Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Studying black people.

Image result for black voters hillary images  Jonathan Chait is a very white man, and he recently wrote  an article about African Americans and our voting traditions especially as it relates to the democratic party.

It was an interesting take on why the majority of  African Americans vote the way we do, and why, when it comes to the two leading political parties, we tend to choose the donkey over the elephant.

I actually found a lot of what t he wrote to be true, but, like others, I found it a little unsettling that this very white writer thought that he could go into the minds of African Americans and like some member of the Jedi Order play mind tricks on every African American voter in America.  

I think the gist of what he wrote is that black voters are pragmatic almost to a fault, and that the reason Hillary has been able to beat Bernie four to one among black voters is because black voters are afraid of change. (Or something like that. ) I am still not sure where this leaves the 25% of black folks who are voting for Sanders.

"And pragmatism inflects the African-American view of how politicians perform in office. Purists see compromise as a sign of moral failure or weakness, an inability to smash a corrupted system. Pragmatists expect political opposition as normal and enduring. A politician who has their best interests in mind and pushes policy in the proper direction is better than the all-too-common alternative. Sanders’s campaign draws much of its strength from the left-wing critique of Barack Obama’s presidency, which it dismisses as largely feeble half-measures. Sanders has attracted Democrats most discontented with Obama’s progress, while Clinton wins those most satisfied, among whom African-Americans are disproportionately represented. Obviously, Obama’s status as the first black president creates a unique bond with black supporters, but much more than racial affinity is at work here.

As Brett Gadsden, a historian and professor of African-American studies at Emory, told me a few months ago over email, “Black voters have always [been] faced with the difficult choice between candidates who have only offered incremental support for their concerns and have been perfectly willing to turn their backs, albeit to slightly different degrees, on black communities when it was politically expedient.” The decision about how to exert leverage (which is necessarily limited within a racially polarized electorate) is difficult, even agonizing. Any political constituency must navigate the twin imperatives of supporting the better (or less bad) party without letting that party take its support completely for granted."

"Racial affinity". The first African American president in the history of this country --- one who in retrospect has done a pretty decent job--- and the writer makes an issue of "racial affinity" between black voters and the candidate.   

This is what drives black folks like yours truly crazy. This tendency some whites -particularly liberals- have of viewing us as some exotic other to be studied and understood like experimental lab rats.

This was the case of a very liberal recently hired Temple University professor, who had the following to say:

"Goldrick-Rab, who spent five years in Philadelphia when she attended the University of Pennsylvania, said she welcomes the chance to return to an urban setting, where she will be "closer to the students whose lives I study."

"I fell in love with that city when I was a grad student," she said, "and I've been trying to get back ever since."

She plans to spend time in neighborhoods, visit the Housing Authority, and hang out at Community College of Philadelphia, where she previously served as an evaluator of a program that provides legal, counseling, and other services for students in one place.

"They have the population that I've been working on and studying for a long time," she said."

Did you read that? She has been studying us for "a long time." That sound you hear is my head exploding.

No doubt Mr. Chait has been studying us a long time as well, and his intense studying has inspired him to write this puzzling essay about African American pragmatism when it comes to voting.

Memo to Mr. Chait: We are not the only group that votes for what we think is in our best interest. The American electorate is now more polarized than ever because more groups are doing just that.
That has been the American way long before we even had the right to vote.  

Maybe the next time Mr. Chait will focus his effort on writing about another one of the polarized groups in America, and as  the old timers like to say: "Stay out of black folks business."

*Pic from



Anonymous said...

There's not much TO study when it comes to negroes: just promise them unlimited gibsmedats, rub their bellies a little and tell them how wonderful they are, and bang!, you've got them.

Blacks aren't terribly bright.


When blacks are maligned, and attacked from the right day in and day out on Fox News and other outlets, told repeatedly that the only problem we have in this COUNTRY is ourselves, then there's nothing to LOVE, and nothing to VOTE FOR.


lilacpr2000 said...

Aw man! Too bad it's not Saturday! I could think up at least 100 captions for that pic xD

Lance Cockstrong said...

Saying "racial affinity" is not the same as making an issue of racial affinity, so in taking those words much more than racial affinity is at work here out of context you are being a bit rough on him IMHO. No doubt that we all vote in our best interests and that no one enjoys being trivialized in the manner you describe. You don't say what you found that he wrote to be true, only that pragmatism vs purism is not it. The outcome of this election will be historic, the implications off the charts for all of us for years to come. And so the fact that the black community is 4 to 1 in favor of Clinton, numbers approaching those in favor of the avowed racists on the right, is of general interest to all of us.

Lance Cockstrong said...

the black community is 4 to 1 against Sanders approaching those against the avowed right wing racists is what I meant to say

PilotX said...

The more things change. C'mon, we've always been viewed as other so why should any white person, or any person in this country for that matter, view us any differently? Remember the 60's when American flags were ripped out of the hands of young blah children? They sent the message loudly and clearly, YOU DON'T MATTER! This is why a blog such as yours gets so much racist hate, as the very first poster proves they can't even fanthom the idea of an educated negro. Even the most uneducated and worthless white believes they are superior to all of us, even the guy currently occupying 1600 Pennsylvania. But most of us have learned to do what you always say to do, just keep it moving.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

What the hell happened to the comment section? Where did everybody go?

Joe said...

Did anybody else think Hillary was in a prison when they first saw that picture?

Josh said...

It's perfectly okay, though, when black folks enter the mind of whites and tell us how we live, how easy we have it, how we think about minorities, etc. But black folks seem to want to present themselves as this great mysterious enigma inside a Da Vinci riddle that you must be born black to figure out.

At this point, we have been living together for over a dozen generations. Seeing one another and living with one another has been hardwired into our lizard brains. Black folks, you're not so mysterious that no one else but black folks can glean and understand the so-called experience you all pretend to share 1:1. That's not to say every person knows X and Y; but some people do understand, despite how butthurt that makes you.

Besides that point, it's an interesting question. Southern Baptists as a sect don't vote in lockstep like blacks. No other group I can think of vote in lockstep like blacks. I don't even think that many Mormons turned out for Mitt Romney. But damn near every election, of the blacks who decide to vote, over 90% go Democrat. What's amazing about that is how Democrats have failed the black community while the black community continues to blame Republicans. lol But it's y'alls vote. Vote for whomsoever you wish.

lilacpr2000 said...

Because in order to effectively control, manipulate,utilize,annihilate something, you must study it first.

Chilling actually...

Anonymous said...

What Pilot said at 12:46. 👌

Lance, I am sure he means well, and yeah, I might have been a bit rough on him, but he can learn from the experience. Hopefully the next time he will look at the big picture.


false 1 said...

Didn't read the article but you seem a bit off base Field. Presidential campaigns, like marketing campaigns, are about understanding the consumer. blacks, women, gen X, millennials, baby boomers, middle class, upper class, midwesterners, east coasters, religious, atheist, high school grad, college grad, etc., all get filtered and analyzed in order to better sell the product. All have been dissected, studied and reported on.

We exist as a demographic within this country. We should be studied, and we can't bar white folks from that study any more than they can bar us from study of them. The only issue (and this could be large) is when our own scholars are ignored when it comes time to implement policy, in favor of those who have only an academic understanding of our community.

anotherbozo said...

Had to go to Wikipedia for info on this writer Jonathan Chait. Credentials included editor at The New Republic and writing for Reason Magazine, a self-described libertarian monthly known to be funded by the Koch brothers. It's known for racism (pro-Apartheid!) and even holocaust denial.

More info:

Why it's good to have Wikipedia handy BEFORE you bother reading someone...

I like to study right wingnuts. It's often a study in camouflage. Catching them requires real epertise with your net! Very devious species, but fun!

Limpbaugh said...

I am white and I happen to be familiar with the mindset of more white Hillary supporters. They have knee jerk support for all Democrats. The white Hillary supporters I know are very opposed to racism and the Democratic Party is obviously better on race issues. Obama couldn't do a lot about race issues because "only Nixon can go to China". My complaints about Hillary comes from the left. She is a psychopathic neocon war monger and a corporate tool. Racial minorities will suffer disproportionately from the wars she starts and the economic inequality she perpetuates. In my opinion, the lesser of evils bar has sunk too low and establishment Democrats and Republicans should all be voted out. The same "news" that sold us the Iraq War is selling us the candidate who voted for it. She was also heavily involved in Libya and Syria. She has made her intentions toward Iran and Gaza clear. Bernie Sanders said he listens to his donors so why should we believe Hillary doesn't listen to hers, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup? No bankers get arrested and the government doesn't negotiate for wholesale drug prices. Don't expect that to change under president Clinton.

Anonymous said...

False 1, I liked your comments, but I have to respectfully disagree. while I understand that groups should be studied, but when folks go into the study with a certain set of biases and a lack of insight it is troubling.

Besides, see what anotherbozo said.👌


Make America Great Again said...

"I actually found a lot of what t he wrote to be true, but, like others, I found it a little unsettling that this very white writer thought that he could go into the minds of African Americans"

HA! Funny those who think they can get into the minds of "those in the majortia" are finding it "unsettling" that someone in the majority can get into their minds.

Hypocrisy, hypocrisy...

Anonymous said...

I read this quote, and it made me feel angry for some of the same reasons you listed:

"I would love having the job of president because I know how to do it. I know what the country needs."

This was Hillary, in a quote from an exclusive interview for POLITICO's 'Off Message' podcast, April 6, 2016, Glenn Thrush

Read more:

JC said...

Like I keep saying, the Affirmative Action mindset of blacks makes them think they can do and say any bullshit, including how other non-blacks should think and act and live. They face no consequences because their white liberal masters encourage it and give them a nice pat on the head.

White male affirmative action Jackson said...

Like I keep saying, the Affirmative Action mindset of whites makes them think they can do and say any bullshit, including how other non-whites should think and act and live. They face no consequences because their white conservative masters encourage it and give them a nice pat on the head.

Shared Humanity said...

And the flip side of white people explaining black folk is when the only black person in the room is expected to represent and speak for the race.