Sunday, June 22, 2008

Birth of a meme

The Washington Post:
Sen. Barack Obama's historic victory in the Democratic primaries, celebrated in America and across much of the world as a symbol of racial progress and cultural unity, has also sparked an increase in racist and white supremacist activity, mainly on the Internet, according to leaders of hate groups and the organizations that track them. . . .
Don Black spends 16 hours each day on his laptop computer reading hundreds of derogatory Obama comments posted on, a Web site with the motto "white pride world wide." Black, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, launched the site in 1995 to create a central meeting place for the white power movement. In the wake of Obama's securing enough delegates for the nomination, Stormfront, he says, has begun to fulfill his vision.
The MSM moves fast. Obama plays the race card Friday and by Sunday, the Washington Post has a 1,200-word feature to corroborate Obama's message: Anybody who doesn't support Obama is a neo-Nazi racist.

At some point -- probably Nov. 5 -- Democrats and their media pals are going to figure out what a politically disastrous tactic this is. Ordinary Americans who might be willing to vote for Obama, Crusader for Change, are likely to reject Obama, Victim of Racism.

The worst thing about the victim-of-racism message is the effect it will have in reinforcing the arrogant self-righteousness of liberals, like the blogger who put up a 1920s photo of a Klan rally in a post attacking conservative bloggers. Now that the candidate and the media have told liberals they're waging battle against racist troglodytes, you'll see a level of unhinged viciousness that makes Bush Derangement Syndrome seem like a mild neurosis.

UPDATE: Hey, they've got a survey -- proof that you're a racist troglodyte!

UPDATE II: Jammie Wearing Fool looks at the survey and observes:
So a larger percentage of blacks admit having racial bias, by 34% to 30% of whites? Doesn't even cause a ripple.
The question was No. 42 on the survey and phrased thus:
If you honestly assessed yourself, would you say that you have at least some feelings of racial prejudice?
Well, what exactly does that mean? Does "some feelings of racial prejudice" mean that you're not surprised to learn Asian-American kids are disproportionately represented among math and science majors at Stanford? Does it mean that when you see a news alert about three people killed in a gang-related drug shootout, you're pretty certain that the suspect in custody is not named Olaf Svensen?

The way the Post survey phrased the question, people might report "at least some feelings of racial prejudice" without necessarily qualifying as potential recruits for Stormfront or the Nation of Islam. Labeling everyone a bigot who said "yes" to Question 42 would be . . . er, prejudicial.

What would be interesting would be to correlate people's responses on Question 42 to their presidential preferences. Are those who admit "some feelings of racial prejudice" more or less likely to vote for Obama? And is the correlation the same for blacks and whites?

Bottom line: I don't think you can really assess people's racial views based on the 42nd question of a 44-question phone survey. Yet that response is the big headline on A1 of the Sunday Washington Post, whose editors are doing everything they can to remedy the shortage of racial paranoia in America.

1 comment:

  1. Well, the "racial prejudice" question is suspect, but the poll did find about 1 in 10 who'd have problems voting for a black for president. Of those, a super small number of these folks would be extremists.

    They're out there. I think the best strategy for the GOP is to acknowledge that they exist, on the fringe, but then point out, like Jammie, that the Democrats are indeed rife with bigotry and victims' identity - and it's mainstream among top party backers across the netroots (Kos' page, for example).