There it is In Black and White

Since I’ve been on the subject of bigotry of various kinds…..

Recent news reports have highlighted academic research that confirms the degree to which animus toward President Obama is based on simple racism. I know that many readers will file this research under “duh,” but the fact that it merely confirms something we felt we knew, rather than telling us something we didn’t know, doesn’t make it any less valid or valuable.

The first study looked specifically at Obama’s election and the rise of the Tea Party.

Researchers at Stanford University found that when they showed white subjects photos of President Barack Obama with darkened skin, those people became more likely to support right-wing political organizations like the Tea Party.

According to the Washington Post, sociologist Robb Willer and his colleagues conducted a series of experiments from 2011 to 2015 in which they demonstrated that some white voters may be driven by unconscious racial biases against people with darker skin.

The study came about when Willard found himself pondering why racist hysteria has ratcheted up in this country since the election of President Obama in 2008. The ranks of white supremacist groups swelled after Obama entered the White House and watchdog groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center report that hate groups have become more active in recent years.

Willard’s study group published their work a few weeks ago on the Social Science Research Network. This research joins previous studies confirming  that racism has been an essential factor in Republican electoral victories.

In another study reported by the Washington Post, researchers from Harvard and Stanford found that racist attitudes remain stronger in areas of the South where slavery was most prominent. Not only was racism harder to eradicate in the counties where slavery had been most integral to the economy, but white Southerners who live today where cotton was king are substantially less likely to identify as Democrats.

Among otherwise similar counties, a difference of 20 percentage points in the enslaved population in 1860 was correlated with a difference of 2.3 percentage points in the share of white Democrats…

Polls consistently show that Republicans are more likely to hold racial prejudices, and not just in the South. Nationally, almost one in five Republicans opposes interracial dating, compared to just one in 20 Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center. While 79 percent of Republicans agree with negative statements about blacks such as the one about slavery and discrimination, just 32 percent of Democrats do, the Associated Press has found.

Other researchers have reached similar conclusions about the present-day composition of the party of Lincoln.

Sears of the University of California has found that even among white voters with equally conservative views on issues unrelated to race, those with more negative views about African Americans are more likely to vote Republican. He and Michael Tesler, a political scientist at the University of California, Irvine, showed that there were many racially conservative white voters who supported John Kerry and President Clinton when they were candidates, but who voted against President Obama.

It is worth emphasizing that–just as all chairs are furniture, but not all furniture items are chairs–the fact that people with racist attitudes are more likely to be Republican is not the same thing as saying all or most Republicans are racists.

But these research findings–which tend to corroborate anecdotal observations–do help explain why Donald Trump’s attacks on “political correctness” and “those people” found enough fertile ground among the GOP base to make him the Republican nominee.

And the research also reminds us why America’s effort to eradicate the legacy of its slave-owning past is such a hard slog.


  1. Might we note that Cleveland, Mississippi just settled a 50-year old case with the Justice apartment re: school segregation.

  2. The vast majority of racists I have known in my 79 years includes my confusing childhood when racists had never met or known people of a different race. Never spoken with them in depth on a meaningful subject, shared a meal, been in their homes or invited them to their homes, children had never played together, and the list goes on. Their racist attitude (often baseless fear) caused them to miss out on finding treasured friends, sharing thoughts and beliefs and, yes, finding a few who deserve their distrust and dislike but it would have been the person – not their skin color. That is true within their own race…or religion, or nationality, etc. and at times which sports team they root for. We have seen the riots on the news.

    I have wondered and at times asked why so many who hate and fear based on dark-skinned races will spend so much money on products to darken their own skin, lay in the sun sweating for hours on end to become tanned to a golden brown, and vacation in sunshine at a high cost for the privilege to tan in expensive vacation spots. Now we have women, seen mostly in the entertainment world, botoxing their lips to make them fuller. They are not even aware they are trying to become who they denigrate at every turn. Donald Trump himself used a spray to darken his skin and became orange…no orange race exists that I know of. But; there is none other like The Donald anywhere that I have seen, he is a race unto himself.

    His supporters support his hatred of anyone different in any VISIBLE way; this brings out the hatred at his rallies. I fear them but have a deeper fear of those who remain hidden till they take action against others. Those of us who have been paying attention to the people surrounding us throughout our lives, are not surprised at the racism against President Obama and his family. Were studies actually needed to find this fact…or do they merely give us a way to find their location, their numbers and report what we already know?

    Sheila’s blog has been providing us with facts, figures, data, information, confirmation and giving us a voice which appears to be spreading. She is often “preaching to the choir” but her choir is growing as shown by frequent new commenters; she has grown from a local voice to one that is national and international. We don’t always agree with her but she doesn’t expect us to; she has always spoken the truth as she sees it (and often proves) and accepts the same from her “blog family”. I voted for her when she was a member of the GOP because of her directness and her stand on issues which turned the GOP against her. I was an Independent voter at that time; we worked for a fine man, Mayor Bill Hudnut who is a Republican but surrounded himself with the best people for the job to run Indianapolis City government; race, religion, nationality and political affiliation didn’t enter into his decision to hire or appoint.

    How and why have we come to where we are today on the issue of race; why have we moved back into the 19th Century rather than into the 21st Century? It cannot all be blamed on Donald Trump; he is merely the catalyst.

  3. Not to get bogged down in off-topic details, but…

    “…agree with negative statements about blacks such as the one about slavery and discrimination, just 32 percent of Democrats do, the Associated Press has found.”


  4. Sheila:

    “The ranks of white supremacist groups swelled after Obama entered the White House and watchdog groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center report that hate groups have become more active in recent years.”

    “In the land of the blind” (Is America that land?) a one-eyed man like Morris Dees the leader of the Southern Poverty Law Center “watchdog group” could be KING and also FILTHY RICH.

    The potentially catastrophic problems we are facing are not only being caused by the NGO’s on the right financed by the Koch Brothers. I would suggest, it would be extremely beneficial for the pro-democracy forces to look into the close relationship between the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. I’ve been doing so for the last 25 years. And it is a major, major problem.

  5. Marv; the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League are not always right, neither are they always wrong. There must be some issues they support that you agree with. Even Charles Manson wasn’t always wrong; he was an environmentalist whose comment “Man is raping the earth.” remains true today – even more so. Like that broken clock; it is correct twice a day.

  6. In other words, how is it, since we have so-called watchdog groups, that ANTI-SEMITIC/RACIST FASCISM could come upon us out of nowhere? Please answer that one for me.


  7. JoAnn,

    “Marv; the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League are not always right, neither are they always wrong. There must be some issues they support that you agree with.”

    I support 99.9% of the issues they support except for 00.1%. The problem is that the 00.1% is killing our democracy. And they are both letting it happen.

  8. I think it’s good to have scientific verification of racism, because Republicans deny that Obama’s race has anything to do with their attitude toward him. Now that I’ve written that sentence it occurs to me that science is unpersuasive to Republicans, so maybe it doesn’t matter. It is good to have what we believe we see verified empirically, though.

    I am prejudiced. I work hard to overcome my prejudices every day, but I can’t do that without admitting to the being prejudiced. If you asked most of those who were deemed racist by the studies if they were prejudiced, I bet they would all say no rather emphatically. You can’t solve a problem you don’t think is a problem.

  9. Pat,

    Unfortunately, we might not have the wherewithal to “come clean” on the BUT. Consequently, we all will pay a hefty price for that one—- Both White and Black as well as Red and Blue.

  10. Technically, one could argue that there is no such thing as race. Since there is only one human race, we are arguing about color only and the negatives we have been taught and/or experienced that correlate with such color. We have also been taught to discriminate against poor and ignorant whites who we consider to be drones on the society and unworthy of our concern. Our history is not just about blacks; what we did to the North American Indians in unforgivable (and continuing), and the history of how we brought in and treated Chinese labor to build our railroad system rivals the treatment of black slaves in the antebellum South.
    There is plenty of blame to go around in our history of treatment of people of different colors, and it is continuing, as Sheila points out, and as I point out to my children and grand children, what would have happened if the Industrial Revolution with its insatiable looms (and Luddites) had happened in the Congo instead of England? Perhaps we white people would have been the enslaved class picking cotton for our black masters. Happenstance plays a role in all this, but at this late date, there is no excuse for blindly discriminating against anyone of any color for any reason.

  11. In paragraph one I wrote “in” unforgivable; it should have read “is” unforgivable. Mea culpa.

  12. The reality in the U.S. is if you want to REALLY “tackle” racism you’re going to probably sign your own death warrant. Some of you might have seen that phenomenon by perusing my site http://www.KillingtheMessenger where I explain author John Grisham’s CODED threats of assassination in “The Chamber” if I continued my efforts to expose anti-Semitism and racism in Jacksonville like we successfully did in Dallas.

  13. Marv: re your question –

    In other words, how is it, since we have so-called watchdog groups, that ANTI-SEMITIC/RACIST FASCISM could come upon us out of nowhere? Please answer that one for me.

    Even though we have watchdog groups I don’t think they have any power at all to stop bigotry. They may be able to expose it, but the bigots will never admit to their bigotry. The white male leaders in our country never would admit to it in public, but I believe it is very safe to assume that conversations behind closed doors are deeply bigoted. They pass along their bigotry to their wives and children and those are the people that have less of a tendency to hide it from the public.

  14. Whether Obama is portrayed with dark skin , OR white skin he is STILL a right/left wing Illuminati Globalist puppet.
    Just as with Hillbillary – she is a Republican born and bred in Illinois. She met up with a southern Democratic CONSERVEATIVE , and the rest is history.
    Check her involvement with her husband , the Bush’s , and Mena , ARK.

  15. Gerald; you made many good points regarding this country’s discrimination of races which continues today, there are other dark chapters in our history involving discrimination which were non-racist.

    The execution of Private Eddie Slovic during WWII; his IQ was barely above normal level, he should never have been drafted. He became separated from his platoon during heavy gunfire and loss of lives; he wandered till he found another unit and explained his situation. The officers contacted higher-ups to report where Private Slovic was and why. He was later arrested, charged with desertion and executed – later proven that he was not a deserter but his widow was never compensate for his loss.

    The sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis by a Japanese submarine after delivering part of the atomic bomb and while returning to base is a particularly ugly story. Never reported as missing or even noticed they were 5 days overdue, they were accidentally spotted by a plane searching for signs of the enemy. More than 900 United States Sailors lost their lives; many eaten by sharks. The ship sank in approximately 12 minutes, survivors struggled with serious injuries, the elements as well as the sharks. After their rescue their captain; Captain Charles McVey, was arrested by U. S. Navy and the U.S. Military and court martialed. He had been told that zig-zagging on the return trip was up to his discretion but there had been no sign of the enemy in recent days. He chose the straight route to return quicker. At the court martial, the U.S. Military prosecutors brought the commander of the Japanese sub which had torpedoed them to testify against Captain McVey. He said the moon was so bright that zig-zagging would NOT have saved them. Captain McVey was court martialed and later committed suicide. No racism in either of these cases – simply military cover up trying to hide their own errors.

    Allowing Donald Trump to flourish and supported by one party of this government is allowing a home-grown enemy the right to possibly become the most powerful leader in the free world. What can we call this; multi-racial genocide due to the number of races Trump is determined to destroy? We obviously need to coin a new phrase to describe whatever the hell is going on here.

  16. The evidence of racist hatred for POTUS is simple and accurate. However, no one who defends POTUS entertains the possibility that objections to his proposals is anything but racism. I find that people unable to discuss the problems in his policies throw out the charge of racism to guard their own ignorance. Stand up and debate the issues on their own merits or rationalize, “probably just some racist tea-party nut!”

  17. Nancy,

    As usual, like JoAnn you know how to “hit the nose on the target.” I don’t think at any time or place bigotry is going to be erased. But we’re facing CRAZY BIGOTRY. And we have to do everything we can to restore SANITY. The Germans didn’t in the 30’s and look what happened to them.

    They at least had a “lame” excuse that they didn’t know what was going to be the “End Game.” They found it out the hard way when the Russians put it to them. We don’t have that luxury since history has already taught us that lesson.

  18. We need more public discourse with facts and studies on racism to have a basis of agreement but it is obvious to me that when we got our first Black President, it started before Barak Obama was front and center on the National stage. When George Bush stole two elections, beginning in 2000, we witnessed the desparation of white men who have controlled world governments in their struggle to acknowledge that their power-hold in America was coming to an end. Now that we will most likely have a woman in the White House, these same men, and their legions of discriminatory whites will challenge anything and everything she does. Do we have to go this way, with power-addicted men still steering the country into a tailspin, going backward instead of moving forward to a truly egalitarian-controlled, intelligent and thinking leadership? Is the total destruction of our government going to happen before or after the old, angry white guys die out? Or are all reasonable and intelligent people going to prevail? The world trends support a right-wing backlash in countries like Sweden, Germany, France and America but we have total responsiblity for turning it around and making this world survive the destructive forces of racism! The Tea Party is funded by uber rich Koch Brothers and others who control oil and refineries. Get rid of the excessive profits and starve them because their main goal is to profit even more with their refining business by getting rid of the EPA. They know Hillary will enforce the EPA environmental standards so if you think back, these guys are the driving force and they use racism as a method to hold onto control of energy resources. Where the most war is in the world is also the place where oil profits are monopolized by the tribal, Saudi family, so we need to start acknowledging that ISIS was born when those of the so-called “royal” family excluded their population from sharing the wealth and control of their oil resources. That they say they are anti-western in ideology, mostly, they are rebelling against not being included in the growth of an economy that is inclusive. Let us not make those mistakes here because the growing discontent of the young men against our own government has siezed on acting out against the lack of power-sharing, and we could wind up with possibly the worst President if the anti-female racists get their way and defeat Hillary Clinton. It is encumbant upon all of we women not to discriminate against our own sex but how do you change the preference for men controlling everything? Vote for the most capable woman leader ever to grace America with her presence and inclusionary policies and attitudes. Adopt the country and nurture it to a healing place where we can value female values over money and power because if we don’t, the alternative is continued destruction of our democratic institutions.

  19. Marv,

    “They at least had a “lame” excuse that they didn’t know what was going to be the “End Game.” They found it out the hard way when the Russians put it to them. We don’t have that luxury since history has already taught us that lesson.”

    Have we really learned that lesson? I am not so sure.

  20. Marv,

    Actually, I think bigotry is either getting worse or is just more out in the open. I tend to think that it is getting worse because the white population in this country sees their power waning and is fighting tooth and nail to hang on to that power.

  21. Greetings Nancy. You are right, bigotry is getting worse and it is as nasty on one side as it is on the other.

  22. When I was a returning adult student at IUPUI 30 years ago, I took an excellent course called something like Black American Slavery or American Chattel Slavery, and have continued to read on the subject ever since. There has been an explosion of research. (My husband and I are fairly well-read, but are constantly astonished at how much we DON’T know.) The point of racism is the classic technique of elites: Divide and conquer. Poor whites in the south were denied decent jobs because slaves had to do those jobs for free. By teaching poor whites to be racists, they could feel superior, and it prevented the two groups from working together for their common good. It still works that way.

  23. Ken Glass – you have a valid complaint that defenders of PBO tend to dismiss criticism as being motivated purely by racism. To try to avoid being one of those people, I ask why they disagree or what they find objectionable. If they can give me an answer, even one that I believe is wrong, that’s okay. The ones who can’t answer need to be examining the basis for their dislike.

  24. Marv, Morris Dees is one of my heroes. What is the 00.1% that is problematical, and how (and why) is it killing our democracy?

  25. Ginny F,

    There is nothing problematical about the 00.1%. It is as certain as “death.” Both Morris Dees of SPLC and his partner Abraham Foxman of the ADL have knowingly kept secret the depth of the Anti-Semitic and Racial problems in the U.S. No doubt to do so would have created serious problems for them both.

    But they have no excuse from actively preventing others from doing so. I’m going to lunch and will be back in a few hours.

  26. I don’t think I’m a racist though I often and recently think I’m a misanthrope. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry reawakened the misanthropy I felt with the intrusion of George W. Bush and Mike Pence into my otherwise peaceful nonagenarian existence in Hoosierworld. Carly Fiorina was the catalyst that launched me into sexism. “Gentle” Ben Carson relieved some of the contempt I felt for Clarence Thomas. What about Donald Trump?

    Is anyone else out there scared that some of these people and more will be part of the new administration next year? Can you tell I’m going to vote straight Democrat ticket in November?

    God bless Barak Obama for a job well done.

  27. Breaking news: MSNBC is reporting Donald Trump has a 3 point lead over Hillary. Is this enough to get us to pull together and let go of our petty differences. And don’t they now appear petty next to this information?

    Trump is going to win because the Republicans are smarter than the Democrats and Independents combined (combined in numbers only, not in mutual support) who are arguing over which group Trump is more bigoted against – he is against ALL OF US WHO ARE NOT SUPPORTING HIM. They are working together, they are better organized, they don’t even care that their candidate is an idiot who has been a national embarrassment for years and is named Donald Trump. The see us floundering and they laugh.

  28. I have posited before that much of the good as well as the bad, not to mention most of what’s functional vs dysfunctional about the human race, can be explained as degrees of empathy.

    Perhaps another perspective on the same thing is competitiveness.

    Probably many of us have participated in friendly games of any kind between friends and family and enjoyed laughter among likes at both the athletically good and bad that ensued.

    Put uniforms on them and the mood shifts from friends and family to us vs them.

    To me that change comes about when people realize that “my success” is tied to “their failure”.

    Now I think (which is not the same as Sheila’s data) that if I took all of my acquaintances and lined them up as to how competitive they see life being, conservatives would stand out at one end and liberals would correlate with the other.

    If any of that is remotely true than an obstacle to empathy is how people view the success of others. Do “they” get a bigger piece at “my” (our) expense or does the pie grow?

    In the case of white male undereducated Americans whom data has shown to be the source of much of Donald’s support, the view is that their heaping helping of Americana is being consumed by others.

    And they’re wearing different uniforms.

  29. JoAnn:
    Not to worry – voters are stupid only rarely. The debating is about to begin and the polls will have their ups and downs until November.
    May our voting then unseat the flatulent.
    Tune in to the GOP Platform Committee meetings.

  30. Here’s metadata about the election.

    It’s become a referendum about entitlement with Donald representing those who don’t believe in demographics and are competing against its inevitability vs those rooting for growth of the whole pie.

    Too close to be comfortable.

    The GOP’s two decade long character assassination of Hillary is starting to pay off for them now that the pretenders have been eliminated.

    The real data though must come from the electoral college map rather than the popular vote map.

    Not as but still too close for comfort.

    Of course we know that Donald is even now reinventing and representing himself as Presidential, a trait the Hillary has never demonstrated effectively.

  31. JoAnn, I wouldn’t worry about an MSNBC poll. The polls never seem to be accurate. It just seems like a pitiful excuse to have something to fill up air time.

    There is much time between now and November for the candidates to convince voters whom to vote for. Many of my friends who were vocal Trump supporters no longer post anything on fb or talk about him. Many have said they just won’t vote this fall and that is a very good thing.

  32. Back to Ginny F

    my response: “No doubt to do so would have created serious problems for them both.”

    correct response: “No doubt to do OTHERWISE would have created serious problems for both of them.

  33. OMG and Nancy; I hope both of you are right but I stand by my 2nd paragraph. Republican candidates stopped fighting among themselves, dropped off one by one and now are supporting Trump with the party beginning to get in line. We continue to nit-pick; Bernie supporters won’t vote for Hillary, Hillary supporters won’t vote for Bernie, some will write-in their pick, some will sit out this election. Some have even said they will vote for Trump if either of our candidates is the nominee. Meanwhile; what is going on with the state level elections which are as important as the presidential this year? Even if either of our candidates wins the presidency; without Democrats in Congress we will continue to stagnate – no matter the color of our skin, our sexual orientation, which religion we follow or if we ignore them all. We are floundering and Republicans are laughing.

    Consider the disagreements on this blog alone and expand it to the state and national reaches.

  34. We all struggle to be on a winning team. That’s the power of power, the universal attraction to it.

    It takes a huge dose of intellectual self control to step away from that and consider the real, complete consequences of our choices.

    I have never been a single issue voter until now. And that transition doesn’t come from not being vitally interested in many forms of progress but the fact that we have backed ourselves into a corner of one overwhelming existential threat today.

    If we don’t stop dumping fossil fuel waste into our only atmosphere we won’t be able to live here any longer, at least most of us won’t, and we don’t have anywhere else to go.

    That would be the legacy and consequence of any President who denies climate science.

  35. Where are the professors and alumni who sponsor fellowships at schools, colleges, institutes, universities, industries in race sciences and arts since 1492 inclusively? Most deans cannot even discern differences among journalists’ works and “English” as regards any copy materials? I would not hire a student to babysit even one day with vocabulary choices so narrow as that after billions spent on Education at public schools for textbooks and tests alone since 1916.

  36. Today’s crash of Egyptair flight 804 makes it glaringly obvious why we need a strong, level-headed leader of the USA now and in the future. That completely eliminates Donald Trump now and in the future. We can only imagine….

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