Look How Post-Racial We Still Are!

« November 2012 »

Memo to Charlie Webster and Dayton Conway: YES, THERE IS A REASON FOR THAT.

Nearly three weeks after the re-election of Barack Obama, and a weary nation has come together and agreed on one thing - it's all minorities' fault.

Mitt Romney thinks the minorities got paid off with "gifts". Paul Ryan blames high turnout in "urban areas".* Wingnuts claiming that Obama getting nearly 100% of the vote in districts containing nearly 100% minorities is evidence of skullduggery and not evidence of the consequences of white flight. And, in the case of at least two non-urban, non-urban Republican poll workers, a single burning question. Where the fuck did all these [people of color] come from?

First up, Maine's Charlie Webster, who did an informal melanin-count and did not like what he saw. But it's OK, because he's not racist. Just ask him.

"In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in town knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out... I’m not politically correct and maybe I shouldn’t have said these voters were black, but anyone who suggests I have a bias toward any race or group, frankly, that’s sleazy."

Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! I know how that happened! The black people voted because they live there, and you don't know how many black people live there because you're an ignorant hick who keeps to your own kind unless circumstances like a very important national election bring you into contact with a larger cross-section of the public than your weekly football get-togethers do! How close was I?

Because the only thing funnier than a redneck in a hole is a redneck trying to extract himself from it, let's go to Clarification One!

"I regret saying the word black because it wasn’t like I was singling out black. The reason I said it, ‘cause I don’t know where you live, but where I come from in rural Maine, it’s a small percentage of the population. I think we’re the whitest state in the country. So if you go to the polls and see people who are black, it’s unusual. And when you see a lot of people who are black, like six or eight or ten people, you think, ‘Wow, where do they live?’ That was my point.”

I have to say, I empathize with the guy. It's just a bad word choice. If he'd only avoided saying "black" as he tried to explain how odd it was to see six to ten black people in a state with a whole lot of white people in it, people wouldn't have gotten the mistaken impression he was singling out black. But he did, and they did, so it was time for a formal apology.

"It was my intention to talk not about race, but about perceived voting irregularities. However, my comments were made without proof of wrongdoing and they had the unintended consequence of casting aspersions on an entire group of Americans. For that, I am truly sorry.

That's not bad, but I think I can make this just a smidge more honest. ACTUAL REWRITTEN APOLOGY TIME!

"It was my intention to talk about race, about perceived voting irregularities by black people. However, my comments were made without proof of wrongdoing, and they had the intended consequence of casting aspersions on an entire group of Americans. For being wrong and talking out of my ass, I am truly sorry."

On to Colorado, where the same message was delivered in a somewhat more hilarious way by Dayton Conway:

"Yeah, a very high concentration of people of color. It’s not a problem, but, you know, when I go to the mall I see, you know this amount. Well I’m seeing at least double or triple that amount here. So what I’m saying is, it looks to me like this voting location was selected as the place they told everyone to come.” - Dayton Conway, extremely amateur ethnographer.

If it's not a problem, WHY BRING IT UP? The most racist part of both of these things is not even the assumption that the darkies were up to something. It's the assumption that, given a choice between a set of self-selected everyday activities like "being around town" or "going to the mall", you're going to get a much more accurate picture of a place's demographics than an event where, ideally, every single person in the community shows up at one place for 20 minutes or so (or, in Florida, eight fucking hours).

The smart, not-racist thing to do with the anecdotal data they collected would be to realize there are more minorities in their community than they thought. That's the conclusion best supported by what is admittedly extremely unscientific data. The conclusion that Conway drew was that they told all the minorities to show up at his polling place. Who were "they"? Who the fuck knows. Probably the New Black Panthers or some other imaginary minority cabal. Why would they tell them all to show up at this place? Again, who the fuck knows? I mean, if they were trying to pull something, having everyone show up at one polling place in disproportionate numbers seems like an awfully bad plan, since it wil tip off eagle-eyed but totally non-racist upstanding real Americans like Dayton Conway.

But Romney lost, so whatever it was, it must have worked, and it must have been devious.

*For the record, I actually don't think, in most of Paul Ryan's quotes on this, he meant "black" when he said "urban". Like his predecessor, Sarah Palin, I think he was doing the fake rural/urban "real America vs. elites" thing, which is almost as bad. But cities have a lot of minorities, so it's at least transitively racist.