The Associated Press is claiming, based on the results of a recent poll of theirs, that anti-black sentiments have increased under President Obama so much that it stands to knock him back by five percentage points in the popular vote on Election Day.
The main offenders, those most likely to engage in explicit and implicit prejudice against blacks, are, naturally, Republicans.
The AP found similar results in 2008, a fact which really ought to be cause for them to re-examine their methodology, considering Obama won the popular vote in a landslide that year.
One reason the poll revealed racism is because of the AP’s definition of racism, which is an incorrect definition.
For example, one question it asks is, “Irish, Italians, Jewish [sic], and other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without special favors.”
If a respondent answered that he agreed with that statement, he is considered racist. It is considered racist to believe that we should hold all races to the same standard.
Another question the poll asks: “It’s really a matter of some people just not trying hard enough; if Blacks [sic] would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites.” (Here I note that the word “Blacks” was incorrectly capitalized and the word “whites” was correctly not.)
If a respondent answered that he agreed with that statement, he is considered racist. The flaw here is that the same person who would agree with that statement would also agree with the statement even if any mention of a particular race were removed; e.g., “If people would only try harder, they could be well off.” That is a statement with which Democrats generally disagree and Republicans generally agree. Republicans recognize that it is the same exact question no matter what race is specified and no matter whether race is specified at all, and they will answer the same way regardless. The AP worded it in such a way that the expected Republican reply would necessarily come across as racist.
Many of the other questions that were asked used this same “gotcha” methodology, framing the questions so that Democratic replies would necessarily sound more favorable than Republican ones. (“Over the past few years, Blacks have gotten less than they deserve.” Agree or disagree? Republicans disagree, but only because they don’t believe anybody “deserves” anything beyond life, liberty, and the freedom to pursue their happiness, so this question is biased against Republican respondents.)
If there truly is an increase in the negative attitude towards blacks in America, the results of a seriously flawed poll cannot be a reliable indicator of that.
But, if it is true, I have my own theory as to why: Barack Obama has engaged in the most racially divisive politics since the days of Woodrow Wilson, pitting blacks against whites. After four years of blacks’ being made to feel like the victims of whites, would it be surprising if they did hold any resentment towards whites? And after four years of whites’ being made to feel like their ethnicity is a thing to hide from, would it be surprising if they did hold any resentment towards blacks?
And just as an afterthought, I’ve never met a single conservative Republican who would prefer white Republican Jon Huntsman to black Republican Allen West, or white Republican Joe Scarborough to black Republican Thomas Sowell—for any office.