"No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby Goat Fan » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:26 am

George Parker responds to Coates:

https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2017/ ... nt/539976/

tl;dr Racism is a thing but it's by no means the only thing.

When you construct an entire teleology on one cause—even a cause as powerful and abiding as white racism—you face the temptation to leave out anything that complicates the thesis. So Coates minimizes sexism—Trump’s disgusting language and the visceral hatred of many of his supporters for Hillary Clinton—background noise. He downplays xenophobia, even though foreigners were far more often the objects of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policy proposals than black Americans. (Of all his insults, the only one Trump felt obliged to withdraw was his original foray into birtherism.) Coates doesn’t try to explain why, at one point in the campaign, a plurality of Republicans supported Ben Carson over the other nine candidates, all white. He omits the weird statistic that slightly more black and Latino voters and slightly fewer whites went for Trump than for Mitt Romney. He doesn’t even mention the estimated eight and a half million Americans who voted for President Obama and then for Trump—even though they made the difference. No need to track the descending nihilism of the Republican Party. The urban-rural divide is a sham.
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby Juan » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:38 am

I think even Coates would say that there is more to the world than racism. But when I see this kind of passage, I feel like asking, "were you listening to the Dude's story?"

Coates doesn’t try to explain why, at one point in the campaign, a plurality of Republicans supported Ben Carson over the other nine candidates, all white. He omits the weird statistic that slightly more black and Latino voters and slightly fewer whites went for Trump than for Mitt Romney. He doesn’t even mention the estimated eight and a half million Americans who voted for President Obama and then for Trump—even though they made the difference.


I don't think guys like Packer are engaging with the thrust of Coates' argument about white supremacy as a national narrative or paradigm, not just a feature of voters' personalities. This point is that a white-black binary can be meaningful and compelling without manifesting itself as just explicit, conscious racial animosity toward black people. That doesn't mean guys like Parker have no grounds to stand on when they push for consideration of factors beyond race, because analytically you definitely need more tools when you get into the weeds of politics and policy. But in terms of broad social commentary, some really incisive thinkers seem surprisingly unable or unwilling to grapple with the implications of whiteness as a structure of meaning that has shaped American history and continues to shape contemporary politics. If Coates' metaphysics of racism isn't their particular brand of vodka, they could understand the assertion in more concretely materialist or empiricist terms as saying that American politics is fundamentally shaped by the mobilization of ingroup and outgroup sentiment (and they could find plenty of support for that kind of argument in social/evolutionary psychology, sociology, political science) and the most proven, effective way to create solidarity among white American voters is through an identity grounded in the distinction between white and black.

As for nonwhite support for Trump and Obama voters who swung his way, well of course there is nuance and variety in social facts. White supremacy is a great vehicle for authoritarianism and toxic masculinity, for starters. I would guess either or both of those two aspects of Trump's candidacy appealed to the relatively idiosyncratic personality/ideological profile of nonwhite Trump voters. And Obama was a once in a generation talent and political phenomenon who came up at an opportune time. Mitt Romney was not. It's not particularly surprising that Trump hit some resonant notes that Romney did not, beyond just the racist ones.
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby corn diesel » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:46 pm

Juan wrote:
Ian, how fictional is Trump's 10% drop in approval ratings since taking office?


Scarily, possibly about as fictional as that massive polling disadvantage he had prior to the election.


On the one hand, I think it's worth acknowledging the validity of your concern here. Clearly, polling has masked the true sentiments of the electorate in a very scary way.

On the other hand, I think it's worth pointing out that at this point in Obama's first term, he was far more popular than Trump: http://www.newsweek.com/trumps-approval-rating-vs-obama-opposite-first-term-donald-bad-646804. And if that poll was distorted by efforts at social desirability, Obama still won another term. I'd say that's a fairly important and unequivocal data point.

Also, at risk of making an overly facile observation myself, your facile dismissal of these approval numbers seems in line with a tendency to label information we don't want to believe as "fake news."
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby boyeece » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:51 am

Thought that this was a compelling critique of Coates (and Mark Lilla, easier target). It's from a socialist perspective, so that may not sit with all of y'all...

https://www.viewpointmag.com/2017/09/11 ... cf9f61bcfe
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby stormin mormon » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:18 am

I don't always think Bouie gets to the heart of things but I don't think this requires getting to the heart of it. There is a line in a book I love "Matterhorn" about how basically everyone is racist, the key is not acting with or being prejudiced. The sort of stuff that Bouie points out in this article suggests, I think, that many people who think they aren't racist are (of course) but more dangerously are also making decisions based on that prejudice that unfairly target one group of people.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/09/the_wealth_gap_between_whites_and_blacks_is_widening.html

The idea that minority candidates for admission or for jobs are taking jobs unfairly is still VERY strong in almost every parent group I know and so many people I work with. I imagine it is still very widespread in all kinds of industries and held by people that don't consider themselves racist and who didn't vote for Donald Trump. Except that maybe they did.
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby Juan » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:29 pm

Also, at risk of making an overly facile observation myself, your facile dismissal of these approval numbers seems in line with a tendency to label information we don't want to believe as "fake news."


I hate the fake news term. I think it should be fully reserved for stuff generate by bots and complete trolls. And I don't disregard polling as a tool, I'm just saying particularly with the now well documented phenomenon of the shy Trump voter, polls are not reliable. And I'm not saying Trump is a slam dunk. I don't think you need to show that he is bullet proof to prove Coates' thesis about the power of whiteness. Obama was one of the more politically and rhetorically gifted people we will see in our lifetimes. Trump is one of the least impressive individuals ever to rise to the level of national politics. I don't think we should expect their numbers to track each other.

I don't dismiss the fact that he already has and likely will over the long run lose some of the voters from his 2016 win, if for no other reason than most people disappoint once in office. But I think he has a hard floor of around 40% of the electorate. That Trump core constituency is incredibly solid and he knew it way before the rest of us when he said he could go out on 5th avenue and shoot someone and not lose their support. I don't think he will lose their support when he fails to deliver on policy because he can always feed them good rhetoric, the kind that makes it a little easier to get up in the morning knowing that your government thinks you are intrinsically more valuable than lots of other people. Trump's let them eat cake is let them eat hate.

I think it's funny when socialists lament grand theories. I mean, I think i've established that I don't have any particular love for unfettered capitalism, but socialist critiques always feel so sterile to me. That said, I like that article, Boyce. But I think MLK is an interesting prism for thinking about all of these pieces. Lilla invokes a bland, officially approved white nostalgic version of King. Coates refers to the way that nostalgia forgets King's broader critique of the metaphysics of race. And Haider sidelines that metaphysics to point out his socialist, materialist agenda. The point is that the theology/metaphysics go alongside the politics and practice of social change (Coates and Haider are both right, Lilla remains horrible).
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby Juan » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:50 pm

By the way, in case there's any confusion: Love you Tommy Salami.
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby corn diesel » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:54 pm

I love you too, Ian. So, so much.

Anyway, I think there's an effort here on Coates' part to oversimplify things in order to make sure no progressive strays from focusing on the victimhood his people experience due to racism and white supremacy. There's something reminiscent in his piece of unproductive debates about whose had it worse - the blacks or the Jews or the Native Americans or the immigrants from browner parts of the world. Not that blue collar Trump voters belong in a comparison with those groups, but you don't need to prove Trump voters have it good (which many don't) to prove the existence of your own injustice. And I think it's vitally important not to oversimplify how the disenfranchisement of many whites connects to their willingness to vote for a white supremacist. I think there's a very complicated path to that decision, and if we uncritically revert back to a simpler narrative that's emotionally easier than complicating the enemy, we do more harm than good.
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby dyoung » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:04 pm

i didn't really get into that much of this stuff with him, but i did interview tnc this week: http://deadspin.com/deadspin-interview- ... 1821996749
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby stormin mormon » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:25 pm

BAM!!

Dyoung, that is some great stuff, thanks for posting that on here as I probably wouldn't have come across it otherwise. Keep up the great work!
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby Goat Fan » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:38 pm

Oooo, dyoung mic drop!
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Re: "No, Trump voters (whites) really are racist after all"

Postby Goat Fan » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:52 pm

From the comments section:

Plankton's Army > Dennis Young
1/11/18 4:21pm

Dennis, your two articles before this are about ordering bacon on a veggie burger, and the shoe company Brooks, whatever the hell that is.

Who are you? How in the living hell do you go from that to an interview with TA-NEHISI COATES? Are you two friends or something? This was one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve gotten in the past 7ish years of refreshing this damn website. Well done.

(also that may have come off jokingly, but I’m actually serious...who are you?)

Dennis Young > Plankton's Army
1/11/18 5:59pm

This is a fair question, I rarely write because I edit our esports vertical. If you’ve been reading the site for years, I’ve contributed to it occasionally since 2015. As for how the interview happened, I read his new book over Christmas, talked to Barry about a possible angle for an interview, emailed Coates, his publicist emailed me the next day, and he called me a week later. That’s really it. I’m sure he has no idea who I am but he’s a known Deadspin reader.
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