I was reading a pretty thoughtful article by Selena Zito via RCP. I have no idea what Selena's politics are from reading this article - which is actually impressive these days. But there are these recurring racial breakdowns that keep popping up in all of the media, and it bugs me. And I think its coming into focus here.
It started when I read this sentence:
After the 2008 election, he began losing white voters almost immediately.Now most on the left, and most in the media are on the left, would read this statement as "white" voters turning on a black president because they're "white". Now they've done this before by extending the context to policies that favor government money flowing to the poor ... and the poor are presumably black, and that's why "white" voters turn on, say, Bill Clinton. It's just more convenient now with a black president (half black, half white, but I digress) because it cuts most of the strained rationalization out of the equation.
So that's what always pops into people's heads, largely because that's the way it is typically presented ... that "white" voters vote as some sort of block for "white" interests. Whites may have helped vote the black man into office, but they quickly returned to their true "racist" roots.
Sometimes the white vote breaks for democrats, sometimes it breaks for republicans. When that happens, and I'll be generous here, it's typically 60/40 or closer. But ... the flip side of this equation is rarely mentioned. Black voters do vote in an almost monolithic block for democrats. Every. Single time. It's around 90%, and it doesn't change much. It went up a bit for Obama. But when you hear that Obama is losing support from black voters that just means it's down from 95% to maybe 92% or 90% or maybe even an appallingly low 89%.
Now... who is voting on the basis of race?
But the media insists on mental calisthenics to rationalize the race narrative. For instance, if you're critical of Islam, you're a racist. But of course, Islam isn't a race. It's a religion, a worldview. Yes, most of its adherents are not of European descent, but that is an artifact of history and geography, not of any manufactured racial divide. The races that make up the global Muslim congregation range from Polynesian to Arab to Indian to Oriental. If worldviews cannot be challenged because they reveal some sort of racial bias, civilization is in big, big trouble over the long haul (and demonstrably in the short haul as well).
If you're a conservative black man, for instance, Thomas Sowell or Clarence Thomas or Bob Parks or Larry Elder or Herman Cain or Condeleza Rice or Col West or any of a host of others ... you've somehow sold out to "whiteness" if you don't vote with the black block and instead go along with the wrong "half" of the "white block".
And then there's "white hispanic".
See how ridiculous this gets?
But let's turn to the supposed "white" block. Who is in it? What is "white"? When we break down votes for analytical purposes, where do Asians get counted? Oh. With "whites". How about the Indian vote? Again, with "whites". Polynesians. "White". Well there are a few groups that are clearly racially different from the presumed European descent that apparently "whites" haven't alienated over the color of their skin. Until recently, Hispanics were lumped with "white", and it's the illegal immigration problem (or "solution", if you look at it from a political point of view ... if you can buy a few million votes from a block, you can turn a close election -- and this, after all, is what identity politics is really about).
If you look around you, with few exceptions, it's very clear that "white" America has no problem with people who "look" different because they "look" different.
It's more because they act different. It's culture, not race.
A nation cannot long exist as a unit without something of a cohesive culture. America has proven to be very adaptable when it comes to absorbing bits of other cultures ... into its own as immigrants themselves melt into ours. But the error of multiculturalism is that it is ultimately incompatible with a nation. If you don't identify as American first (no, "American" isn't a race, it's an idea, a worldview, a culture) and then as someone who came from a particular ancestry (which again, race shouldn't really have a lot to do with it ... culture, on the other hand, yes) then multiculturalism is pretty much a convenient way to fracture us into separate blocks to target with political power against each other. We can thank FDR for mastering this in the 1930's, and we've been increasingly stuck with it ever since.
We've always had Americans of a more statist bent and Americans of a more libertarian bent, from the very beginning. That had nothing to do with race, and the divide is still there among "white" voters, sloshing back and forth with the squishy middle -- and that squishy middle is what the divide and conquer tactics of identity politics is all about.