Racial Animus and Presidental Politics

June 12, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism

The New York Times:

Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008 and 365 electoral votes, 95 more than he needed. Many naturally concluded that prejudice was not a major factor against a black presidential candidate in modern America. My research, a comparison of Americans’ Google searches and their voting patterns, found otherwise. If my results are correct, racial animus cost Mr. Obama many more votes than we may have realized.

Quantifying the effects of racial prejudice on voting is notoriously problematic. Few people admit bias in surveys. So I used a new tool, Google Insights, which tells researchers how often words are searched in different parts of the United States….

The state with the highest racially charged search rate in the country was West Virginia. Other areas with high percentages included western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, upstate New York and southern Mississippi.

Once I figured out which parts of the country had the highest racially charged search rates, I could test whether Mr. Obama underperformed in these areas. I predicted how many votes Mr. Obama should have received based on how many votes John Kerry received in 2004 plus the average gain achieved by other 2008 Democratic Congressional candidates. The results were striking: The higher the racially charged search rate in an area, the worse Mr. Obama did…

See Graphic, Racially Charged Searches and Voting

See PDF of complete research — The Effects of Racial Animus on a Black Presidential Candidate: Using Google Search Data to Find What Surveys Miss by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

CI: Stop the Criminal-Black-Man Narrative 2012

April 18, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Criminal Defense, Criminal Injustice Series, International Law, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Prison Industrial Complex, White Privilege

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal InJustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.

Stop the Criminal-Black-Man Narrative 2012
by nancy a heitzeg

“Trayvon Martin was killed by a very old idea..”
Brent Staples, New York Times, 4/14/2102

The Black Man as Dangerous is a lethal idea, ironically, not to those who perpetrate and fear, but especially to those to whom it is attached. It is indeed also a very old idea, one that has evolved over centuries. The Savage, The Brute, the Defiler of White Women — honed and solidified in the Post Civil Rights Era into an archetype that scholars and activists now refer to in aggregate short-hand:

The Criminal-Black-Man.

This image is ubiquitous — it is the text and subtext of all crime-reporting and “reality” cop/prison programing. It shapes the contours of everyday racism, the school to prison pipeline, police patrols and profiles; it offers the framework for both creating and then perversely justifying the demographics of both the prison industrial complex and the face of death row.

At times, as in the Trayvon Martin case, the archetype and its’ consequences are, at least briefly, openly examined and discussed. More often, as with the noxious Kony 2012 campaign, it looms just below the surface with an eerily subconscious pull.

The Criminal-Black-Man is the visible yet untouchable specter that lies at the center of fear and violence. It is personal and yes it is political.