Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Who are the White Ethnic Voters?

MSNBC political pundits are, as I write, refering to a class of voters in Ohio and other states, as Ethnic White voters. What in hell are Ethnic White Voters? On the MSNBC web site, it notes that exit polls suggest that "white, blue collar and older voters" are trending toward Clinton whereas African Americans are voting for Obama. In short, for the most part, Whites go for Clinton and Blacks for Obama. These are, of course, overlapping descriptive terms since a single person could be white, blue collar, and old.

I already knew that America is a racist country with Blacks being every bit as racist if not more racist than Whites. The difference in this election is I suspect that a greater percentage of Whites are voting for Obama than would be true of Blacks in regard to Clinton. These Whites would, of course, be liberals. This tendency is magnified by Obama's seeming to be the more liberal candidate. The more extreme liberals would be anti-Clinton since Bill moved the party toward the center when he was President, which accounts both for his getting elected and the successes he had as President. Much to the chagrin of Republicans, Clinton stole some of their most basic tenets -- free trade, balanced budgets (forget that Reagan and W have been pro-deficit -- Reagan was a Reagan conservative (no taxes for the rich) and W is a neocon, a very different kind of rat), and the like. So, now you know why White liberals don't like Hilary. She isn't noticeably liberal (any more).

But that brings me back to the intriguing concept of the Ethnic White. There was a time when I saw Italian Americans and Irish Americans as classic cases of Ethnic Whites -- Whites who maintain their ethnic identity. I don't think that this is what the pundits on MSNBC have in mind exactly.

These pundits also speak of Working Class Whites. At this point, I am massively confused. Are Working Class Whites the same as Ethnic Whites or different? Historically, Ethnic Whites did tend to hold blue collar jobs back when such jobs existed. I think that these MSNBC pundits are using "Ethnic White" to refer to what are sometimes called "Red Necks." Nowhere in these discussions is there any reference to "Whites who continue to be fairly racist" but we all know that there are still plenty of them around -- indeed, they abound in Ohio. As I write this, I am no longer watching the political coverage because there is a competing Ohio State basketball game to watch so I don't know how Ohio will go. I am betting we can expect our Ethnic Whites to make the difference for Hillary. There is an irony here -- no President has been as pro-Black as Bill Clinton but now, assuming I haven't totally misread the situation, the historic White racists are voting for Hillary. That's okay by me since gobs of Black racists are voting for Obama.

I hope I have been reasonably coherent. It is hard to compose prose and watch a basketball game at the same time.

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Blogger concerned citizen said...

So that explains what happened in Texas. Interesting.

1:02 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Except for my blog,the whole damn country is in a state of denial as to how it might be that 90% of Blacks vote for Obama and our "ethnic whites" are voting White. Interestingly in one exit poll in Ohio said that Whites said they voted along racial lines. The press has decided not to "explain the news" to us in this case, their normal self-appointed duty, for fear that anything they said would be majorly inflammatory. I am guessing that Hillary will take Pennsylvania for the same reasons she took Ohio. The only hope for the Democrats is for a ticket of Obama and Clinton.

3:56 PM

Blogger Nick Wright said...

Thanks for your post.

A lot of this has been on mind recently as well. "Ethnic" is a word that doesn't have much real meaning, so it's hard to cut through the codewords of the media sometimes. I watch CNN, and it seems apparent that everyone is following the "ethnic white" lead, when, as you point out, it's probably just a metaphor for racist.

Well, it's no secret that some blacks don't agree with some of the loftier goals of the Democratic party (i.e. abortion and gay rights,) so I guess it should be no surprise that there are also whites among us who similarly vote Democratic only out of self-interest. Still, it's a pretty sad statement about the shape of the party.

4:21 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Thanks for your post. I suspect we will hear more about this notion after the PA primary.

4:56 PM

Blogger STEVE said...

is "fairly racist" an oxymoron ?

11:27 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

I think there are degrees of racist animosity both with respect to how strongly it is felt and how it is manifested.

11:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're the language guy, shouldn't you know that it's impossible by definition for a black person in America to be racist? A racist is a member of the race with the most power in a society who thinks less of a race with less power.

11:29 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Jake, a racist is by definition someone who is biased against persons of other races. Obviously Blacks can be biased against Whites as in tending to think the worst of Whites. We see this in the assumption that if a White takes an action against the interests of a Black (not hiring him, firing him, arresting him, whatever) it is due to White racism rather than the merits of the case. This is the White man as Devil theory, which is as racist as you can get.

12:42 AM


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