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Race and the South

  • Nov. 4th, 2008 at 9:59 PM
I was just watching Mark Shields and David Brooks having one of their frequent conversations with Jim Lehrer on PBS. Mark Shields had some disturbing observations about voting trends among white southern voters.

Essentially, among white voters in states outside of the Southeast, Obama is winning a majority. In states that were part of the Confederacy, McCain is taking between two-thirds and three-quarters of the white voters.

I'm not sure what is to be made of that observation, but it certainly makes me uncomfortable.


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jules1278 wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
As a Tennessean, it makes me uncomfortable, too. And really, really sad. :(
likesoggycereal wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC)
I'm from TN also, and I agree.

Most people I know voted McCain. There reasons weren't intelligent. Ridiculous things like, saying Obama was Muslim, and that Sarah Palin was attractive, so she'd make a good VP. It's pretty pathetic. It's not just about race though. People here think they have to stick to Republicans because that's what they've always voted. It has a lot to do with Christianity too.
samuraigrrrl wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
also from tn. and yeah. all that. ugh.
jessicameigs wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what is to be made of that observation, but it certainly makes me uncomfortable.

Nothing's to be made of that observation. The southeast has voted primarily Republican for years.
helholden wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 07:35 am (UTC)
I'm from Georgia, and I think this should definitely be pointed out. They've always voted Republican, even against a white male. Southerners are very conservative, and they don't agree with many liberal viewpoints.

I really don't think it means anything in regards to race. It's always been more about conservative vs. liberal. With some individuals, race is a factor. But overall? I think that's pushing it.
binni wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
That's because no matter how far we come, or how much people insist that they don't think color matter, it does. It shouldn't, don't get me wrong. But until the day humans are wiped from the planet, people will always think one race is better than another.

Disturbing and uncomfortable, yes, but a sad, sad truth.
fauxklore wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
I'm not sure how much is directly about race and how much is the urban vs. rural divide in the southern U.S., which correlates well with race.
brennakimi wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
That too.
The South is very, very rural.
jaboobyville wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
That's an excellent point.

Around the 2004 election there was a website called Urban Archipelago, the point of which was to talk about the urban/rural divide. It had a lot of information about the tendency of urban areas to be intensely blue, and rural areas the opposite.

Link: http://www.urbanarchipelago.com/
docmom wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)

Think generations of people living and working in farm country. Self-sufficient. Helped themselves. Only saw the culture revolutions of the '60s on television. No anti-war hippie protesters smoking pot out in the fields. These were the people who were going about their business. When the Depression hit? As country group Alabama noted, "Somebody told us Wall Street fell/but we were so poor that we couldn't tell." What did stocks and bonds and failing banks mean to folks whose livelihood depended on a little scratch of land and maybe a factory or mining job on the side?

So. Those people spend Johnson's Great Society watching what they see as handouts going to people who they feel don't work hard for a living the way they do. And do they see the civil war protests as "uppity blacks" asking for more than they deserve/something they didn't earn? Maybe. Does news coverage of welfare going to primarily urban blacks make their perception worse? Probably.

Does that make it all about race? Nah. It's about lazy city poor people. Yeah, their idea of a lazy city poor person is more likely to be a black person. But they don't see it as being about race. They see it as being about fairness. They've worked hard. They resent anyone who is receiving "something for nothing." They fall for the arguments about taxes, because they really believe that the evil government is stealing their money to give to the undeserving. They can take care of themselves, they don't want or need to government to do things for them, and, dammit, they don't want it to do anything for anyone else either.

I get them, and, unfortunately for the political discourse in this country, so does the GOP. And it preys on them. It isn't really doing anything that's good for them, but it speaks their language.
fauxklore wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 10:53 am (UTC)
I do wonder why the urban / rural split works differently in other parts of the country. Or maybe it's just that the rural north I know is New England. (Vermont is, arguably, the most rural state in the U.S. in the sense that the lowest percentage of its population lives in a city. California is, despite its agriculture, the most urban.)

The north / south difference there may have something to do with social capital. Maybe if they had town meetings in Fluvanna County, Virginia, the politics would change there. (I am only singling out that county because I drove through there recently).
brennakimi wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
It's really an oversimplification of reality, though. There's a lot more to Southern whites than that they're Southern whites. Southern whites are overwhelmingly fundamentalist Christian. Whatever role race may play, Jesus plays a bigger role, and, for them, Jesus votes Republican. And, they're not voting for McCain; they're voting for Palin.
pewter_wings wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
brennakimi wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
Right, and Southern whites have been economically conservative for, what? 200 years?

There's a reason it's such a strong lead.

Rural, conservative Christian, conservative economics, "state's rights"...

Right, and some of them are racist. But it's more the baby-killin and the gay-lovin.

pewter_wings wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
North Carolina has Obama up by 15,000 votes, Virginia up by 29,000.

Both of these states were in the Confederacy. Which states are you speaking of?
jaboobyville wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
I can't tell you for certain. It was a live TV broadcast, so I'm going from memory. I believe that he mentioned Georgia and Alabama.
brennakimi wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:36 am (UTC)
He's talking about the state of the fallacy of false positives.
polarisdib wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
You know, I'm not prejudiced. That's why I hate all the Southerners for being racist jerks!

(Lately, I've been finding many a comment from various people taken incorrectly and turning into bizarre flame-fests, being that everyone is all high tension right now, so let me clarify: it's a joke, I'm being silly).

pewter_wings wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
Hey! I might be a jerk, but I am not racist!

jaboobyville wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC)
I'm a jerkist.
bastblack wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC)
Florida is not part of the Deep South. We maybe be the Southern Most State, but we are not racist. We voted Obama. You may love us Southernmost Southerners now. -^
pirateninjax wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
It just shows that people are ignorant and being racist and not looking at the issues.

Back home, at my old HS, they held a mock election with candidates S and D and the students just voted on the issues. Now, it's mostly a 'redneck' HS so all of them said they'd 'never vote for a black president' but when the votes were in the majority of the school had voted for Obama on issues alone. It's sad, really, how uniformed people are when they go to cast their vote.
janet_prime wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Yes, it is a grief -- but maybe this night's election can start to change that a bit.

Call it the deepest scar from our Civil War [or War between the States, if you're from the south]. For 90 years after that war, no white in the south would vote anything but Democrat because Abe Lincoln was Republican. Then the Democrats led the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties, and almost overnight they all switched.

But my Chicago experience has taught me that all that means is that the real elections down there were the Primaries -- which in an all-Democrat Chicago were a multi-party free-for-all. [Some years ago, they finally admitted that officially, and made all city elections non-partisan with run-offs for all offices that don't produce a winner with a true majority.]
bastblack wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 06:24 am (UTC)
I watched PBS' coverage too. ^^

Did you hear how the microphones where still live in the newsroom when Obama gave his speech and you could hear someone crying? I cried too, but wow, even the people in the newsroom were teary eyed.

Getting back to your question, I think he said White Male voters. White Male voters were voting for Obama in bigger numbers than Al Gore or John Kerry, but when it came to the Confederate States the opposite was happening. Florida was a Confederate State, but Florida does not vote that way, only the panhandle is "Confederate", the I-4 corridor and South Florida are not.

I'm not surprised by what they said, "The Civil War is alive and well in 2008." I think it's true, sadly.
lishypo wrote:
Nov. 5th, 2008 06:58 am (UTC)
I'm from rural KY, and I knew there was no hope for my state turning even remotely blue, or even for my county to turn blue. After hearing of Obama's victory, while awe-inspired and moved, my happiness is still muted by the fact that where I live, that in my own family, there are those cursing the country and Obama as much as others are praising it. I want to be ecstatic, but this sad reality won't let my feet leave the ground.
rudedude42 wrote:
Nov. 8th, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC)
Yo Yo
I know what to make of it...People in the South are hillbillies and thier racist and thier hillbillies. It doesnt matter who respectable and intelligent and worthy the black man would be these hillbillies would still never vote for them and thats why their ugly hillbillies with fat bodies and they stink and thier bodies stink....
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