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Seth Stephen-Davidowitz for the NYT:
I performed the somewhat unpleasant task of ranking states and media markets in the United States based on the proportion of their Google searches that included the word “nigger(s).” This word was included in roughly the same number of Google searches as terms like “Lakers,” “Daily Show,” “migraine” and “economist.”
Once I figured out which parts of the country had the highest racially charged search rates, I could test whether Mr. Obama underperformed in these areas. I predicted how many votes Mr. Obama should have received based on how many votes John Kerry received in 2004 plus the average gain achieved by other 2008 Democratic Congressional candidates. The results were striking: The higher the racially charged search rate in an area, the worse Mr. Obama did.
Add up the totals throughout the country, and racial animus cost Mr. Obama three to five percentage points of the popular vote. In other words, racial prejudice gave John McCain the equivalent of a home-state advantage nationally.
Really telling. Direct anyone to this article who denies that racism factors into this race or into commentary regarding President Obama. Racism is not dead in this country. Decades of oppression, slavery, and bigotry do not just disappear. Instituional and social inequities are still so deeply intrenched in this country. We have to continue acknowledging racism and working to fight it.
Reading through my daily slew of news websites it’s hard to ignore the onslaught of articles regarding Obama’s ‘slip’ in an interview during which he said ’The private sector is doing fine’. One in particular, via MSNBC, caught my eye, not because of the issue in particular, rather for a comment on the treatment of the quotation itself. ’In context, the president was noting that the private sector is doing fine IN COMPARISON with the public sector, and the job numbers back that up. But in politics, the context often doesn’t matter.’
Perhaps in the world of sound bites ‘context often doesn’t matter’, but how is it that we have gone from ‘context is everything’ to ‘context often doesn’t matter’. Is this really the current state of media/politics/modern American thought that the greater context of a statement or idea is disregarded for the sake of manipulation in order to ‘win’. Wasn’t there once a time when knowing/researching the entirety of an issue was the standard of legitimacy? The emphasis on the world of ’politics’ is even more interesting because of its connotation that this world is one of its own, separate from some other more objective reality. I could think of no better way to describe this idea of ‘politics’ as arbitrary rule making/enforc(e)ing and power mongering that seems to define what was once Law.
Clearly this is a slippery slope into discussions of Law and the questioning of our mondern way of Being (casual subject matter nbd), but for now I’ll just leave it at this: if ‘context often doesn’t matter’, then what does?
Read the rest of the article here.
As usual, mainstream news media pouncing on the chance to misquote and misrepresent Obama and his “mistakes”…
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