A new AP Poll finds racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since President Obama's election "as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not." ...Taegan Goddard, Political Wire
The latest AP poll about the increase of racism in America shocks and chills this American. We know it's true and has been true even before the advent of Barack Obama's convention speech back in '04 and later candidacy.
It's not just about Obama. The evangelical churches across the country and whole sections of the South (even excluding the evangelicals) are ignorantly, viciously, proudly and tenaciously racist. Leave aside the racism for a moment (hard to clean it out of those dark corners, I know) and notice, too, the fascist nature of the folks who embrace racism as though it were their best friend, their bulwark against frightening democracy.
Still, this isn't as though we're talking about one clannish family of southern bastards and the rest of us are okay. Racism has long been a part of our culture as a nation. Some people have wised up and are careful not to express their prejudice where they know it won't be welcome. Talk to them nearer the warmth of their own hearths in Boston, Albuquerque or St. Paul, they'll feel more comfortable being "honest" about how they really see things.
The AP Poll makes me think that "benign" or hidden racism has given itself permission to be more "honest."
"In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell." ...AP h/t Political Wire
Apart from that, we find fairly subtle echoes of it in our media. It turns up in whose kidnapping they report to whose rape and murder they don't much bother with. Or here's something that annoys the bejesus out of me, even on NPR: black experts are on panels discussing black issues.
But if the segment is about the growing importance of -- say, for example -- the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, chances are we won't be hearing from an African American economist, foreign correspondent, or military expert. Mainstream media think and speak white, maintaining the status quo ante 1960 in our culture. The socio-political center of the media has moved sharply to the right and backwards as it has in our politics. The farther right you get, the whiter things become and the more insular, separatist. I think that a significant portion of the media -- and perhaps all of the media recently -- have been instrumental in giving racists "permission to be more 'honest'."
We could begin to do something about this nasty U-turn in America. But I don't think we will. There's already plenty of evidence that we have become, for the most part, "good Germans." I think we're making things awfully easy for extremism. Fascism has shown its nasty face time and again in our history. In fact, I think it's now so much a part of our culture that we find it really difficult to draw the line. Fascists have a right to speak out, but -- at the very least -- we should have the decency of refusing to pay for the megaphone that's been handed to them.