Saturday, May 10, 2008

-isms and the Primary

There has been a lot written about the racism and sexism in the Democratic Primary, talk about who wouldn't vote for whom or votes for whom on the basis of gender and race. The exit polls reveal splits along several lines, race, gender, education, economic class, and age. I'm not going to pretend that there isn't racism, sexism or other divisions within the Democratic Party, there is. I also think the breakdown of these may be misleading.

Racism and sexism as a vote determiner are more difficult to discern than the media pretends. In many cases the tone and content and framing of the spoken word are more connective with people of similar backgrounds and experiences and race and gender, despite near congruence of actual policy content. It is, simply, easier to have sympathy with some who reflects our daily experiences. I have heard males comment that Hillary is shrill and the same words reflected on by a woman as emphatic. Such a difference in interpretation of the sound of words isn't misogyny or feminism it is a lack of shared experience and common taste. There are vocalists I do not like, I find their singing grating, others like them - that is taste. It is scarcely odd that men and women hear each other differently, we are different and we do not spend large amounts of time with lots of others of the opposing sexes. Most people have a fairly narrow range of extensive contact with others, whatever sex. Retail people have lots of contacts with other people, but those contacts are of limited duration, scarcely time within which to develop well reasoned opinions of those contacts; the rest of us are much more limited.

This holds true in other race contacts, perhaps more significantly. Most people live in more diversified communities than I do, this place is one of the most un-diverse places around, but I have lived other places. This lack of contact may have nothing whatever to do with racism, however mild, it is simply a matter of opportunity. Once you consider the small number of extensive contacts one has placing another race into the mix simply statistically reduces the chances a minority is included. Toss in the factual segregation within communities and those contacts are reduced.

All of these considerations carry across the other demographics, consider women of Hillary's age crashing up against the glass ceiling and watching the Republican hate machine crank up in the 90s. There is a perception of a shared experience of life altering consequences. I am a highly educated man working in a blue collar environment, I started doing it to finance college, and it took me awhile to learn how to speak to my fellow workers. I was real fond of $2 words, they expressed more exactly my meaning, they found it "elitist." Shades of connotation and definition are lost on people who don't use the words; a wedge is driven.

Media has two things going on with demographic analysis, one is time and attention span; the other is simply ratings - something with conflict in it to draw interest. We can stop and pay attention and draw reasonable conclusions or get walked into stupidity. Sure, all the 'isms are in play this year, they always are, but how large an effect is important to serious issues. Like the media, I don't have time to make a real detailed analysis of my thinking on this and I don't think it is necessary to do so. I just want to make a point to think about and trust you to take it from there.


Michelle Obama exposed said...
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Chuck Butcher said...

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