the post-racist society is doing better than i thought

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about the “post-racist” society. I do not argue that racism is gone. Rather, racism is de-legitimized. For a little while, I was worried. President Trump openly trucked in all manner of nasty stereotype, has been rabidly anti-immigrant, and was famously equivocal during the Charlotteville violence. As I noted before, Trump performed about the same as recent GOP in the popular vote and only won due to an electoral college fluke. Furthermore, his approval ratings started bad and have stayed bad.

This view, that Trump is more of a fluke than a sign of a deeper transformation of culture, strengthens by the day. One sign is that the 2018 Congressional election went against then incumbent, as it has nearly every time for decades. Furthermore, most people who dabble or deal in racism tend to get into trouble in one way or another, such as the Virginia politicians who were found to have used or approved of Blackface.  They aren’t praised. Even Senate Republicans have begun to voice opposition to Trump’s promise to declare an emergency at the borders.

The post-racist society is alive and well. The issue, it seems to me, is that political institutions will occasionally amplify fringe views. The Electoral College is designed to amplify the voice of smaller, rural states. Thus, you can get a situation where partisan obedience can give a fringe figure a bull horn.

If you were to ask me about race in America, I would say this: It’s better than what TV tells you. We aren’t going down in a sinking ship. Instead, particularly virulent voter blocs are concentrated in one party. Thus, we should think about making the GOP a better party. We should also consider dismantling the immigration restriction system, which is primarily targeted at Latin American immigrants. Last, but not least, a lot of our own domestic institutions and labor markets can be reformed in ways that might make it easier for African Americans to get better outcomes and build wealth. It’s a big ask, but it’s better than pretending that we’re reverting to national socialism because of one fluke primary.


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Written by fabiorojas

March 7, 2019 at 4:04 pm

Posted in uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Pre-buttal from 2017:

    If we focus only on racist attitudes and speech, maybe we can find a way to explain away Trump and the Trump phenomenon. But how do you also square that with evidence of zero progress on many indicators of racial economic equality?


    Dan Hirschman

    March 8, 2019 at 12:37 pm

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