Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New study says that the reason Southern Republicans overwhelming voted against Obama is simple. They are still upset that somebody let all of their slaves go free.

Courtesy of Think Progress: 

One survey of working class white voters found Obama only 4-8 points behind Romney in the majority of the country, while he polled 40 points behind Romney among Southern white working class voters. And a new study by political scientists Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell and Maya Sen suggests that there may be a simple explanation for this divide — slavery. 

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution banned slavery nearly 150 years ago, yet this study suggests that the legacy of slavery continues to drive voters in areas that once housed large numbers of slaves to vote Republican: 

"Drawing on a sample of more than 39,000 southern whites, we show that whites who currently live in counties that had high concentrations of slaves in 1860 are on average more conservative and express colder feelings towards African Americans than whites who live elsewhere in the South. That is, the larger the number of slaves in his or her county of residence in 1860, the greater the probability that a white Southerner today will identify as a Republican, express opposition to race-coded policies such as affirmative action, and express greater racial resentment towards African Americans. We show that these differences are robust to a variety of factors, including geography and mid-19th century economic conditions and political attitudes. We also show that our results strengthen when we instrument for the prevalence of slavery using local measures of the agricultural suitability to grow cotton. In fact, our findings indicate that in the counterfactual world where the South had no slaves in 1860, the political views of white Southerners today would be indistinguishable from those of similarly situated white Northerners."

The authors offer several potential explanations for how a human rights atrocity banned more than a century ago can continue to drive political attitudes today. Among them, the authors suggest that “the sudden enfranchisement of blacks was politically threatening to whites, who for centuries had enjoyed exclusive political power. In addition, the sudden emancipation of blacks substantially undermined whites’ economic power by suddenly increasing blacks’ wages and threatening the plantation economy.” These two factors, according to the author of the study, “led Southern white elites to promote localized anti-black sentiment by encouraging violence towards blacks, propagating racist norms and cultural beliefs, and, to the extent legally possible, pushing for the institutionalization of racist policies (such as Jim Crow laws). In turn, these racially hostile attitudes have persisted as each successive generation has, to some degree, inherited the attitudes and beliefs of the previous generation.”

Yeah I guess when your DNA tells you that the ni**ers are supposed to be out in the field picking your cotton, is is nigh impossible to vote for one to sit in the White House.  I beleive they refer to that type of black man as "uppity."

You know this study seems to link quite well with my post from yesterday that links the homophobic and religious nature of the conservatives to a form of tribalism.

I think that this just shows that we are still a few generations or more from completely eradicating racism in this country.  However I have hope as I have seen young children at play, and I can tell you that left to their own devices they would rarely discriminate against another based on skin, eye, or hair color, unless prompted to by trusted adults.


  1. Anonymous2:40 AM

    Stories like this make me so crazy. The Southern Crackers never would have owned slaves because they couldn't afford them, and would have lived lives not much better than slaves themselves, but they're the most hung up on the mythos of "the old south".

    1. GrannyMe7:58 AM

      They would have been lucky to be sharecroppers.

      btw, in a previous thread, someone alluded to how can there be such a thing as a "white n****r." The species still exists, but now they're called by a more politically correct term--PWT (poor white trash). This is different than Trailer Trash (which usually infers sexual impropriety) or Wickerbill (which is the product of an isolated gene pool). Gotta know your racially insensitive terminology.

    2. Beldar J Conehead8:36 AM


      That's exactly right. It's like the loopy people who believe in reincarnation always 'remember' their previous lives as powerful royals or brave historical military figures, when today these losers are remarkably unpowerful members of the Great Unwashed Lumpenproletariat. Wha' happened?

      Them craz-e crackers is about *this* close (thumb and index finger separated by VERY small gap) to shrieking not "I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK" but what they REALLY want: "I WANT MY N|@@*R$ BACK!!" Damn that rotten Emancipation Proclamation!


  2. Leland3:25 AM

    Pertaining to your last paragraph:

    As the song in the musical South Pacific says, "You have to be carefully taught."

    As for the rest of it, I can only say that ignorance can be corrected, but there is no hope for stupid people. And since there is a huge number of fundamentalist religious nuts down here, there is even less hope for the ignorant since slavery plays so big a part in the bible.

  3. Anonymous3:37 AM

    It's important to remember the trifecta of related factors for these same counties: rural location, poor economy, and underfunded education.

    Slave-holding drove a rural, agricultural economy. Since then end of slave-holding, that economy just shifted to low-wage jobs and remained rural, and over time education lagged behind in poor states which allocated their dollars to urban areas with political muscle.

    Add to that the very limited and often bleak prospects for ANYONE in these areas - education, vocation, health, etc - and you can begin to see why Nixon's "southern strategy" began what Fox continues: tapping into and redirecting class resentment onto a racial target.

    I am old enough to recall the generation of my poor, southern white grandparents who voted Democratic without question because of the New Deal, Social Security and Medicare.

    This is a more recent phenomenon than it might appear.

    1. GrannyMe8:06 AM

      I remember going into many an older person's home in WV and seeing enshrined photos of JFK and FDR side by side. Right next to the Sacred Heart pix of Mary and Jesus. Noooo idea this was Catholic imagery.

      I once asked one of these elder folk how the Great Depression had affected their lives. Sadly, didn't change a thing for good or ill. It wasn't until some of the social programs came along that things got a little better.

      This was an area entirely dominated by the coal companies. There were no cash wages--you were paid in scrip, i.e. money coined by the company and only good in company owned stores who could charge whatever they wanted. Makes the bankers today look like the good guys.

  4. Sally in MI3:47 AM

    Consider also, that WQMEN got he right to vote far later than even black men, and it is quite obvious how these same white men feel about us. We are even less important to them than men whose ancestors were slaves. I hear lots on Fox about convincing blacks that the GOP does more for them (gag) but I rarely hear anyone on the right even discussing how women should vote GOP. Which is fine with me!

  5. angela4:07 AM

    Yep. As long as you have the older generation of racists whispering into their children's ears about how their great great great grandaddy lost all their money and land because of "their niggras" being freed; this crap will continue. Of course, for many, it doesn't matter what kind of bat crap crazy they come from—they start dismissing this kind of hate when they are children because the world is becoming smaller and they are exposed to it. That is the difference.

  6. Anonymous5:28 AM

    Most working class whites wouldn't have been plantation or slave owners. But, even the poorest sharecropper, who had to tip his hat to the landowner could tell a black man to step aside and get together a lynch mob if that black man so much as looked at a white woman. That's what they are angry about.

  7. Anonymous6:35 AM

    Can we stop with the hating on the South already? These conclusions are just ridiculous. Neither Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, nor Ted Nugent are Southerners, nor are a great many other racist idiots in this country.

    The problem with the South is a lack of education and poverty, both of which can be directly traced to the hideous destruction the area suffered in the Civil War. If this country had freed the slaves peacefully, the way every other country in the western hemisphere did, rather than through war (always our first choice), race relations in this country would have turned out very differently, and the South would not be the backwards, benighted place it is today.

    And don't tell me the South chose war; I'm an historian. That was a choice made by both sides.

    1. I don't hate any region of my country. However, I would offer a slightly different understanding of our nation's history. Of course the Civil War resulted in tremendous destruction in the South. BUT, the uneven economic development between the north and the south pre-dates this by a century or more.

      The point is that the slavery system precluded industrial development and investment in infrastructure. The plantation owners grabbed the best land, usually closer to the coast. Thus, they could export their cotton via ships. The rest of the population was stuck with the less fertile land. The plantation owners had no reason to vote for taxes to connect roads west to east. The plantation owners has no reason to vote for taxes to support public schools, etc.. Many of the smaller farmers in most of the southern states did not want to secede from the union to support the slave system. They knew it wasn't in their interest. Why do you think Virginia split so that now we have West Virginia? The plantation owners used threats and brute force to put these people in line.

      SO.. do you seriously think that the plantation owners would have VOLUNTARILY given up their "right" to this "property" (people-human chattel). They were completely dependent on slave labor for their wealth. This includes those in the upper south where the land was sort of used up so they essentially were breeding people to sell down river.

      Sorry, although I wish it could have been different, I don't think a peaceful solution would have been possible at the time.

      That being said, I have little question that some of the resentment from the Civil War still fuels racism. This racism beclouds all clear thinking. This is a most unfortunate social illness and I believe that we are in the process of healing it. The big CRAZY that we have been seeing in the last few years is, I think, an enormous putrid infected boil being slowly lanced.

    2. Leland7:39 AM

      I personally believe you are oversimplifying drastically.

      Yes, there are racists wherever you go, and idiots like sarah and ted have great big mouths. It's the quiet, learned-at-poppa's-feet hatred that is the more powerful - and dangerous.

      I have lived all over this country and nowhere have I experienced the amount of racial hatred that exists here in the south. Education and poverty have drastically improved (even discounting the stupid attempts by repubes to bring religion into public schools!). Industry is moving in from all around the world and those industries require educated workers. Those same educated workers are making very nice wages. Not as much as someone in, say, New York, but then, the cost of living is considerably lower here in many important economic factors.

      More and more people are moving here from areas where racism is not the be-all and end-all it seems to be here. And that is having an impact.

      But the root cause is still the families TEACHING their racism to their children. And their teaching comes from many sources. Yes, some of it is the left over fear and hatred from the Civil War. Most - from what I can see - is from their ridiculous fundamentalist religion which seems to portray the black man as the devil - or, at the very least, evil incarnate.

      Will the educational improvements and financial rewards evidencing themselves slowly in the south ever have a major affect on racism? I doubt it. Too many ignorant fundamentalists. When THEY are gone, there will be hope.

      (All of the above is generally speaking. Not flat statement.)

  8. Maple6:55 AM

    As a Canuck, I've always wondered if the thing that is really driving the hatred of the "blah" (to quote that obnoxious Santorum) is really FEAR. Fear that if African Americans get too much power, they will rise up as one and go on a rampage against the whites (after all, they came over here as "savages", didn't they? -- and please note the sarcasm in that statement). Who's to say that those "savage" impulses won't come to the fore? Isn't that why they were so concerned about those 2 black panthers at one polling booth?
    The blacks that came to Canada via the underground railway don't -- and never have -- inspired fear. They made their way here and are very valued members of our society.
    Anyhow, that's my take. Fear is probably the strongest emotion of all, and can make folks do truly evil things.

    1. Anonymous7:10 AM

      And the corporate media faux howlers sell fear and loathing of nonwhites (h/t Rupert 'n Roger) and do the rabid rwing radio ranters for fun and profit for themselves.

      It is amazing that too many whites (and a few blacks and browns) are so easily convinced to vote against their own best interests by the those who grift for gold in the name of God with guns (NRA lobbyists).

      Plutocrats win, Americans, we the the people, lose.


  9. Anonymous7:13 AM

    What does it say about a people whose mentality is encased in the 1860s?

    Southern descendants of Europeans should take a long, hard look in the mirror. Look at how your people acquired power--through force, brutality, theft, and violence. No wonder they're running scared now. How can this country advance if one group believes the other should be "enslaved" and disenfranchised? Innovation and enterprise are not under the sole purview of white people. If you can't even recognize the humanity of someone of a different race, then you deserve to live in a world of fear and bitterness.

    1. Leland7:41 AM


    2. Anonymous11:37 AM

      I wish I was going to be alive to see this 'racist' thing in the USA go away as I know it will.

      Our young people are not seeing color or race today as have (and are) the fat, ugly, white Republican/racists (KKK) who are dying off.

      Once President Obama was elected to the White House, it scared the hell out of them! Thank god, he was elected 'both' times as he is a wonderful man and leader!

      And, yes, I'm white and voted for him both times!

  10. GrannyMe7:50 AM

    I don't doubt the results of the study, but how does it explain entrenched racism in areas where there were no slaves, and even today, virtually no blacks?

    I live in southwestern Virginia, and if you take Roanoke out of the equation, there are less than 4% minorities in the entire western end of the state. In some counties, there are NO minorities, and never have been.

    These counties are too rocky & mountainous for large scale farming, so it was settled by poor whites. Logging and coal mining made up the bulk of what industry existed when the railroads came in. Before that it was making moonshine, as jugs of whiskey could be transported back east much easier than the grain itself.

    So how did Appalachian "hillbillies" get to be so racist when many of them had never even seen a black person?

    1. Maybe because they need to feel better than someone else because they recognize that others look down on them. Just a thought.

    2. Anonymous11:31 AM

      I totally agree w/you 8:17. It must, in some way, make them feel better and superior!

    3. Leland12:16 PM

      You are so right, 1st American. Only it is maybe.

      Aside from that which is taught by their parents, a major factor involved in the psychology of racism (or any thought process that degrades others at the thinker's behest) involves doing so to assist in boosting the ego(s) of the racist(s).


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