearly four centuries struggle, this country would not be nearly the democracy that it so far is. African Americans are the major carries of the deep liberty and justice frame and tradition, which has been mostly rhetoric for the white majority historically. He then critiques the “militants” who recently protested Obama. Black or white, he says, the do not

understand that the logic and strength of Obama’s candidacy is the 21st century manifestation of the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movements, impossible without it. Jesse Jackson’s two impressive candidacy’s were also part of that motion, not to accept both these phenomena as positive aspects and results of our collective struggle is to lack “True Self Consciousness”.

Then he asks the million dollar question about what the next major step in this long history of progressive struggle should be and lists an excellent set of planks for a “more progressive Obama campaign.” And at the same website, Maulana Karenga adds some important points about the white racism in the New York Times shoddy analysis:

But in spite of the catchy title and the lineup of rising Black political stars, the end point is always the same—definition of a deficient, divided and self-destructive community. It is an old racialist ploy of singling out and praising the few in order to better condemn the many. And the praise is never for self-determination, but rather for self-denial and self-concealment of one’s Blackness.

He adds this sharp piece about the Times arguing that the Obama campaign means we are in a post racial era where the older black politicians are increasingly irrelevant:

This racialized and irrational “reasoning” is directed towards several ends. First, it is to indict and dismiss the older generation of leaders and at the same time the legitimacy and relevance of their social justice claims, their rootedness in community, and their recognition of the centrality of multiform struggle around issues of wealth, power and status. In this regard, they are criticized both for their being /too race conscious for their people /and /not race conscious enough for a selected person/. Needless to say, no such discussion is carried on about being post-White, post-Jewish, post-Gentile or even about other ethnics of color.

Secondly, the article seeks to redefine normal generational differences into divisive ones, to provide a language of antagonism and rupture instead of one of necessary continuity and regular generational change as in every group.

In other words, the Obama campaign, win or lose, stands, not against those who led and engaged in previous black political and civil rights efforts, but on their shoulders. Obama stands on the shoulders of the many black men and women (and some white allies) who sacrificed to get all of us this far toward democracy. This is still the early stages of racial politics, indeed. No “post racial era” is anywhere in sight.

Race and Medicine

We seem to be pursuing a theme here today, albeit an unintentional one, with race and medicine. In the medical field, there’s something that’s referred to as “personalized medicine.” This is the idea that doctors will (some day) be able to individually tailor medical care to the patient’s needs based on an individual-level analysis of the individual’s genome. Now, some are suggesting that this “personalized medicine” should replace racial classification. Sharon Begley writing in “LabNotes” for Newsweek, says:

…a new paper published online this week by the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, .. concludes that classifying people by the crude category of race—as in, of African, Asian or European ancestry—for medical purposes, as some people want to do, is really, really stupid.

The article Begley refers to, “Individual Genomes Instead of Race for Personalized Medicine,” reports on the results of the sequencing of the genes of two white guys – Craig Venter and James Watson (yes, the same Watson) – to see how they metabolize six different drugs. The results were revealing.

What they found is that these two men, ostensibly of the “same race,” in fact have very different genetic make-ups when it comes to how their bodies process certain drugs. What these geneticists conclude is consistent with what social scientists have been saying for some time: “race” is social category, not a meaningful biological category. In the words of the authors of the study:

…race/ethnicity should be considered only a makeshift solution for personalized genomics because it is too approximate; known differences may occur within a defined category. …The label “African” or “African-American” is therefore insufficient to determine whether an individual comes from a population with a high frequency of the *17 allele. Even if an individual is known to be, for example, Ethiopian rather than Zimbabwean, the ancestry is less relevant than the true genotype, which could be easily resolved with today’s technology. Even the term “Caucasian” can be deceptive. If a self-identified Caucasian originates from a founder population in which certain disease-specific alleles occur at higher frequencies (e.g., Quebec French Canadians or Ashkenazi Jews), his or her doctor may miss an important aspect of the patient’s medical history. One’s ethnicity/race is, at best, a probabilistic guess at one’s true genetic makeup.

I have to say, I feel quite vindicated, given the little dust-up back in November 2007 (see the comments) with guys who wanted to argue that the “reality of race is genetic.” Still, it’s deeply ironic that this news should come from Venter and Watson, not known for their forward thinking on race (see my earlier posts about both of them here and here). But hey, I’ll take it.

AMA Apologizes for Institutionalized Racism: Another Look

In mid-July Jessie did a post on the AMA apology, but I would like to add a bit more on this issue, especially about how racism works in US medicine. One good result from anti-racism efforts in the last decade may be that we are getting more serious apologies from white organizations about slavery or Jim Crow segregation. Harriet Washington reports in a late July 2008 New York Times article on one of the most institutionally racist sectors of our society, U.S. medical care institutions. Highly (photo of AMA building: Steve and Sara) and blatantly segregated until the late 1960s, she notes, the American Medical Association has recently apologized the National Medical Association, the country’s leading black medical association:

An apology to the nation’s black physicians, citing a century of ”past wrongs.”

From the beginning, U.S. medicine’s institutions have been racially and gender segregated, but Jim Crow and gender segregation increased in the early 1900s with the implementation of private and government “reforms” designed to get rid medical practitioners who were not officially licensed—which usually meant they were not from the more elite (almost all white) medical schools and often practiced various kinds of folk medicine (including midwives). These reforms did raise U.S. medical standards, at least for allopathic mainstream medicine, yet also effectively excluded many white women and practitioners of color from their traditional medical practices. And Jim Crow segregation became very central to this newly reformed medical system:

. . . black patients and doctors were often relegated to subterranean ”colored” or charity wards or banned from hospitals altogether; they had responded with their own hospitals and medical schools, at least seven of which existed in 1909. By 1938, the situation had grown so dire that Dr. Louis T. Wright of Harlem Hospital declared, ”The A.M.A. has demonstrated as much interest in the health of the Negro as Hitler has in the health of the Jew.”

Washington notes that the American Medical Association continued to be a problem until the end of the civil rights movement era:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed without active support from the A.M.A. Title VI of the act closed the Hill-Burton loophole: segregation within hospitals became illegal….But for African-American and other antisegregationist physicians, there remained a final bastion of racial exclusion to conquer: the A.M.A.

Demands by African American physicians and some white allies that the association desegregate were ignored by its leadership until the late 1960s. From 1963 to 1968 the association had to endure public protests against its racist practices. In 1968 the association finally took action to end legal segregation in its constituent state societies.

Still, today, the percentage of U.S. physicians who are African American (2.2 percent) is still smaller than it was in 1910 (2.5 percent). And our medical care system is riddled with numerous kinds of institutional racism, as recent research reports (see various chapters here and chapter 7 here) frequently make clear. There are some very good scholarly bloggers like U. Dayton’s Prof. Vernellia Randall (see her great website here) who have given even more details on how such institutionalized racism works and how it is a violation of international human rights and anti-discrimination laws.

Note: I have given more than 100 invited lectures over the years on my research on racism at many schools and colleges within our top universities and liberal arts colleges across the country, and I have only had one invited lecture cancelled–ever. This was after two faculty members saw at the xerox machine the handout (it had quotes from whites making various racist comments, from my research interviews) that I was going to talk about. This was a Florida medical school, which had invited me and other researchers to talk about racial matters because they had had racist graffitti in their medical school classrooms. They reportedly still have problems today.

More Olympic Racism

As the Olympics continue in Beijing, I wanted to follow up on Terence’s excellent post about Blacks being banned from certain venues around the games, to make note of a couple of examples of both racism and the sort of white-framing that characterizes the majority of mainstream writing about race. First, I’m not the first to remark on the rather astonishing racism displayed by Spain’s basketball team (pictured here, photo from ABC). The Spanish national basketball team posed for a photo in uniform pulling back the skin on their eyelids, with smiles on their faces. As C.N. at The Color Line explains:

As any Asian American will tell you, this “chink eye” gesture is deeply hurtful and offensive to us. Many of us have experienced the pain and humiliation associated with this racist gesture throughout our entire lives, whether it’s in the playground of our elementary school, or as we walk down the street even as adults. For Asian Americans, it is the visual equivalent of being called a “nigger.”

C.N. goes on to note that the “racial insensitvity” meme used by most writers in the mainstream media to explain the Spanish team’s actions is obfuscate the underlying white privilege in such a gesture:

Of course, many Whites will respond by basically saying that even if the Spanish basketball team meant it as a joke, Asians should just shrug it off, that it was harmless and that we Asians should just lighten up and not take things so seriously.

The problem with that argument is that it ignores the larger historical and cultural context. What we need to recognize is that there are fundamental institutional power differences inherent in situations in which Whites denigrate minorities.

Each time an incident like that happens, it reinforces the notion of White supremacy — that Whites can say and do whatever they want toward anybody at any time without facing any negative repercussions.

Indeed, this sort of racial obliviousness is part of the underlying problem that Joe has written about here (and elsewhere) so persuasively, and it’s a key element in the white racial frame. Take for example, this reporting on Olympic gold medalist and African American Cullen Jones, this time from the New York Daily News (tip of the hat to Mordy for sending this along). This is the lede on the story about Jones’ achievement:

Bronx-born swimmer Cullen Jones didn’t just help power the U.S. relay swim team to Olympic gold – he just may have shattered the stereotype that blacks can’t swim.

This opening paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the article, which is entirely framed around this moronic stereotype. The article also notes that Jones’ started swimming after he nearly drowned as a child and the fact that his mother took him to his first swimming lessons, and as he progressed in skill-level, drove him to lessons at 5 a.m. in the morning. So, the article could have started out with the dramatic near-drowning story, or with highlighting the dedication and sacrifice of parents of Olympic athletes. Instead, the reporters in this instance chose to start within a white racial frame by reiterating the stereotype that “blacks can’t swim.” No matter how solid the reporting and writing is in the rest of the article, that’s the part that most readers are going to take away from the piece.

While the ideals of the Olympic games are “tolerance, equality, fair play and, most of all, peace,” the incidents described here and elsewhere suggest that the hosts, participants, and observers have fallen far short of these ideals.

Republican Party: Howard Dean Says, the “White Party”

ABC News’ Ron Claiborne reports a likely slip of the tongue on National Public Radio last week by the Democratic National Committee chair, Howard Dean, who said: (photo: Stroup)

“If you look at folks of color, even women, they’re more successful in the Democratic party than they are in the white, uh, excuse me, in, uh, Republican party.”

The McCain folks of course pounced on this, and called it “insulting,” while a DNC spokesperson just said that Dean “misspoke and corrected himself immediately.”

Claiborne, however, accents how important this issue really is. It is literally, the Elephant in the Room. This issue is

rarely discussed in public and almost never by politicians: the marked racial division by party in American politics. Members of the country’s largest minority groups — blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans — are predominantly Democratic.

He is right, but of course there is a lot more to it than that: The Republican Party has been the white party since African Americans left it in large numbers for the New Deal Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s. It was then no longer the “party of Lincoln” civil rights issues, and economic issues were hitting African Americans very hard.

Last December I made these additional points about the Republican Party being, in effect, the “white party” of the United States (for research see here):

With the presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater in 1964, the Republican Party intentionally abandoned black voters for a strategy openly targeting what are seen as the primary interests of a majority of white voters. This explicitly pro white political strategy has put emphasis on the interests of whites in suburbia and the southern states. Codewords such as “quotas,” “states’ rights,” “busing,” and “crime in the streets” have been substituted for the more explicitly racist terms of the days of legal segregation. The southern strategy was effectively used by Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972 to win the first two Republican elections with that racialized strategy.

The neo-segregationist strategy targeting southern and suburban whites was also used effectively in the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush campaigns of the 1980s and early 1990s. Reagan began his presidential campaign asserting strongly a states’ rights doctrine, and he intentionally picked Philadelphia, Mississippi–where civil rights workers had been lynched in the 1960s—to make this symbolic appeal to southern white voters. Reagan and his associates sought to dismantle further federal civil rights enforcement efforts, including weakening the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and attacking affirmative action programs, to please white constituents.

When George H. W. Bush undertook a run for president, he ran a racist campaign. In 1988 Bush and his advisors conducted an infamous advertising campaign that used visual images of a disheveled black rapist, from his opponent’s home state, to intentionally scare and recruit white voters to the Republican Party. Most recently, after losing elections in the 1990s to moderate Democrat William Clinton, the Republican Party succeeded in electing George W. Bush. Bush gained the presidency in two consecutive elections, 2000 and 2004. In both, the Republican Party focused heavily on securing white voters in the South and suburbs, and some Republican officials sought to restrict black voting in key states.

At one time centered in the states of the East and upper Midwest, today the Republican Party is, as a result of its recent political remaking, now centered in the South, parts of the Midwest, and the Rocky Mountain states. In recent political campaigns, the Republican Party has continued to be the “white party,” the one aggressively representing white interests, albeit often in disguised language. Thus, in elections between 1992 and 2004 the Republican Party got a remarkably small percentage (8-12 percent) of black voters, and a minority of most other voters of color as well.

Not only has there been only a handful of black delegates at recent Republican party conventions, but the Republican National Committee has had few black members. Service at the highest decision-making levels of the Republican Party has in the last few decades been almost exclusively white. Thus, in late 2004 there was only one African American from the fifty U.S. states (plus a black member from U.S. Virgin Islands) among the 165 members of the Republican National Committee. This compared to the 97 black members on the Democratic National Committee, more than one fifth of the total membership about the same time. This pattern still pretty much holds today. Today, all black members of the U.S. Congress, and something like 98 percent of the 9,000 black officeholders at all government levels across the United States are members of the Democratic Party.

This highly segregated pattern of political party interests and participation has characterized U.S. politics now since the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In the southern and border states, the Rocky Mountain states, and numerous states of the lower Midwest, white voters now tend to vote overwhelmingly for the Republican Party in presidential elections, and for that reason some people now explicitly refer to the Party as “white party.” The Republican party has brought about its political resurgence since the major losses in presidential elections of the early and mid-1960s by explicitly using a politics of “race” that works mainly because of the racist legacies of slavery and legal segregation have persisted aggressively into contemporary U.S. society. It continues to do this today, and will even more in coming months.

How can we claim to have a democratic country and have a democratic media when these strong data on the racial differences in the two major parties are almost never seriously discussed? It seems to me, that this is the real issue in this election: democracy.

Playing the Caucasian Card

In her “The Last Word” column at Newsweek this week Anna Quindlen gave us a new and useful concept to describe what many whites do—the “Caucasian card” (H/T Jose Cobas). When African Americans object to racist framing, antiblack commentary, or antiblack practices, whites accuse them of “playing the race card.” This is a white-framed, whitewashed phrase designed to deflect objections to everyday racism. It was doubtless invented by whites for that purpose. (Can anyone tell me its first use?) (photo: kevinthoule)

Quindlen cites the way that African Americans carry a heavy load of racial hostility and discrimination on their shoulders:

When one of the white guys blows an account, the office line is that he’s a loser. But when a black guy does it, it means that they—that’s the all-purpose “they,” sometimes used interchangeably with “those people”—don’t seem to be able to close the deal.

This burden of everyday racism makes a black person’s life quite different from that of a white person. Somehow most whites assume their lives are the same. They assert that blacks have equal opportunities compared to whites–in education, employment, housing or health care.

She later notes that Senator McCain justifiably likes to cite his long trials in a Viet Cong prison with it torture of a physical and psychological kind for five years. That, he and his supporters plausibly assert, “builds character.” But they forget or intentionally ignore the huge burden of contending with white hostility and discrimination that black men and women face (as well as other Americans of color). They face it for lifetimes, for far more than five years. This heavy burden often involves physical and psychological torture of its own kind. This should be fully recognized by the white media and voters, but is not.

Quindlen then comments on the McCain campaign’s reaction to Senator Obama’s recent and reasonable commentary on being viewed by many (whites) as not looking like other presidents on U.S. money and as being portrayed by McCain supporters and others as somehow foreign and “other.”

The man is black. His candidacy is indivisible from that fact, given the history and pathology of this country.… The suggestion of [his doing] something untoward was pandering to stereotypes and fear. Senator McCain was playing the Caucasian card.

She nails it this time. Whites invented the racist system of this country and have maintained that system, with great white privileges, since the 1600s. They have “played the white card” in every era. They played it in the abolitionist era of the 1850s-1860s, and they played it in the civil rights era of the 1950s-1960s. With no sense of irony, privileged whites (coming from what one blogger bobbosphere calls the “deal”) still play that white card today when they regularly accuse African Americans who critique the racist system and try to bring it down as “playing the race card” and being unfair to our “really democratic” system.

How Does Senator Obama Deal with Overt and Covert Racist Attacks?

In a recent article, “The Color-Coded Campaign,” John Heilemann seems to be one of the very first journalists in the mainstream media to take a serious and detailed look at Senator Obama’s problems with overt and covert racist thinking and framing by white voters. He begins with a customary question as to why Obama is not way ahead of Senator McCain, and indeed below 50 percent of the voters in all national polls. After discussing the usual reasons given for his modest (or in some polls no) lead over Senator McCain, such as contentions he is too “effete,” “aloof,” “liberal,” or quick to change positions, he then moves to the more likely reason:

Where he’s lagging is among white voters, and with older ones in particular…. Obama’s lead is being inhibited by the fact that he is, you know, black? “Of course it is,” says another prominent Republican operative. “It’s the thing that nobody wants to talk about, but it’s obviously a huge factor.”

He points to the coming troubles as the Republican attack machine cranks up:

And now he faces a Republican machine intent on blackening him further still. Add to that his exotic background (Kenyan father, Indonesian upbringing), his middle name, his urbanity and intellectualism, and the scale of the challenge ahead for him comes into sharp relief.

Most observers are very or fairly optimistic about his chances because of his campaign’s great efforts to get out the vote so far. But this effort, Heilemann argues, has some obvious limits. One veteran pollster

calculates that even if black turnout rises by 25 percent from 2004 (and Obama wins 92 percent), if Hispanic turnout holds steady (and Obama wins 60 percent of it, seven points better than John Kerry did), and the under-50 vote rises by 5 percent (and Obama wins half of young white voters), the Democrat would still need to win 40 percent of the [white voters], one point less than Kerry garnered and two points less than Al Gore did in 2000…. “To get there, he’s got to win roughly the same proportion of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents that all other Democrats get. . . . He can’t win it just by changing the electorate.”

Yet numerous exit polls in the Democratic primaries showed that 9-11 percent of Democrats who voted for Clinton admitted to strangers (pollsters) that “race” was important in their choice. Heilemann then quotes the savvy and pro-Democratic poll analyst John Judis who believes that in the general election that figure in November could be 15-20 percent of Democratic and leaning to Democratic independent white voters. Heilemann then raises the million dollar question that few have analyzed in detail in the media:

Polling on African-American candidates has often been unreliable in the past, overstating support for them, coughing up large blocs of alleged undecideds who actually have no intention of voting for a black contender but are too embarrassed to say so…. “[Surveys] in this race…ask the ballot question ‘Who are you voting for?’ and then ask the ‘Who are your neighbors voting for?’ question,” says a GOP operative, referring to a common pollsters’ tactic of seeing through obfuscation revolving around race. “And between the first and second question, you see a five-to-ten-point shift in the answers. . . . And in primaries too numerous to list, exit polls overpredicted Obama’s performance….

Heilemann then suggests that the Republicans are trying to highlight Senator Obama’s “otherness,” which was the main point about the Paris Hilton–Britney Spears commercial, which had the unstated premise that he was only a (lightweight) celebrity because of his race. In this way, his race can be highlighted for the white racial framing in the back of many/most white voters’ heads by McCain’s campaign without mentioning his race. When Senator Obama tried to highlight these and similar Republican tactics as trying to scare (white, of course) voters because he “doesn’t look like the other presidents on those dollar bills,” then the McCain campaign accused Obama of “playing the race card,” the conventional white response to being called out on racial issues publicly.

Heilemann argues that almost all analysts have viewed Obama’s response there as a mistake because it highlighted his racial identity for white voters. That is, anything that highlights his race plays into the white racial frame and thus likely alienates some/numerous white “moderate” or “independent” voters. Heilemann points to  Senator Obama’s racial dilemma: He presumably cannot speak out against racism (he may have to?), but he cannot ignore the racist attacks either. And changing the subject does not easily work either:

What he needs is to find a way of talking not directly about race or racial politics but about his identity that at once elevates and grounds the conversation, that elucidates, soothes, inspires. That takes the air out of the attempts to make him seem foreign, not one of us.

But can he easily do this in a country where racist framing and action are still the foundation of the country–where most whites still operate, especially in private and backstage, out of a white racial frame in which the “dangerous black man” is at its center? As I have pointed out several times on this blog, there is plenty of social science data indicating this is the reality today. Why does the media, or the left blogosphere, not deal directly and openly with these issues of the white racist barriers standing in Senator Obama’s way? Can he overcome them as easily as many say?

Continuing Significance of Institutional Racism: Latino Undergrads

The US Census Bureau just released population projections that by 2050, minorities will be the numeric majority of the population. For Latinos especially gains in the percentage of the population are expected to increase dramatically. In an article on cnn.com, Dave Waddington, chief of the Census Bureau’s population projection branch, stated that “Who’s going to do the jobs that are characteristically held right now by certain types of people…All those things are subject to change.” As the white population decreases and the number of people of color increase, it is critical that we take a look at how systemic racism plays out in some of our major institutions, especially education. Change is coming and in so many cases needs to happen in order to prepare for a future that is more diverse (photo: Brewer).

Education is important to Latinos, and universities often claim to value diversity by actively recruiting students of color. This effort by universities can be interpreted either as a cynical effort to enhance the image of their school, or more benignly as a true reflection of a deeply held value of cultural difference on campus. Nevertheless, there is often concern at universities about recruiting and retaining students of color. However, through my interviews with Latino undergraduate students at three universities (“Southern University,” “Southwest University,” and “Midwest University”) across the country, I found that institutional discrimination continues to be a major impediment to student success. Universities are historically white arenas and they continue to be so today, regardless of their rhetoric about diversity.

My research showed that many aspects of the university are still white dominated. Almost universally, students reported an underrepresentation of Latino faculty on their campuses. It was difficult for students to find faculty members that looked like them or that they could relate to. When students did have Latino instructors, they were often non-tenured and/or teaching only in Latino areas (like Mexican American studies or Spanish.)

“I think that that does happen. There probably aren’t that many Latina professors or working as the dean or something like that. And there are more cooks and janitors that are Hispanics or—[Have you had any Latino professors?] No, I haven’t. [How do you feel about that?] I hadn’t really thought about it, but I would like to have a professor who has similar, I guess, cultural background as me. That could connect more I guess, but I haven’t really noticed.” – Southwest University Female 19

Increasing Latino faculty membership and tenure, as well as diversifying departments are important issues that institutions of higher education must face if they truly want to retain Latino students. Most of the adult Latino faces that students saw were those working in lower (and underappreciated) positions at the university. This included food service, landscaping, maintenance, and custodial work. Latino students saw this pattern of work as lowering their status at the university, as well as reinforcing what they see as low expectations from whites about their potential.

Latinos are also underrepresented in the curriculum and symbolically on some campuses. Though Southwest University has done a better job with symbolic representation in terms of artwork, statues, and celebrations that represent Latinos, all three campuses lacked diversity in their curriculum. Latino culture and history are not often discussed in general education classes (like American history) and instead are relegated to specialized courses. Though students are not denying the importance of those courses and departments, the result is that diversity becomes optional. If they do not take those courses, they will not learn about their people, and neither will whites. At Midwest and Southern University, symbolic representation was also a big issue. Latinos were rarely represented around campus in things like artwork and statues, though Southern University students were looking forward to the arrival of a statue of Cesar Chavez. Midwest University did a poor job of representing any students of color symbolically, but students noticed that when they did see art, it was often in the form of photographs from the university’s past—a past that did not include people of color. At Southern University, symbols of white racism are present in the statues of Confederate soldiers and buildings named after racists. These symbols (or lack of symbols) create an atmosphere that is not welcoming to Latinos. Often there are very few places on campuses that they feel they can call their own because of racialized space.

On all three campuses students could point to examples of institutional racism. Institutions of higher education, whether they are in the South, in predominantly Latino areas, or in located big cities, still organize themselves around white ideals and values. Students of color are admitted in greater numbers, but by and large the institutions remain a white place. Because of the changes that are being predicted about our population composition, the institution will have to change and adapt to a more diverse student body.

Blacks Banned in China During the Olympics? Say What?

The South China Morning Post reported that that the Chinese government had ordered Beijing bar owners to ban Blacks and Mongolians (“undesirables”) from entering during their establishments during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The article stated: (photo credit:kk)

Bar owners near the Workers’ Stadium in central Beijing say they have been forced by Public Security Bureau officials to sign pledges agreeing not to let black people enter their premises… Security officials are targeting Sanlitun (district), which Olympic organizers expect to be a key destination for foreign tourists looking for a party during the Games. The pledges that Sanlitun bar owners had been instructed to sign agreed to stop a variety of activities in their establishments, including dancing and serving customers with black skin, they said.

When pondering this news, it is easy to recall the quote, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Non-Whites and some Blacks become engrossed with the historical White articulation that negatively stereotypes Black males as unintelligent, lazy, hypersexual, etc. Therefore, it is easy to see how Asians, Latinos, and other non-Blacks have embraced the fear of Black males. (See here).

The White social reproduction of racism utilizes stereotypes that creates fear of Black males affects other groups that are non-Black within the U.S. and abroad as well. Feagin argues that the images of Blacks, and stereotypes and fear created from these images are a central component to the operation of systemic racism:

What most Americans and those internationally who have never met a person of a darker hue know about racial and ethnic matters beyond their own experience is what they’re taught by those who control major avenues of socialization, such as the movies, music videos, television, radio, and print media that circulate racist images not only in the United States, but across the globe.

Thus, the attitudes and actions adopted by others across the globe in regards to the reproduction of racism are not independent, but contingent upon the White racial machine targeting people of color for the goal of ultimate White supremacy. Feagin quotes a survey in the 1990s that targeted Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese Americans who had been in the U.S. for one generation. The results indicated that this sampled group had adopted and accepted the fourteen generations of anti-Black attitudes that has existed within the U.S. Many groups such as these mentioned, Irish, and Italian U.S. citizens have positioned themselves to Whiteness and all social, economic, and psychological benefits it encompasses.

If anything, due to the crimes against Asians historically within the world, the bars near the Olympic gatherings should be first closed to Whites instead of a group of people for whom they have shared holding the links to their oppression.

Nineteen Percent of Whites: Friends Will Not Vote for Black Man

Charles M. Blow has a rather chilling oped piece on racism and the coming election in the August 8, 2008 New York Times. He first points out that this should be an easy year for the Democratic presidential candidate, with all the failures of the Bush administration, especially the war, and Senator Obama’s demonstrated fundraising ability. But a July New York Times/CBS News poll underscores the problem we have accented several times on this blog, the racism factor (inaccurately called by the euphemism, the “Bradley factor”) few white journalists or social scientists are willing to discuss:

When whites were asked whether they would be willing to vote for a black candidate, 5 percent confessed that they would not. . . . [And, more importantly] They asked the same whites if most of the people they knew would vote for a black candidate. Nineteen percent said that those they knew would not.

Blow points out this could be a large number of people if these white voters have many friends. (And are the white respondents really talking about themselves?) His analysis then accents what he calls the

murky world of modern racism, where most of the open animus has been replaced by a shadowy bias that is difficult to measure. As Obama gently put it in his race speech, today’s racial “resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company.” However, they can be — and possibly will be — expressed in the privacy of the voting booth.

Blow notes that if the percentage of whites who will not vote for a black candidate is just 15 percent, that is a larger percentage than the percentage of black voters or young voters in the electorate. So McCain has the racial edge–especially considering that Senator Obama’s percentage of black voters is high but about the same as previous white Democratic candidates. Actually too there is nothing mysterious or murky about all this, and the white bias is relatively easy to measure if one goes backstage and records what whites actually say and do there, as we have pointed out from social science data on the backstage blatant racism common in white communities, previously on this blog.

And the most revealing finding for the election in the survey is this:

Just as many white independents as Republicans said that most of the people they knew would not vote for a black candidate, and white Democrats were not far behind. Also, remember that during the Democratic primaries, up to 20 percent of white voters in some states said that the race of the candidate was important to them. Few of those people voted for the black guy.

One response to my previous blog analyses about whites not voting for Obama because of the backstage racism and their vibrant white racial frame is that the “racists are all Republicans any way.” This survey strongly suggests that view is false. The same proportion of independents reported that most of their friends will not vote for a black person, and a significant proportion of Democrats report the same. In an election where the typical winner wins by just 1-4 percent of the total votes cast, the 19 percent of independents who say most of their friends will not vote for Senator Obama is a chilling figure. It would appear that the odds are against him (always have been?) because of that old and still very strong white racial framing of Black men.