Dr. Dawg

The "Blacks vote Black" meme

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Obama and crowd.jpg

I hope I’m not the only one a little sick of the notion that African Americans voted for Barack Obama because he’s Black.

Obama won 93% of their votes. But might there conceivably be some reason for that other than racial solidarity?

Well, let’s see. In 1976, Jimmy Carter won 93% of the African American vote as well, and in 1980, 94%. Bill Clinton took 91% of it in 1994 and 93% in 1996. The percentage of the votes for Al Gore and John Kerry were each in the high 80s.

African Americans vote Democrat. That’s the long and the short of it. And I think most readers have a pretty good idea why they do that: the politics of equality and outreach, no matter how qualified and constrained, will unfailingly be more attractive to this demographic than the politics of privilege and hate.

But a coda, if I may: why do we all, myself included, so effortlessly fall into the trap of calling Obama “Black?” If he’s half Black and half white, why isn’t he white? The one-drop concept stubbornly clings to life right across the political spectrum: the applicable term here is hypodescent. Want to raise the level of political discourse? Stop talking about “race,” avoid its dangerous vocabulary—but keep talking about racism, and make common cause with the racialized.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on November 12, 2012 10:15 AM.

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