Tuesday, July 20, 2010

discrimination for me but not for thee

Clarence Page in the C-J, using what labor economists describe as "statistical discrimination" (judging individuals by group affiliation-- stereotyping-- a universal and unavoidable practice we'll abbreviate that SD)-- to talk, ironically but not consciously so, about statistical discrimination and personal discrimination (bigotry for/against-- PD) by others.

Tea party organizers are outraged that leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are calling their movement racist. But as the old saying goes, we are judged by the company we keep...

That aptly describes SD.

In fact, I'm sure tea party supporters, who are almost indistinguishable from other far-right conservatives, would love to pass a resolution of their own to condemn racist elements in the NAACP, if they had a national structure and leadership.

Here, Page practices some SD-- and incorrectly, since TEA Partiers are a mix of libertarians, conservatives, Ross-Perot types, Pat Buchanan types, and miscellaneous politically-disaffected people.

Instead, they pride themselves on staying "grass roots" with lots of different organizations carrying the tea party name, but nobody truly accountable for the national movement....

However, it does leave your national image at the mercy of whoever happens to show up at your rallies and catch media eyes and microphones with the most outrageous protest signs or sound-bites, some of which may be racially tinged....

And thus, one more reason not to judge a book as uniform-- particularly with such a devastating criticism as racism.

And then Page has this surprising and very interesting semi-tangent to wrap up:

As the ABC-Post poll found, only 58 percent of tea party supporters are likely to see racism as a major problem in this country, compared to 75 percent of all Americans. And, as just about everyone has noticed by now, tea party supporters are more likely to be white -- 81 percent, compared to 74 percent of all adults and 65 percent of tea party opponents....

But a bigger and more revealing surprise about changing attitudes came out of a Pew Research Center poll in late June. It showed blacks (81 percent) and Hispanics (74 percent) to be more optimistic than whites (57 percent) about their financial outlook over the next year, despite their being harder hit by the economic recession.Democrats (70 percent) and independents (62 percent) also were more optimistic than Republicans (55 percent). Blacks and liberals may see racism as a bigger problem than white conservatives do, but it apparently has not dimmed their hopes for a brighter future.


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