Friday, April 14, 2017

How Conservatism Breeds Racist Thought

Years ago on this blog I made the argument that conservative ideology actually promotes racism.  Because of its assumption of free will, it sees disproportionate dysfunctional behavior among certain minorities as a function of inner, intrinsic qualities, as opposed to external, structural forces.

New results from the General Social Survey (GSS) from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago seem to confirm my argument.  As reported in the Washington Post:
"The biggest yawning gap between Democrats and Republicans is on the issue of motivation and will power. The GSS asks whether African Americans are worse off economically “because most just don't have the motivation or will power to pull themselves up out of poverty?”
A majority — 55 percent — of white Republicans agreed with this statement, compared to 26 percent of white Democrats. That's the biggest gap since the question was first asked in 1977 — though the gap was similar (60-32) in 2010."
An interesting question, not asked in the survey, might be whether conservative Republicans would also say that economically disadvantaged whites lack motivation and willpower.  A charitable view would hold they would, assuming no racial animus and instead following the logic of their dualistic view of human nature.

Yet how then, with this individualistic worldview, do you make sense of the fact that certain minorities are economically worse-off?  If they are "making the choice" to be worse off, and there is no appeal structural disadvantage, a racialized view begins to make more sense.

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