Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sarah Palin and aversive racisim

Like he needs my help, but I'll anyway recommend Nicholas Kristof's NYT op-ed, Racism Without Racists.

You should read it yourself, but his main point is that overt racism is a minor problem for Obama. More important is what he refers to as "aversive racists":

“In the U.S., there’s a small percentage of people who in nationwide surveys say they won’t vote for a qualified black presidential candidate,” Professor Dovidio said. “But a bigger factor is the aversive racists, those who don’t think that they’re racist.”

Faced with a complex decision, he said, aversive racists feel doubts about a black person that they don’t feel about an identical white. “These doubts tend to be attributed not to the person’s race — because that would be racism — but deflected to other areas that can be talked about, such as lack of experience,” he added.

Keeping this in mind helps focus on two recent campaign developments, the "Obama as a terrorist sympathizer" being so repugnantly parroted by McCain's lipsticked bit-bull, and that pit-bull's recent debate performance.

The first is an easy call of course. Character assassination by association is a tried and true political tactic, most often used against people of sterling character for one simple reason: if the candidate is clearly of the highest charater, such as Obama clearly is, what other choice do you have?

Palin's debate performance is another matter. Many on the left have criticized it as being a verbal lapdance for rightwing fanboys (see Lowry, Rich). Let me, however posit a different take. Whatever else you think of Palin's winky, hokey, barely intelligible debate performance, one thing is crystal clear: she has got to be the whitest woman in the US.

And as such, to sub-concious racists across the land, much more qualified than the, um, darker-hued gentleman from Illinois.

No comments: