Sunday, October 05, 2008

Aversive Racism

Here's a link to an interesting article in the New York Times entitled, Racism Without Racists by columnist Nicholas Kristoff. He writes, "a careful survey completed last month by Stanford University, with The Associated Press and Yahoo, suggested that Mr. Obama’s support would be about six percentage points higher if he were white." Many whites and even blacks would not consider themselves to be racist, yet they discriminate unconsciously. This is called "aversive racism".
“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.


Noel and Ashley said...

yep, that's exactly it. I agree. just last night I was conversing with a friend who admitted he didn't trust people in our (being a mostly african-american/ black) neighborhood. When called upon to explain why...he just didn't know. Personally, I think he has a deep fear of the other that he can't even consciously accept. Furthermore, his fear of the other goes deeper into a whole history of racism, of which, he doesn't even recognize is within him.

JP Paulus said...

i strongly disagree with the notion that Obama would be 6 points up if he were white.

Assuming that he was white but that wasn't a relative of or having any other strong connection to an established Democratic power), would he have 1) beaten Hilary Clinton 2) Inspired young people to vote for him 3) get those interested in diversity issues but conservative in issues such as abortion & other sexual issues 4) Have drawn the attention of those who are multi-racial and/or a child of an immigrant

i think the number that have been swayed or even inspired by Obama negates the "Bradley effect" voters. Just to emphasize, i most definitely acknowledge there is racism, but i want to point out that there is progress on that issue as well.

Also, the fact that McCain & Palin are strongly pro-life, and the Democrats are not at all, has certainly energized one core base of the Republicans.

Things have changed over the years,but we'll see in a couple of weeks exactly how much.