Reprinted in its entirety is the AP News report about the Associated Press’ poll about American attitudes towards race. I’m not surprised that a majority of Americans harbor prejudice against blacks. Racism against blacks is embedded in the society, our social policies and in pop culture. Because of media and the internet these negative feelings exist worldwide. Every immigrant and tourist who comes to America was given the same advice at the departure gate: “Beware the blacks.” I’ve heard this repeated to me at various times by Germans, Mexicans, Koreans, Arabs, and West Africans.
If the Romney sycophants and Obama-haters can say that President Obama has failed to lead the nation into a post-partisan era, then I can hang the failure for a “post-racial” on the GOP, the “birthers,” the Tea Party rabble and their corporate puppet masters, the banksters, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity, and rest of the talk radio ditto-heads.
This morning, there was a good discussion regarding the AP poll on Washington Watch with Roland Martin on TVOne. One panelist questioned the timing of the poll’s release and intimated that
it was meant to give whites the okay to vote for Romney. I disagree about the timing of the poll’s release. Given the vitriol of the last four years and the coded racial language emanating from the Mormon elder’s camp, I see the poll as confirming what many African Americans and Americans of conscience have suspected for some time.
It’s no coincide that John Sununu has said the things he has said about President Obama. Sununu epitomizes that the attitudes of second generation Americans trying to fit into the American power structure. As a self-hating Arab Christian — whose family has been run out of two countries only to find sanctuary in America — having to find another minority to step on in order to show his “betters” that the shit given him was unnecessary because he’s one of them.
While General Colin Powell was risking his life in Vietnam and elsewhere so America could
remain the beacon of tolerance and opportunity for ethnic and religious minorities fleeing tyranny and genocide in their
homelands, Sununu was free to build a prosperous and public life. Yet, Sununu feels
free to continuously belittle the President and to now relegate General Powell for all his accomplishments and meritorious national service
to being just another “negro” for supporting President Obama over a “severely” underqualified GOP changeling.
So I’m not surprised by the poll’s findings (or voices like John Sununu). Like some of those Americans polled, I’ll exercise my Second Amendment rights and stock up for my own self-defense. Where the federal firearms transaction record Form 4473 asks my reason for the purchase, I’ll write “the AP News poll on American racial attitudes.”
As you read my words and read through the AP story, I suggest that you “check
yourself!” before trying to deny the painful truth. Otherwise, “E pluribus unum” remains an elusive dream and only useful in trivia games.
Associated Press — Published: 27 October 2012
WASHINGTON — Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not.
Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some people’s more favorable views of blacks.
Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008, whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.
In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.
“As much as we’d hope the impact of race would decline over time … it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago,” said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey.
Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too. In an AP survey done in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test. The survey on Hispanics had no past data for comparison.
The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago.
Experts on race said they were not surprised by the findings.
“We have this false idea that there is uniformity in progress and that things change in one big step. That is not the way history has worked,” said Jelani Cobb, professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. “When we’ve seen progress, we’ve also seen backlash.”
Obama has tread cautiously on the subject of race, but many
African-Americans have talked openly about perceived antagonism toward them since Obama took office. As evidence, they point to events involving police brutality or cite bumper stickers, cartoons and protest posters that mock the president as a lion or a monkey, or lynch him in effigy.
“Part of it is growing polarization within American society,” said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in
African-American Studies at Columbia University. “The last Democrat in the White House said we had to have a national discussion about race. There’s been total silence around issues of race with this president. But, as you see, whether there is silence, or an elevation of the discussion of race, you still have polarization. It will take more generations, I suspect, before we eliminate these deep feelings.”
Overall, the survey found that by virtue of racial prejudice, Obama could lose 5 percentage points off his share of the popular vote in his Nov. 6 contest against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But Obama also stands to benefit from a 3 percentage point gain due to pro-black sentiment, researchers said. Overall, that means an estimated net loss of 2 percentage points due to anti-black attitudes.
The poll finds that racial prejudice is not limited to one group of partisans. Although Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats), the implicit test found little difference between the two parties. That test showed a majority of both Democrats and Republicans held anti-black feelings (55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans), as did about half of political independents (49 percent).
Obama faced a similar situation in 2008, the survey then found.
The AP developed the surveys to measure sensitive racial views in several ways and repeated those studies several times between 2008 and 2012.
The explicit racism measures asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about black and Hispanic people. In addition, the surveys asked how well respondents thought certain words, such as “friendly,” ”hardworking,” ”violent” and “lazy,” described blacks, whites and Hispanics.
The same respondents were also administered a survey designed to measure implicit racism, in which a photo of a black, Hispanic or white male flashed on the screen before a neutral image of a Chinese character. The respondents were then asked to rate their feelings toward the Chinese character. Previous research has shown that people transfer their feelings about the photo onto the character, allowing researchers to measure racist feelings even if a respondent does not acknowledge them.
Results from those questions were analyzed with poll takers’ ages, partisan beliefs, views on Obama and Romney and other factors, which allowed researchers to predict the likelihood that people would vote for either Obama or Romney. Those models were then used to estimate the net impact of each factor on the candidates’ support.
All the surveys were conducted online. Other research has shown that poll takers are more likely to share unpopular attitudes when they are filling out a survey using a computer rather than speaking with an interviewer. Respondents were randomly selected from a nationally representative panel maintained by GfK Custom Research.
Overall results from each survey have a margin of sampling error of approximately plus or minus 4 percentage points. The most recent poll, measuring anti-black views, was conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 11.
Andra Gillespie, an Emory University political scientist who studies race-neutrality among black politicians, contrasted the situation to that faced by the first black mayors elected in major U.S. cities, the closest parallel to Obama’s first-black situation. Those mayors, she said, typically won about 20 percent of the white vote in their first races, but when seeking reelection they enjoyed greater white support presumably because “the whites who stayed in the cities … became more comfortable with a black executive.”
“President Obama’s election clearly didn’t change those who appear to be sort of hard-wired folks with racial resentment,” she said. Negative racial attitudes can manifest in policy, noted Alan Jenkins, an assistant solicitor general during the Clinton administration and now executive director of the
Opportunity Agenda think tank.
“That has very real circumstances in the way people are treated by police, the way kids are treated by teachers, the way home seekers are treated by landlords and real estate agents,” Jenkins said.
Hakeem Jeffries, a New York state assemblyman and candidate for a congressional seat being vacated by a fellow black Democrat, called it troubling that more progress on racial attitudes had not been made. Jeffries has fought a New York City police program of “stop and frisk” that has affected mostly blacks and Latinos but which supporters contend is not racially focused.
“I do remain cautiously optimistic that the future of America bends toward the side of increased racial tolerance,” Jeffries said. “We’ve come a long way, but clearly these results demonstrate there’s a long way to go.
The questions and results for this poll are available at http://surveys.ap.org . A closer look at the results of the 2008 study using the same methodology is available here at http://poq.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/5/943.full.
Tell me why you think Americans still continue to harbor prejudice against blacks. Leave your comment below.