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There has been a lot of talk about various ethnic breakdown of voter groups since Tuesday, and it is starting to get on my nerves. It is not that I dislike the empowerment of the Latino, or African American, or Asian American communities. It is that the juxtaposition of these communities against a more conservative "white" America -- which is being done as much by the right as the left -- strikes me as a false construct.

Okay, so the majority of "white males" in the US voted for Romney, we are told. But what does that really tell us? Vermont, for example, is the second "whitest" state in the US. And yet it was handily won by Obama. The reason I put "white" in quotes is because there are many different groups that fall under that umbrella. Do Greeks in New York vote the same as Anglos in Idaho, merely because they fall under this category?

The Vermont "whites" and the Idaho "whites" are probably not voting because of some racial affinity with the candidate, or shared Anglo political ideals. They are voting differently because Vermont and Idaho have different histories, different ideals, and the fact that most of the population is "white" doesn't tell us much because in most states the majority of the population is "white."

So before we start carving up voter preference according to ancestry, maybe we should look a bit more into the details. That's what I think.


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Comment Preferences

  •  There is validity in what you say. (4+ / 0-)

    Any analysis that uses "whites" as a homogenous entity is missing the point as badly as those who think that Cuban residents in Florida are the same as Puerto Ricans in NYC or Mexican immigrants in the Southwest when describing the Latino vote.  There is, quite obviously, no "white" point of view.

    That said, I think it's generally understood when "white" is used synonymously with southern white conservative and the implied attitudes stereotypical of that cohort.  At the same time, raw data describing the overall voting characteristics broken down by race don't bother me.  Data is data.

    I suppose the only times I get touchy about this is when there is an implication that "all" whites think or act a certain way, too often with racist connotations.  I don't want to be associated with racism or misogyny; but being a white male, that can be the default assumption in irresponsible political punditry.  In general though, I don't see that as a big problem or source of misunderstanding.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ. (and donate to Bill!)

    by rb608 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:59:47 AM PST

    •  Wow! Were we on a wavelength? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608, Giustino

      I made my comment and left, only to learn that you had made a strikingly similar comment and hit the send button just two minutes before me. It's almost uncanny. I've made broadly similar comments at the same time as others before on various different forum, but never something this close.

      1,000,000 Strong! TOTAL RECALL!

      by pHunbalanced on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 07:09:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "White" should be broken down by region, gender, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb608, Giustino

      SES, & age.

      Obviously, the Romney "white" advantage was a lot less outside the South,  a lot less among women, and a lot less among the < 50 crowd.  And I bet it was a lot less among those with some college.  So what was Romney's vote among young, college-educated women outside the South?  

      Time is on our side if we don't make another stupid mistake like signing on for the bail-out without making the banksters pay AT ALL.  Are you paying attention, PBO?  No politically stupid "grand bargains" when you have more leverage than you'll ever have again.  And start sending A LOT more of the banksters to jail.

  •  It's much like talking about the Latino vote. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, Oh Mary Oh, Giustino

    There is a huge difference between generally conservative south Floridian Cuban Americans, generally populist Chicagoan Mexican Americans and generally progressive New Yorker Puerto Ricans. And then of course there is dissent and diversity within each group.

    Race is a pretty broad brush, but it provides some vaguely useful info. Obviously, one can get much more granular. Even with generations, there is a big difference between early boomers and late boomers.

    1,000,000 Strong! TOTAL RECALL!

    by pHunbalanced on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:02:55 AM PST

  •  Sure, we need to reach out to whites (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    We need to find white candidates to speak to that constituency.  We need to put forward white candidates who can do that outreach.  We need to include more white voices in our party.  We have some up and coming white politicians that can help us with this.  We have some great white politicians on our bench that are going to turn this around.  We need to make sure we are letting white candidates take our message to the whites.

    Sounds silly right?  Flip that around and insert 'black' or 'latino' and that's what the GOP is saying, and it's all they have to offer.

  •  I can see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    why the over simplification happens but there is a need to now look at this with a little more nuance.

    Good point.

  •  It's a good caveat. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, Giustino

    But you still don't want to discount the validity of "tribes". When I look at the electoral map I like to think, look how all those people with the same beliefs all moved together. HeeHee.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:14:42 AM PST

  •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb608, Giustino

    This white vote meme has been driving me crazy. I mean the majority of votes for Obama were from whites like me who have been life long Democrats.

  •  Our white coalition really showed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    up for democrats in the states that mattered.  If they had not, even with the minority numbers rivaling 2008, we would have LOST.  The mainstream media is useless.

  •  And eventually ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katiec, rb608, pHunbalanced, Giustino

    the Latinos will just be "white" anyway. There is no reason to expect that as members of the community integrate more and more into society they won't be just white people the same as Italians or Greeks or the Irish or all of the other scary foreigners who have come to the U.S.

    by Magenta on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 06:28:53 AM PST

  •  They're laying the ground work for the next (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    election. They want to rally white people.

    Everyone Chill the fuck out! I got this - unknown but credited to Barack Obama

    by natedogg265 on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 07:14:05 AM PST

  •  As George Lipsitz once wrote (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, pHunbalanced, Giustino

    "white" is not a skin pigmentation, it is a social position, one of privilege.  

    There were white folks who voted in favor of that privileging  (as the primary concern in their decision making) and white folks who looked beyond that and made their voting decisions accordingly.

    That should be the dividing line we are talking about.

    It may be more accurate to label the former the "white privilege" vote.   I think that might make the distinctions more visible.  

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 07:57:54 AM PST

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