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White threat in a browning America: How demographic change is fracturing our politics.


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In 2016, Donald Trump wielded that same sense of change as a threat; he was the revanchist voice of those who yearned to make America the way it was before, to make it great again. That was the impulse that connected the wall to keep Mexicans out, the ban to keep Muslims away, the birtherism meant to prove Obama couldn’t possibly be a legitimate president. An America that would elect Donald Trump president was an America in which a future was being written that could read thrillingly similar to our past.

 

This is the core cleavage of our politics, and it reflects the fundamental reality of our era: America is changing, and fast. According to the Census Bureau, 2013 marked the first yearthat a majority of US infants under the age of 1 were nonwhite. The announcement, made during the second term of the nation’s first African-American president, was not a surprise. Demographers had been predicting such a tipping point for years, and they foresaw more to come.

 

Another way to say that is it’s often our perception of race and power that matters. In that case, though, most Americans feel the browning of America is happening even faster than the demographers report. Back in 2013, the Center for American Progress, PolicyLink, and the Rockefeller Foundation surveyed Americans and found that the median participant believed the country was 49 percent nonwhite; the correct answer was 37 percent.

 

You might assume, seeing all this, that the reason for the racialization of American politics under Obama’s presidency was that Obama, being African American, discussed racial issues and put forward race-conscious policies more often than past president. You’d be wrong. “According to content analyses conducted by political and communication scientists, Barack Obama actually discussed race less in his first term than any other Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt,” writes Tesler.

 

Obama’s presidency didn’t force race to the forefront of American politics through rhetoric or action but through symbolism: Obama himself was a symbol of a changing America, of white America’s loss of power, of the fact that the country was changing and new groups were gaining power. That perception wasn’t incorrect: In his 2012 reelection campaign, Obama won merely 39 percent of the white vote — a smaller share than Michael Dukakis had commanded in 1988. That is to say, a few decades ago, the multiracial Obama coalition couldn’t drive American politics; by 2012, it could.

 

 

 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/7/30/17505406/trump-obama-race-politics-immigration

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Demographers can and do disagree over whether these projections will hold. Perhaps Hispanic whites will begin identifying simply as whites in the coming years, much as the Irish became white in the 20th century. Race is what we make of it, and what we make of it shifts and mutates.

Suck it @SFLUFAN

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8 hours ago, RedSoxFan9 said:

 

I don't believe you're doing this yourself so please don't take this personally, but this kind of poopooing of people's fears annoys me a bit. The guy can't seem to believe that people might be afraid of someone who is different than them, or being a bit afraid of the unknown, when we've spent thousands of years of our evolutionary history doing just that. Obviously the time for that is over and it's time to move on to a multicultural society free of fear of "the other". But to find it hard to believe that this still happens reminds me of people who just can't fucking believe that someone has never seen Star Wars or something. :P 

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33 minutes ago, Nokra said:

I don't believe you're doing this yourself so please don't take this personally, but this kind of poopooing of people's fears annoys me a bit. The guy can't seem to believe that people might be afraid of someone who is different than them, or being a bit afraid of the unknown, when we've spent thousands of years of our evolutionary history doing just that. Obviously the time for that is over and it's time to move on to a multicultural society free of fear of "the other". But to find it hard to believe that this still happens reminds me of people who just can't fucking believe that someone has never seen Star Wars or something. :P 

Nah. They're afraid because they work a low wage job non English speakers do just as well.

 

It's like language isn't a metric for intelligence. Sad!

 

 

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5 hours ago, Nokra said:

I don't believe you're doing this yourself so please don't take this personally, but this kind of poopooing of people's fears annoys me a bit. The guy can't seem to believe that people might be afraid of someone who is different than them, or being a bit afraid of the unknown, when we've spent thousands of years of our evolutionary history doing just that. Obviously the time for that is over and it's time to move on to a multicultural society free of fear of "the other". But to find it hard to believe that this still happens reminds me of people who just can't fucking believe that someone has never seen Star Wars or something. :P 

 

 

I think the statement is calling out news outlets for allowing themselves to be dragged into the realm of euphemising racism.

 

"Demographic anxiety" is a pretty blatant way of candy coating "they fuckin racist".

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9 minutes ago, Chairslinger said:

 

 

I think the statement is calling out news outlets for allowing themselves to be dragged into the realm of euphemising racism.

 

"Demographic anxiety" is a pretty blatant way of candy coating "they fuckin racist".

 

 

Maybe they're racist. Probably they are, since I think we all are to some degree. :p But that's just it, it seems to me that saying they have "demographic anxiety" is an attempt to distinguish between their "light" racism (fearing the unfamiliar) and hooded cross-burners. :p One can say "well if you're even a little bit racist, you're racist" and while true from a certain point of view, there are major differences in the behavioral consequences of each type, IMO. 

 

Maybe I'm trying to give them more credit than they're due, and we should call a spade a spade. I just didn't want to assume that someone is a secret Nazi simply because they are afraid of change. :p 

 

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1 hour ago, Nokra said:

 

 

Maybe they're racist. Probably they are, since I think we all are to some degree. :p But that's just it, it seems to me that saying they have "demographic anxiety" is an attempt to distinguish between their "light" racism (fearing the unfamiliar) and hooded cross-burners. :p One can say "well if you're even a little bit racist, you're racist" and while true from a certain point of view, there are major differences in the behavioral consequences of each type, IMO. 

 

Maybe I'm trying to give them more credit than they're due, and we should call a spade a spade. I just didn't want to assume that someone is a secret Nazi simply because they are afraid of change. :p 

 

It's almost like there aren't any historical precedents for groups using this type of fear to justify horrible atrocities or something... like the actual Nazis themselves.

 

Racism at any degree leads to bad things happening and no... "we're not all racist ". We all may have some prejudices and we all may have some fear of the unfamiliar,  but that's different from racism.

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1 minute ago, skillzdadirecta said:

It's almost like there aren't any historical precedents for groups using this type of fear to justify horrible atrocities or something... like the actual Nazis themselves.

 

Racism at any degree leads to bad things happening and no... "we're not all racist ". We all may have some prejudices and we all may have some fear on the unfamiliar,  but that's different from racism.

I didn't say or mean to imply that there weren't negative consequences of even "light" racism. You're right though, what I've been calling "'light' racism" could better be described as "prejudice". A good point, thanks. I hoped I was being clear where I stand on this from the beginning, where I said I think we need to work to move beyond this fear as a society. And obviously racists can fuck right off. 

 

I was simply trying to draw a humorous comparison between people who can't believe that people are still prejudiced and people who can't believe that someone hasn't seen Star Wars. To me, both seem to be living under a rock. To be fair, one could now say that I've been living under a rock for thinking that people wouldn't still have difficulty believing that people are prejudiced. :p 

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57 minutes ago, Chairslinger said:

 

 

I think the statement is calling out news outlets for allowing themselves to be dragged into the realm of euphemising racism.

 

"Demographic anxiety" is a pretty blatant way of candy coating "they fuckin racist".

 

Yes, this is the point.

 

It’s also worth noting that publications like the Washington post know what they are doing and aren’t being passively dragged into this nonsense. 

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1 minute ago, RedSoxFan9 said:

 

Yes, this is the point.

 

It’s also worth noting that publications like the Washington post know what they are doing and aren’t being passively dragged into this nonsense. 

Because we've somehow entered an era where calling a racist a racist is more offensive than racists doing and saying racist shit. It's crazy.

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