Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Popular Overall Than They Actually Are

This Byron York post is being linked everywhere because it contains one of the most fascinating comments I've ever heard on race. It's not a throwaway line -- it's standing right there in thesis-statement position at the end of the first paragraph:
On his 100th day in office, Barack Obama enjoys high job approval ratings, no matter what poll you consult. But if a new survey by the New York Times is accurate, the president and some of his policies are significantly less popular with white Americans than with black Americans, and his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are.
"more popular overall than they actually are"? Usually, racism doesn't push people to say things that are flatly contradictory. Though we might be able to make it consistent if we take a racialized version of Brian Weatherson's view and assume that black people have non-actual modal parts while white people are wholly actual. It'll be hard to reliably poll people's non-actual modal parts, but that's never stopped Zogby before.

The real issue here is that York doesn't regard black people's input in the political process as having the same legitimacy as white people's. That's the only way you end up saying crazy stuff like that.
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