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2008 June 22 Sunday
Gap In Black And White Views On Race And In Views On Obama

More blacks than whites admit to negative views of the other race and more blacks than whites see race relations in America as poor. (and Hispanics are invisible to the liberals at the Washington Post)

As Sen. Barack Obama opens his campaign as the first African American on a major party presidential ticket, nearly half of all Americans say race relations in the country are in bad shape and three in 10 acknowledge feelings of racial prejudice, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

I would love to see pollsters ask what indicators they use to measure the state of race relations. Are their views based on an assessment of how well blacks are doing, how much they think whites treat blacks unfairly, or their own experiences hearing views of others about race?

The gap in white versus black views of race relations has grown.

Overall, 51 percent call the current state of race relations "excellent" or "good," about the same as said so five years ago. That is a relative thaw from more negative ratings in the 1990s, but the gap between whites and blacks on the issue is now the widest it has been in polls dating to early 1992.

When blacks think about race relations one factor they consider is their relative status versus whites. Blacks make much less money and own much less than whites on average. As long as blacks drop out of high school and college at higher rates, study less valuable subjects in college (very few study engineering for example), get put in prison at much higher rates (and they commit crime at much higher rates), have kids out of wedlock at far higher rates, and otherwise perform at lower levels versus whites their status will remain lower. Why they behave and perform differently is another subject. Just focus on the difference. That difference makes many blacks resent whites and therefore more blacks view race relations as poor.

More than six in 10 African Americans now rate race relations as "not so good" or "poor," while 53 percent of whites hold more positive views.

A longitudinal view from 1984 to 2005 of median household net worth for 65+ year olds by race (click on indicator 10) shows how dramatically the white-black wealth gap is widening. A 2004 Pew study found that "the wealth of Latino and Black households is less than one-tenth the wealth of White households". So blacks aren't going to see themselves as doing well when comparing themselves to whites and hence many of them will see race relations as poor.

Many supporters of Barack Obama, both black and white, hope that having a black (okay, half black) US President will somehow improve black performance and black relative standing. Some think this will help by setting a positive example to emulate. Others think Obama will right various wrongs by cracking down on racists who they think hold back blacks.

African Americans are much more optimistic than whites on this score: Sixty percent said Obama's candidacy will do more to help race relations, compared with 38 percent of whites. Two-thirds of those supporting him for president think it will improve the situation.

I think the people who hold these hopes are deluding themselves with utopian dreaming. While Obama will likely turn the screws on corporations and force them to hand out more jobs based on racial preferences that'll do little to benefit most blacks. The marketplace can find many ways to adjust and reduce the cost of systems of racial preferences. For example, large corporations can (and will) outsource services to smaller companies that can fly under the radar of the government and also can outsource to India and China.

The already low black male labor market participation will not improve under an Obama presidency that supports large scale Hispanic immigration. The competition between Hispanics and blacks for a limited supply of less skilled jobs will continue to follow the pattern where Hispanics get more of those jobs than blacks. The median incomes of younger generations will decline as less skilled and academically lower performing blacks and Hispanics become larger percentages of 20, 25, 30 year olds. The already low black (and Hispanic) high school graduation rates will not improve under Obama. The kids won't all say "Hey, a black man is in the White House and so I won't drop out of school." Not gonna happen. I expect more of the same.

Obama decries the No Child Left Behind education legislation (which amounted to George W. Bush agreeing with the delusions of what liberal Democrat Senator Edward Kennedy wanted to do to improve education) as an unfunded mandate on schools to improve their performance. Obama would have us believe that black performance can catch up with white performance if more money is thrown at the problem (which is a very left-liberal position to take and has been tried before many times). Well, some states and the District of Columbia already spend large piles of cash per student with little to show for it.

New York State spent $14,119 per student — more than any other state in the nation — in the 2005 fiscal year, according to a national analysis of public school spending that the Census Bureau released today.

The analysis, Public Education Finances: 2005, placed New Jersey at No. 2 on the list, at $13,800, followed by the District of Columbia (which was treated as a state) at $12,979, Vermont at $11,835 and Connecticut at $11,572. Seven of the top 10 with the highest per-pupil expenditures were in the Northeast. Detailed tables [Excel] are available through the Census Bureau’s Web site. A graphic of the top five states (including the District of Columbia) is here.

Do I even need to mention that black scholastic performance in DC is terrible? Does Obama really believe he can do better? Utah spends a small fraction per student of what gets spent by NY, NJ, and DC and yet Utah's students do great on national tests. Obama has nothing new to offer here and so he's not going to score some new big success in education of blacks.

The overwhelming black vote for Obama is most likely driven by a belief that Obama will improve the economic standing of blacks.. Well, decades after the removal of legal and institutional obstacles to black advancement and with racial preferences in governments, universities, and corporations why should we expect more of the same to make a substantial difference? I do not see a reason to expect Obama can deliver on this hope. So at the end of an Obama presidency black views of race relations will probably be even worse than they are today.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 June 22 01:18 PM  Politics Ethnicity


Comments
Dragon Horse said at June 22, 2008 1:39 PM:

"When blacks think about race relations one factor they consider is their relative status versus whites. Blacks make much less money and own much less than whites on average. As long as blacks drop out of high school and college at higher rates, study less valuable subjects in college (very few study engineering for example)..."

Interesting theory. Would you say this is why you resent whites of a superior educational and social status than you? After all, there are many posts on this site that rant about "white elites".

Do you think this is why your opinion as compared to these "elites" is often more negative about the future of America or the current state of things? I base this on the fact that you often say "they don't see a real problem with their positions or it doesn't effect them because they can afford certain schools or communities"...

"Many supporters of Barack Obama, both black and white, hope that having a black (okay, half black) US President will somehow improve black performance and black relative standing. Some think this will help by setting a positive example to emulate. Others think Obama will right various wrongs by cracking down on racists who they think hold back blacks."

Who said this? Source please. I agree with the "positive example" but the last part? Who is saying that? If you find an individual in the media what makes you think they represent the majority of black people? I think it is safe to say I know more blacks than you do, and I have never heard anyone state what you have in the last sentence of that paragraph. Even on the net, if you go to Booker Rising (right of center and black), Black Professor (far left), Prometheus 6 (center left) you will not find comments on these sites that state such things.

"Well, some states and the District of Columbia already spend large piles of cash per student with little to show for it."

I live in the DC area, the problem with this is most of the money is wasted in administration (or even stolen) and does not make it to the classroom. Washington Post did a big series of articles on this last year. So you can not just say X amount of money divided by X students. You have to look a little deeper, sorry.

"The overwhelming black vote for Obama is most likely driven by a belief that Obama will improve the economic standing of blacks."

LOL...according to who? Do you know any black people? I think not, if you do it is not well enough to speak to them about these issues, because I have never heard anyone say they are voting for Obama to get more money, I have heard some say maybe the economy over all will be better...I have NEVER heard anyone say "for blacks specifically" or we can get more "handouts", etc.

Steve Johnson said at June 22, 2008 2:41 PM:

"I live in the DC area, the problem with this is most of the money is wasted in administration (or even stolen) and does not make it to the classroom."

Gee, you'd almost think that black people are more dishonest and less capable of running an efficient organization.

"I have NEVER heard anyone say "for blacks specifically" or we can get more "handouts", etc."

Who ever says this in these words? Have you heard anyone say "now we'll get our fair share"? How about "now we'll have a chance to get some real justice"? Anything along those lines? Does Michelle Obama ever say that she's a successful extortionist or does she think that she was entitled to everything she's ever gotten but resents white people because she knows she wasn't qualified to be at Princeton (for example)?

Greg Meadows said at June 22, 2008 4:36 PM:

The gap in black in white views on race is psychological. It is very difficult to attribute
one's own failures to oneself. Much easier to blame it on some factor outside of oneself.
The use of the word "failure" may bring some protest. If it's true that the lack of
financial success is evidence of failure, the word cannot be avoided. Hence, the
resentment.

On the other hand, one's successes is easy to attribute to one's own virtues. Hence, the
satisfaction.

Can a black man as president make one feel more personally successful, if you are black?
It would teach that it is possible for a black man to succeed. But what does it do for
the masses? Not everyone can be president. Not everyone can be Oprah. Not everyone can
be a sport superstar. Individual achievement can't do much for the collective.

If the collective is at fault then, what to do? Blacks would have to emulate whites. That
would not appear to be a workable solution until something changes. But can Obama change
it? We'll have to wait and see on that one. My own opinion is that he is teaching the
black folks the wrong lessons. And the white folks are letting him get away with it. And
what lesson is that? Obama just isn't an honest man in my opinion. So, the lesson being
imparted is that the only way for a black man to succeed is to be dishonest. Not a good
thing for this country, or for anybody for that matter, black or white.

HellKaiserRyo said at June 22, 2008 4:48 PM:

Here is a classic that Randall linked to:

"The Republicans are going to become the White Party. "

Well, I guess he is wrong about that. The elites in the "White Party" care about bettering the lot of the wealthy whites by giving them facile access to cheap labor. What about the whites who do not consider themselves elites such as Randall? Do those whites support the "White Party" actions (not necessarily their stated positions) on immigration?

So are the Republicans developing into the "White Party" in the last term of Bush?

Ned said at June 23, 2008 5:16 AM:

The nostrums proposed by Barack Obama (more money for schools, more set-aside jobs, etc.) aren't going to help black Americans one bit. All have been tried, and all have failed. One thing that Obama (or McCain) could advocate that would really help would be to control illegal immigration, which hammers blacks especially hard. Don't expect that to happen, though Obama gets a D- and McCain gets a D on the immigration scorecard from Numbers USA.

Dragon Horse said at June 23, 2008 8:10 AM:

Steve:


As far as DC public school...

here is an article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/09/AR2007060901415.html

This was the best and most honest I have ever read. For your info, the head person in charge of DC public schools is not black, she is Korean American, Michelle Rhee. Fenty brought her in with his administration. Fenty himself is half white.

"Who ever says this in these words? Have you heard anyone say "now we'll get our fair share"? How about "now we'll have a chance to get some real justice"? "

Typically I would not imagine two black people alone would hesitate to express that to each other if they felt that way, I've heard more radical things...(usually at barber shops) but I have not heard what was said in this post. Sorry. My connections to black America are not limited to the DC area either...

Greg:

I would prefer blacks emulate Jews or Chinese Americans. Why emulate 2nd best?

"And
what lesson is that? Obama just isn't an honest man in my opinion. So, the lesson being
imparted is that the only way for a black man to succeed is to be dishonest. Not a good
thing for this country, or for anybody for that matter, black or white."

What major politician is honest again? Is Hillary Clinton? George W? What about Reagan (Iran-Contra)... LOL

They are all liars because people don't want to hear the truth. Any person who gets up on the stump and is intent on telling the 100% truth is crazy or does not expect to be elected. I would say Obama's presidency will mean squat for the majority of blacks who are not already upwardly mobile, but it will mean more to the middle class (who are the majority of blacks in America).


Randall:

The Republicans are the white party already. LOL Have you seen their conventions? Hahaha...There are so few women if I came from another country and you told me it was a convention of elderly homosexual white males I would likely believe it just by looking at the press coverage. LOL

STFU said at June 23, 2008 9:45 AM:

OMG, Dragon Horse, pls stop with the LOLs.

"What major politician is honest again? Is Hillary Clinton? George W? What about Reagan (Iran-Contra)... LOL"

But everyone else is doing it!!! Great argument for the guy. And here I thought he was some kind of "Lightbringer." Tell me again why he is so wonderful? Oh yeah, I forgot, he's a Brother.

Dragon Horse said at June 23, 2008 10:27 AM:

STFU:

Laughing or crying in pity, which do you prefer?

When did I say Obama was wonderful? I don't use the word "brotha" thank you. I side with McCain more politically than Obama, because I'm just right of center on a lot of issues. For me it is simple. I don't fear anything Obama and the Dems in congress want to do. McCain and Obama are not far apart on most issues and much of it is rhetoric, once in office the weight of the office will temper a lot of the nonsense pandering. I don't like the idea of National Health-care, but I also don't like McCain's foreign policy positions...I would prefer judges who are not liberal maniacs or right wing nut jobs, and I think McCain is more likely than Obama to put in those type of judges. Taxes need to be raised in my opinion, not as part of wealth restructuring but due to our freaking debt. I also want affirmative action seriously modified...not ended yet though. Obama likely won't do that either.

In any case, Randall was correct in that a lot of blacks think electing Obama will have a positive effects on blacks in a lot of ways. I think breaking the glass sealing and making it a norm that a non-white male can lead the country outweighs the problems I have with Obama. If a black man with a Swahili name can become president, anyone can and that opens up the gates to a lot of qualified people who have a lot to bring to the table. Once it is "possible" and people know it is possible" people will be more likely to put funds behind none-white males, to back them politically, etc. I also think once people see this as not the end of the world, this will trickle down somewhat to other venues of life.

If it was up to me I would want the first black president to be Colin Powell, but it is not, oh well, Obama will do. Definitely better than Jesse Jackson. LOL

Got any more stereotypes to intellectually vomit on this site or defecate might be a more accurate description. My point is simple, to someone of the meanest intelligence, but let me give you some affirmative action to make you feel better. All politician are liars, as much as any actor. Hence why people say politics what unattractive people do when they can't act. It is an issue of degree, not kind. I don't see Obama as any more dishonest than any other major politician, sorry. Then again you are not trying to be objective...I know too much to ask.

Reality Czech said at June 23, 2008 10:58 AM:

Dragon Horse said

I live in the DC area, the problem with this is most of the money is wasted in administration (or even stolen) and does not make it to the classroom.
Based on your experience, what would happen to increases in funding?
If a black man with a Swahili name can become president, anyone can and that opens up the gates to a lot of qualified people who have a lot to bring to the table.
If groups vote for these people out of racial solidarity rather than capability, do you think the quality of candidates and their policies will go up or down?

STFU said at June 23, 2008 11:52 AM:

Dragon Horse,
You may have made some good points, but I sure as hell can't tell because of your turgid prose. Try to tighten it up a bit, please. So I guess you are voting for him because he is a "Brotha" who gonna be bustin' glass ceilings 'n shit. What a shock...

Robert Hume said at June 23, 2008 1:18 PM:

The reason average blacks do not achieve as well as average whites is that they have lower average IQs. (Six million blacks have higher IQs than the average white, of course.)

As long as this is not admitted, the obvious explanation for the average lower achievement of blacks is that whites suppress blacks. This makes blacks bitter and whites guilty.

We will continue to pour money into ineffective programs ... wasting the money ... until we face these facts.

We have already wasted trillions in education, and trillions in housing (see www.takimag.com for the effect of multiculturism bringing about the present housing crisis.).

And don't forget the millions of wasted lives, both black and white, but mostly black, due to not being educated appropriately.

Greg Meadows said at June 23, 2008 4:33 PM:

I guess I could try this again. Really, I don't think I'm all THAT naive. So, I'll relate
here something I've been thinking about today while on my spare time.

Obama is more than the usual dishonest politician in my opinion. His dishonesty can be of
the variety that can become a threat to our system of government. Yeah, I know this sounds
like a big partisan shot, but stick with me for a moment.

Consider his decision to forego public financing of his campaign. This is new in that it
hasn't happened before in any campaign, to the best of my knowledge. Even if it isn't
unique, it has a potential destablilizing potential to it. Imagine if a really highly
motivated group of people decided that they were going to take power and use it accordingly.
How big of a group would you need in order to raise the kind of money we are talking about,
say 200 million? I ran the numbers today. In comparsion to the size of the population of
the US, you wouldn't need that many people who could come up the the 2+ grand each which is
the maximum. A hundred thousand would do. Not a very high percentage in relation to the
population of the US.

Could you come up with 100,000 Nazis in the US? That many KKK members? Any other extreme
group? Impossible you say? Why not? If Obama can do it for the sake of the blacks, why
couldn't a white supremacist do it? If Obama manages to antagonize enough people, he may
just bring that on in retaliation.

I think this is why no politicians until now have gone in that direction. You may just be
opening a can of worms.

Audacious Epigone said at June 24, 2008 10:30 AM:

Dragon Horse,

From my own experience, I tend to think blacks are inclined to vote for Obama not out of 'rational' (and I don't mean that deragatorily--seems to me the story of the '08 election cycle from Mormons to blacks) hopes for greater wealth transfer or better social standing. A guy I play ball with hadn't heard of Obama when I first started calling him Barack last spring (his mom is white). In the summer, when a few guys gave me crap for my Ron Paul bumper sticker even though they had no idea who he was, the halfrican said "Obama's President". Three other black guys I know all back Obama. When I ask why they just parrot his talking points about change and mixing things up, which signals to me that there's little rational thought behind it. Another, who has a baby with a white feminist type, was a big Hillary Clinton supporter but about a month ago told me he doesn't care anymore, which I also take to be racial solidarity of a sort. Not trying to bore with anecdotes, but my own personal experience does seem to mesh with what data indicates nationally.

Seems to me it's racial solidarity more than anything. Blacks tend to be more clannish than whites--in every state from Pennsylvania on (including West Virginia), blacks were more likely to vote for racial reasons than whites were. In the US Virgin Islands, where blacks comprise three-fourths of the population, Obama took 90% of the vote. In no state do whites come remotely close to showing such racial solidarity.

Re: the DC area, what about what happened in my neck of the woods? What of the KCMO schoool district, which was infamously ordered in 1985 by Federal Judge Russell Clark to spend $11,700 per pupil, causing higher teachers' salaries, adding amenities like a model UN, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a robotics lab, and bringing the teacher-pupil ratio to 1-to-13, the most favorable in the country? The district continued to perform dismally and eventually lost accredidation that it is to this day struggling to regain. Money didn't bring any improvement. None.

What about at the state level? The correlation between per-pupil expenditures and NAEP performance is non-existent, with a p-value of .62. There is no relationship whatsoever. What about paying enough to keep good teachers around? Again, nothing. The relationship is statistically insignificant and actually trends inversely--that is, as teacher salaries rise, performance drops.

If we adjust for cost-of-living, a modest, but statistically significant relationship of .35 exists. For teacher salaries, it remains beyond statistical confidence. But the relationship between a state's standard-of-living and its childrens' scholastic performance is a considerably more rigorous .65. To the extent that greater real spending is associated with better performance, it's a symptom of a smarter, more productive population. A state's standard-of-living, not educational expenditures, is what's important. That's not surprising, given that monetary SoL proxies quite well for IQ.



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