Appalachia and Other Reflections

Interesting discussion of the blue/red map of the 2008 election at Edge of the American West. I think the commentary is very much on the money that the areas which went more strongly to McCain this time than to Bush in 2004 are not the “Old South”, that the South as a voting bloc is now well and truly broken up into distinct entities. The red on the map is mostly Appalachia, and I think that raises some sharply important questions. Elsewhere in the country, even counties that are culturally or religiously conservative went more for Obama in 2008 than Kerry in 2004, even if McCain still won those counties. Meaning that even in some areas that are center-right, some constituencies will swing their votes either because they see the more conservative candidate as less able to deal with the current national situation, or because they prefer something about the character or image of the more liberal candidate.

Not in Appalachia. I think this has to be about economic circumstances, social class, and not just “even more culturally conservative”. E.g., there is something structural about poverty in that belt of red which is deeper and older than the accelerating economic crisis elsewhere which makes white voters in that region feel that a change in government policy is unlikely to change their circumstances. This is a pretty intense crystallization of an issue that American and European leftists have been troubled by for a long time, that some of the constituencies most afflicted by or excluded from capitalist economies are also the most reactionary and in some cases, the most inclined to have strongly felt racial biases.


Looking elsewhere on the map, I feel fairly vindicated about some of my arguments after the 2004 election, that the Democrats needed to peel away at least one significant social constituency in addition to mobilizing their existing base. I think both at the level of punditry and at the level of everyday social life, at least some suburban middle-class and upper middle-class voters made a pocketbook judgment that the incompetence and culture-war craziness of the Republican leadership under Bush was simply too costly in terms that they could touch and see in their own lives. When life was more or less in decent shape in the 1990s, despite whatever slow erosion was afflicting the status and well-being of the professional and middle-managerial classes, I think they were indifferent to a lot of the clownshow antics of the Gingrich era, and cared primarily about taxation and a smattering of social questions. When life really started to sour after Bush took office, that changed. 9/11 delayed that shift in consciousness and put fears about terrorism in the driver’s seat for a while.

The question will now be, “How much do you service this constituency in pursuing public policy?” Because getting them in your column was premised on making their lives more secure, and you won’t be able to do that just with a targeted tax cut or small adjustments to few minor entitlement programs.


If the economy was key to Obama’s victory, then the question, “Are things better today?” will be key in 2012. If the answer is very evidently no, it won’t help to say, “It was George Bush’s fault”, however true or not that might prove to be in 2012.

I think making life feel better is important. One part of that is damping down the nastiness of a lot of public debate. I know this is an old message from me, but I think we can all give it new force now.

It’s schadenfreudey fun to read the ongoing psychotic meltdowns at various far-right sites like the Corner, I agree. But there’s little need to take the really bad-faith conservatives seriously now. For the last eight years, we’ve had to take them somewhat seriously because they had access to political power. You had to listen to the hack complaints about academia from endlessly manipulative writers because it was perfectly plausible that whatever axe they were grinding was going to end up as a priority agenda item coming out of Margaret Spelling’s office or get incorporated into legislation by right-wing state legislators. You had to listen to and reply to even the most laughably incoherent, goalpost-moving, anti-reality-based neoconservative writer talking about Iraq or terrorism because there was an even-money chance that you were hearing actual sentiments going back and forth between Dick Cheney’s office and the Pentagon. You had to answer back to Jonah Goldberg not just because making that answer was arguably our responsibility as academics, but also because left alone, some of the aggressively bad-faith caricatures he and others served up had a reasonable chance to gain even further strength through incorporation into federal policy.

There are plenty of thoughtful, good-faith conservatives who need to be taken seriously. And the actual conservatism of many communities and constituencies (in Appalachia and elsewhere) remains, as always, a social fact that it would be perilous to ignore or dismiss.

There are plenty of criticisms of academia which retain their importance and gravity, or which will continue to inform policy-makers in an Obama Administration. Don’t expect pressure for accountability and assessment to go away, for example. It doesn’t matter that Chuck Grassley is a Republican: a lot of the muck he’s raking up deserves to be raked.

But I think we can all make things just ever so slightly better, make the air less poisonous, by pushing to the margins of our consciousness the crazy, bad, gutter-dwelling, two-faced, tendentious high-school debator kinds of voices out there in the public sphere, including and especially in blogs. Let them stew in their own juices, without the dignity of a reply, now that their pipelines to people with real political power have been significantly cut.

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25 Responses to Appalachia and Other Reflections

  1. AndrewSshi says:

    On the Appalachia thing, I don’t find it at all surprising that it’s at the very lowest levels of income that don’t quite reach grinding poverty that you have a lot of right-wing sentiment. Someone making, say, 20k a year but scraping by won’t qualify for a lot of means tested social programs and will in general have the feeling that he’s struggling, but dammit, he is supporting himself. I can easily see how that level of scraping by can lead to a sense of, “I’m making my own way; the government doesn’t owe me a living.”

  2. Laura says:

    I’m sort of frustrated by this conversation, as I was in the 2004 election. I grew up in Appalachia. My family still lives there. And I get frustrated by all the pontificating about why these poor, uneducated people won’t vote Democratic. There is absolutely a lot of poverty there and there’s also a bit of isolationism. Many, many of my high school friends went to UT and then moved back to my home town. So, they don’t get out much. The ones that do rarely go back.

    As I said at the original conversation, it might help if the dems visited more often. The people there are getting their info from local newspapers and tv shows, which trend conservative and are often sorry excuses for journalism. Broadband is not widespread in many parts of Appalachia. What I think needs to happen is for some money to start pouring in. In many places, the economy was based on coal or manufacturing, both of which are gone and nothing has come in to replace them. I say, situate some of those alternative energy operations down there and give people some good jobs.

  3. Timothy Burke says:

    I think those are useful points, Laura. But it starts with a simple point: that this region has a really distinctive profile in this election: it went the exact opposite direction as the trends in the rest of the country, even in some fairly conservative-leaning districts. So I hope you at least agree that’s worth thinking about? That it needs some kind of explanation?

    I reference leftward thinking about this just because there’s a long-standing question on the left about why people don’t vote for what seems to be in their economic self-interest (Thomas Frank being one of the more recent to ask this question). There are other answers than, “What’s wrong with them”, most definitely. Maybe there are other things which matter more. Maybe they don’t believe that politics is the solution for poverty. Maybe they specifically don’t believe that the Democrats actually represent their interests well, and that the party which might doesn’t yet exist, and as along as that’s the case, might as well vote for cultural values. Lots of other variations.

  4. moldbug says:

    “Crazy, bad, gutter-dwelling?” Hey, does that mean I can’t troll your comments by posting links to nasty old books? I feel Carlyle’s Shooting Niagara sums this one up about as well as it can be summed. Swarmery! I hear Carlyle is still a big seller in Appalachia. And apparently Bush, like Hitler of course, was a secret fan of the sage of Ecclefechan.

    According to Paul Krugman, though, the Republican Party is all set to become “a haven for racists and reactionaries.” Perfect. Me and Carlyle should fit right in. As they say in West Virginia, I hain’t had so much fun since hogs et my little brother.

  5. Timothy Burke says:

    Well, whatever you’re thinking about, Moldbug, you’re not some cookie-cutter apologist at the Corner or Redstate, carrying water for some spin that’s coming from a dank Rovian doublespeak factory. I’m always interested in what you have to say, though a lot of the time I’m not exactly clear what the cut of your jib actually is, or where you’re going. (Equally, I’m not clear what draws you back here, considering that you seem to find the goings-on hereabout contemptible…)

    Carlyle is indeed an interesting character, by the by. I’d only suggest modestly to you that a lot of intellectual historians and literary critics who work on Victorian England find him interesting, too, and you’d find that interest in the scholarship if you felt the desire to engage it. Much as I and quite a few other Africanists and specialists in Victoriania I know find Burton interesting.

  6. Laura says:

    Tim, I’m not saying we shouldn’t figure it out, but it gets a bit simplistic sometimes. After the 04 election, my officemate blamed the loss on “dumb, redneck southerners.” I took offense.

    I do think it’s worth figuring out. But it’s also worth being sensitive to the idea that it’s complicated.

  7. withywindle says:

    Your joy in ignoring other people does not become you.

  8. moldbug says:

    Don’t forget, Tim, your tribe has its low end, too.

    Moreover, the nefarious Republican disinformation machine you postulate has roughly the same correlation with reality as the international Jewish conspiracy. Or, more to the point, the international white-supremacist conspiracy, whose tentacles still blight the careers of Negroes everywhere. (In a particularly droll NYT comment I saw on one of Frank Rich’s wonderful columns, a reader suggested that Senator Obama’s talents are so conspicuous that, but for his swarthy hide, he would already be president.) While the world certainly contains both white supremacists and international Jews, the sight of a conspiracy theory accepted by mainstream intellectuals is never a pleasant one.

    As for Carlyle: you’re interested in the beliefs of Mashona tribesmen who think the sky is a giant turtle-shell painted blue. But you don’t take them seriously. And you certainly don’t engage them.

    If you care to take Carlyle seriously, ask yourself: if Carlyle were alive, what would he make of President Obama? How would he respond to your perspective, and how would you respond to his response? Unfortunately, you have delegitimized his narrative so thoroughly that, while you are a whiz at problematizing it, you don’t even know how to start engaging it. Despite the fact that events since Carlyle’s death have gone much as he expected, and not at all as his contemporary critics, who are your intellectual ancestors, predicted.

    I’m interested in you because I’m interested in history, and you’re part of it. Ultimately, US foreign policy is a set of procedural outcomes whose inputs are the perspectives of professional experts such as yourself. The devastation of the Third World that has occurred under American supervision can be traced to these perspectives – the Washington equivalent of what Elie Kedourie called the Chatham House Version. That such a number of talented and benevolent cooks managed to produce such an evil broth, and that they stir it still, is a historical problem and a tragedy of literary proportions.

    So the question is: what are these people thinking? Certainly, one who knows how to write, seems reasonably honest, and whose mind is not one great clot of dogma and jargon, is a rare find. I’ve just been reading George Ball’s autobiography, and I’m reminded of his experience interviewing Albert Speer. Ball was terribly disturbed by the fact that Speer seemed like one of his colleagues. Similarly, it’s quite unusual to find a professor of postcolonial studies who seems to think vaguely like a normal human being.

  9. dmerkow says:

    I’d also add the very little of that map is actually part of Appalachia. From central Tennessee west through to Oklahoma is certainly a distinctive cultural place, but it isn’t Appalachia. I’d guess Arkansas’ shift to the GOP can be heavily explained by the Obama/Hillary factor and perhaps a turn to the general southern mean. Also there is the big Massachusetts move into the GOP, does that fit this model (I know Kerry ran last time). Louisiana I imagine is quite different due to Katrina. Western parts of Florida would likely be culturally similar to Central Tennessee.

  10. That map is quite interesting, but it doesn’t seem right to me to say that the red part is mostly Appalachia. The Appalachian parts of NC and VA aren’t red. Eastern TN, eastern KY, and WV are Appalachia, but west TN and AR aren’t (at least that’s my understanding). The biggest red blotch is AR and OK, with a spillover/satellite area in east TX and LA. It might still make sense to think of the heavily red area as culturally distinct–the non-deep South, or something (I see that as I wrote this the point has already been made).

    One remarkable effort at reaching out in Appalachia was the radio spot by Ralph Stanley (see this post on Cliopatria). I found it moving, anyway, to hear the case for Obama made in that particular folksy accent. It makes perfect sense that a bluegrass musician would be the one to bridge the racial and cultural divide, since their music draws so much from the blues. And then Stanley has probably toured enough of the world that he’s a lot more cosmopolitan than he sounds.

    When I looked back at Ralph Luker’s post with that radio spot, I noticed a link to an LA Times article about resistance to Obama in Appalachia. The finding there was that race was the overriding issue. Obviously it’s just one article by one reporter, but there’s one really striking paragraph–perhaps quoting it goes against the spirit of the last part of the post, but it seems germane to the discussion of Appalachia:

    A local newspaper columnist, in a spoof of Obama’s platform, wrote in one recent piece that the Democrat would hire the rapper Ludacris to paint the White House black (a reference to a pro-Obama song by Ludacris), and divert more foreign aid to Africa so “the Obama family there can skim enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream.” He joked that Obama would replace the 50 stars on the U.S. flag “with a star and crescent logo,” an Islamic symbol, and that his policy on drugs would be to “raise taxes to pay for Obama’s inner-city political base.”

    I completely agree that, moving forward, it’s better to tune out the crazy Palinistas and instead engage, where possible, the conservatives who can produce rational, thought-through criticism.

  11. Timothy Burke says:

    I guess there needs to be a way, in addressing a general subject, to make clear who is and is not included. I know, because I’ve bristled at times at other people’s blanket criticisms of various things and assumed I’m one of the named targets. Withywindle is very much one of those thoughtful conservatives. I don’t know quite how to lay out what a bad-faith blogger is exactly without making a long list with links, which would sort of defeat my point. But I really feel that there are many such: people who write with a protean, chamelon-like spirit, who make no commitment to deal with the world as it is, who are just a rhetorical big muddy whose only goal is to confuse and foul any hope of meaningful disagreement.

  12. SamChevre says:

    Well, other than the obvious issue of race, there are two big issues that hurt Obama in particular in the red areas of that map.

    One is coal. If (as is the case in much of Appalachia proper) the only jobs available to average people (without a college degree) that pay well are coal-related, the anti-coal candidate is going to struggle.

    The other is the military. McCain is, and Obama isn’t, someone that someone from the military think of as “like me”. And the red part of the map is to a large extent the world of the great military clans–there isn’t really another word that captures families like my wife’s, or my friend Dave’s, or my mother’s. They’ve had fighting men in every generation since before the War for Independence; “from the shores of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…We have fought in every land and clime where we could tote a gun” could be the family anthem. And Obama just isn’t part of that culture, and isn’t perceived as friendly to it. (Bush wasn’t either, although his combativeness was admired.)

    And Andrew Shi has a point that bears repeating: peopel who are just getting by, and perceive the government as mostly taking their money and limiting their options, tend to be “right-wing” in some sense. It’s not just “I’m not getting help”; it’s “I’m being forced to help people who aren’t making the sacrifices I am.” I think that the harshest criticism of the non-working poor I’ve ever heard was from my fellow banquet waiters. (For most of them it was a second job; I was a student.)

  13. Laura says:

    For the record, Western Florida is *nothing* like Central Tennessee. And yes, Arkansas is not Appalachia. The northern part is the Ozarks and very similar to Appalachia–isolated, not many job opportunities, etc. The southern part is farming mostly. There’s mostly rice grown there. Tennessee can really be broken into three parts: Eastern (which is Appalachia), Middle, which is slightly less conservative, except in the Chattanooga area, and Western (anchored by Memphis). They are very different kinds of places. The Memphis area is over 50% African-American while most of the rest of the state (except Nashville) hovers around 5%. And Sam’s right, a lot of people in the poorer areas join the military, which tends to skew them conservative. Also, the people who do have money there tend to skew conservative. My stepmother was telling me that she keeps hearing her well-off friends talk about how worried they are that they will have to pay more taxes. Her response: aren’t you glad you have a job you have to pay taxes on?

  14. withywindle says:

    I didn’t actually think you were referring to me. (I’m not sure whether this counts as pride, humility, or cluelessness.) Your joy in ignoring people who aren’t me doesn’t become you either! — and I neither desire to be treated, or think I deserve to be treated, with greater or lesser respect than any other conservative. Or any other human being, for that matter. As a spiritual matter, let us say I can understand your joy, but still think it is a corruption of the soul you ought to resist. As a practical matter, I would advise you that Fortune’s wheel turns astonishingly quickly–consider the way the future looked four years ago–and the joy you take now in not listening may make life more difficult for you in the future. As a matter of the public sphere, universal listening is a keystone.

    I of course disagree with your estimation of the Corner; however, I do recommend to you particularly Ramesh Ponnoru and Rich Lowry. They are both generally good at turning gimlet eyes on conservatives and Republicans, and their failures, and have been particularly good this year. In particular I would recommend Ponnoru: he takes great care to distinguish between what conservatives desire and what the majority of Americans desire. I urge you to continue to read them.

  15. Timothy Burke says:

    Ponnoru I agree has some good things to say. Lowry? Honestly? I think he’s a hack.

    But you’re quite right that the wheel of fortune turns quickly. I’d like to find a way for more of us to take our places on the merry-go-round together. Do you think that Red State and Free Republic and Rush Limbaugh and Hinderaker etc. are going to learn much from the turn of the wheel?

  16. RSG says:

    True, Appalachia and the Ozarks are different geographical areas, but the culture is the same. They both have the same poor whites, and the same meth labs, and the same racial prejudices. When you’re white and desperately poor, you have to have someone to look down on, because everyone else is looking down on you. For poor whites, the only group they have to look down on is blacks. That feeling spreads out to Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and elsewhere, and historically those places have been blatantly racist. The only reason the rest of the south is (slightly) more liberal is that it has a large black population, while Appalachia, the Ozarks, and nearby areas have much smaller ones to mitigate the voting patterns.

    The other red areas are places where there just aren’t many people of any color, and certainly not many people of color. I think the urban areas are more liberal because they have more people of color, and people of many other cultures, which lets white christianists see that they aren’t all monsters.

    As for the military favoring McCain, I think people tend to vote the way they spend their money, and the active duty military contributed money to Obama at 6 times the rate they contributed to McCain. McCain has been discredited as a military hero because of his long record of voting against veterans’ benefits and pay increases for the active military.

  17. That was a really weird exchange. What part of Timothy’s post communicated a “”joy in ignoring people”?

    I’m skeptical about this business of cohabiting the merry-go-round. Sounds good in principle, but…

  18. withywindle says:

    Robert: “Let them stew in their own juices, without the dignity of a reply.” Frankly, it would be worse if there were no joy in it: then it would be humorless self-righteousness. Joy, at least, would display the human touch.

    Tim: Do look again at Lowry. Note how he critiqued Palin’s interview performances and McCain’s debate performances, and never tried to pretend Obama’s advantages in the polls should be discounted. He doesn’t dispense false hopes. And, as I’ve mentioned on my blog, he has a rare talent to articulate consensus conservatism–and it is a rare talent, which is evidence of good character. Frankly, I used to find him dull, but I’ve grown to appreciate how difficult soft-edged consensus is to do.

    As for everyone else–I expect conservatives, liberals, and all humans to be equally mixed in their ability to deal well with fortune. If we must compare, I’m not particularly impressed with the left’s behavior between 2000 and 2006. But ultimately it doesn’t matter what people say: your imperative is to listen. You can choose what to say, and with whom to converse, but universal listening is in order. Not that any of us are perfect at this; but at least it’s an ideal toward which one should aspire. One I take to be essential to democratic leadership and practice.

  19. dmerkow says:

    I actually think the best explanation for that map was the way in which the primaries played out. In places where Obama had to/did take on Hillary, he built up institutional support that carried into the general election (this is explanation given for VA, IN, and OH). The areas in deep red were ignored because the Dems there were clearly Hillary folks and not easy places to find Obama-friendly folks. Where he went he got votes, where he didn’t well, he didn’t.

    As to the Corner discussion, I’ve stopped reading McCarthy, Derbyshire, Krikorian, Levin, and usually Kirsanow. You can’t avoid Lopez. I like Manzi a lot, Ponnuru of course rocks. Lowry can play both sides, that why he is the editor. Nordlinger used to be interesting but is stuck in 1989. I like Goldberg but that’s just me.

  20. I read Timothy differently, maybe incorrectly, since he didn’t contradict the “joy in ignoring” comment. What I took from his last three paragraphs was a wish to avoid rhetorical warfare and the “schadenfreudey fun” of bashing right-wing rubes and instead look for constructive engagement where it can be found.

    “Universal listening” sounds like a noble thing, but it’s not humanly possible to listen to everything–even before the internet it wasn’t, but now the clamor is exponentially larger. One way or another we’re all selective, and I don’t think a lot is gained from a lot of exposure to things that strike me as ignorant and repugnant. The Appalachian newspaper column that I quoted in an earlier comment, for instance–a little of that goes a long way.

  21. abstractart says:

    I find it surprising that a faithful defender of President Bush, whose perhaps most salient trait as a leader was pushing out dissenting viewpoints from his circle of advisors and insisting on ideological purity, would suddenly start championing the basic democratic need for universal listening. Who the hell was listening to the Left or even to the Center when the Right was ascendant? What branch of the punditocracy has been so very fond of constantly using the adjective “discredited” whenever the noun “socialism” comes up, and treated the fall of the Berlin Wall as a sort of winning game point in the “argument” between Left and Right?

    Obviously a simple tit-for-tat you-ignored-us-let’s-ignore-you attitude is unbecoming. But, frankly, the sector of the Right Tim is talking about is a sector we’ve *all* heard from incessantly for the past eight years, a sector that’s been blaring 24/7 from its bully pulpit in the White House, and it’s disingenuous for the allies and mouthpieces of that bully pulpit who once felt righteously vindicated in shouting down anyone “soft on terror” or “clinging to discredited socialist policies” and then all of a sudden claim that absolute universality in discourse is a fundament of our democracy at the one point when we’re no longer going to be forced to listen to them anymore.

    The main reason we shouldn’t listen to the William Kristols of the world is that we’ve already heard what they’ve had to say, ad nauseam, and the past eight years serve as a ringing debunking of their guiding principles and philosophies. If they should have something new and interesting to say that doesn’t seem like the experience of the past eight years has already sweepingly refuted, great. But I’m not holding my breath, and we shouldn’t let these schmucks steal the spotlight of American discourse just because we’re used to them being in charge, pushing the line that “America is a center-right country” as a just-so story because they’re still not used to the fact that the electorate has changed its mind.

  22. withywindle says:

    I disagree with you on the facts. They are to some extent irrelevant: I am proposing to Tim an ideal for the public sphere, an aspiration to guide his fallible human actions, a standard available to judge all political actors and actions.

  23. abstractart says:

    I consider it hypocritical to hold Tim to a higher standard than you hold yourself, given the dismissive pattern you’ve displayed not only to the genuinely fringe Left (Maoists and anarchists and so forth) but to the Left in general.

    There aren’t many people whom I would hold up as practicing “universal listening” — and really, why should they? The very act of holding an opinion, having an agenda, having a set of moral values means that there are some people whom you can have a dialogue with and some people whose worldview is so alien (“Blacks and Jews are subhumans who should be exterminated!”) all you can do is shut them up and tune them out — and you and your buddies in the right-wing blogosphere are, if anything, the *least* credible exponents of that philosophy.

    If anything I would say Tim has played the “Give ’em the benefit of the doubt and let’s hear what they have to say” card to a fault in this blog, and has incurred the ire of other liberals quite a lot while doing so. The fact that he’s come to recognize how often that attitude has been unproductive and pointless and has decided that the worst of the Right has finally earned the callous dismissal from his side of the aisle that they’ve been practicing on our side of the aisle since 1994 hardly makes him the blinkered ideologue you’re trying to paint him as.

  24. withywindle says:

    Why, brother Balan! I did not recognize you in disguise. Your shield bears a different escutcheon since last our lances crossed.

    The point of standards is to provide hostages to fortune; you declare the ideal, and then squirm uncomfortably when other people say you don’t uphold it as well as you should. I rather hope I’m holding Tim to the same standard I try to live up to myself; and that I judge all politicians by the same standard. Of course I fail! — as does Tim, you, and all of us–and, strangely, our partisan affections seem to correlate with our failures. I remain unconvinced that my colleagues on the right-blogosphere are uniquely, or even especially, guilty of such sins. It’s still a good idea to put out those standards, and our failures don’t per se invalidate them.

    Listening isn’t the same thing as agreeing, or even being polite; condemnation can follow from listening attentively, and politeness to evil witness a failure to listen properly. But it is the fundamental activity of social man, and the prerequisite for politically effective man. Again, it’s one thing to recognize our finitude–and even to make priority choices–another to relish not listening, to decide on principle not to listen to certain groups of people.

    You are, I think, applying this too purely on the level of current partisan politics. I am also, perhaps primarily, speaking on the level of political theory and ethics–a level in which I hope Tim can consider my advice without immediate reference to partisan politics, and thus put aside for a moment the partisan reflex of rejection.

    As for my attitude to Tim, you may recollect that I began by saying that this attitude was unworthy of him. Presumably, therefore, I have a generous estimate of his intrinsic worth.

  25. Ieatsocks says:

    Appalachia is also an interesting case for race-consciousness in voting behavior. I think the consensus is that voting for Obama indicates a post-racial attitude among people who have historically been less than tolerant. I think it’s more likely that racial attitudes have shifted to include full stereotypes that extend beyond skin color–to be subject to abject racism from these people, you have to not only have the “wrong” skin color, but match a series of negative characteristics associated with that skin color. Thus, people who continue to make routine racial slurs, hold all-white social circles, etc. yet vote for Obama don’t do so in spite of his race, but rather, don’t include him in that racial category at all. Meanwhile, the racism that continues is associated with a particular type of behavior, and is therefore somewhat justified in the minds of the people who espouse it.

    Here is a picture that speaks to this effect:
    This guy was working the Obama office out of Asheville. I think that the man in the picture would probably say that neither his confederate flag NOR his Obama sign are racially motivated.


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