Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Changing views of racial issues, by party

I live in California, which has ample problems to be sure.  But one feature of living here is that it's far from homogeneous.  Of course there's racial segregation, but it's  still a melting pot, where I mangle Mandarin to wish a student Happy (Chinese) New Year, or greet my office neighbor with "Hola!" On my morning train, there's a rainbow of skin color along with multiple languages.  Of course race is noticed;  we aren't post-racial much as we pretend to be. And we have fierce arguments about immigration reform and affirmative action.  But for most of us, racial difference per se is not a threat.  I wept with joy when Obama was elected.

Sobering reading in the Washington Post suggests that Democrats and Republicans increasingly view issues around race very differently.

Then:  we weren't so far apart.  (Goetz shot four black youths, claiming he thought they would mug him.  OJ, well, you know.  And Don Imus made insensitive racial comments. )

Now, it's far more dramatic a difference, and it suggests something very troubling.  Over and over again we see ugly attitudes rear their heads, suggesting that the core of the Republican party is angry white people who are threatened by this spectrum.

How do we lance this boil?


Kevin K said...

I think that part of the issue is that both Democrats and Republicans now tend to get their news from more partisan outlets such as Fox or MSNBC or from internet cites. At the time of the Goetz trial and even OJ more people got the news filtered by the local newspaper and the big three networks which largely covered the same stories in the same way. Getting the same story tends to, I think, homogenize the response to that story.

Paul (A.) said...

A couple of months ago I was in a petit jury panel of about eighty people to choose a jury of twelve for a criminal case, and the judge asked all potential jurors some standard questions, one of which was "how do you get your news." I got to hear answers for about 75 people before they filled the jury box.

I was shocked that NOT ONE of those people said they got news from any newspaper. It was all radio or one or two television stations.