Thursday, October 25, 2012

What is White Privilege? Mitt Romney Losing Two Debates But Gaining Support Among White Voters

Eddie Murphy - White for a day from andreppstos on Vimeo.

White privilege is the bundle of unearned advantages that comes with being categorized as "white" in American society. Those of us who study race and politics often have a hard time convincing white people--and some others overly identified with Whiteness--of how this dynamic impacts our society.

On Tuesday, Mitt Romney was embarrassed by Barack Obama in a debate about foreign policy. There, Romney was a child trying to engage in a fist fight against a grown man, and subsequently had his behind, almost quite literally, handed to him. Obama thrashed Mitt Romney in the prior debate as well. Thus, a puzzle and conundrum: Mitt Romney has gained support among white voters after both horrible performances.

How do we explain this trend?

President Obama has the double burden of being African-American and an incumbent. His record in office is colored by his race--and what the white public's perception of Obama's blackness means for how they assess his performance and accomplishments.

Barack Obama is hamstrung by a double standard where he is held to a far higher bar for success than a white president. For that reason, and some very significant others too, his reelection campaign is now very much imperiled.

Let me be clear: Barack Obama did poorly in the first debate against Mitt Romney. However, Obama's sub par performance was better than either of Romney's performances in the last two contests. But, Romney is gaining in the polls with white voters who somehow see him as "qualified" enough to be President after losing two debates in a row against the president.

The empirical evidence has long suggested that presidential debates are unimportant for voters' decisions on election day. We have also never had a black president running for a second term. I would suggest that this upsets all of our existing models and explanations.

Obama is playing a game that folks who look like him are not supposed to be involved in. Black Americans have been defined for centuries as "anti-citizens," and had to be specifically written back into the Constitution in order to correct what was a gross birth defect at the heart of "the greatest democracy" in the world. Obama's rise to the presidency is an anomaly in the the American political tradition.

Consequently, all rules are now off and need to be rewritten as we try to conceptualize Barack Obama's run for reelection within the long arch of race and politics in American history.

The counter-factual is very telling. Consider the following scenario for a moment.

If Obama had lost the final two debates by the same degree as Romney, the polls would be even more overwhelmingly in favor of the challenger (at this point, Obama would be calling the moving trucks; Romney would be measuring the curtains). In all, the outsized advantage enjoyed by Romney is more than a twist on the advantage held by a candidate without a record, who is running a post-truth campaign where lying is the norm, and against an incumbent who is in office during hard economic times.

Historically, white privilege has meant the subsidization of white mediocrity. In this election, that standing rule has played out with white independent voters, many of who simply want the incumbent out of office, and are influenced by a concerted campaign of anti-black racism, the mining of white racial resentment, and the Republican Party's use of the Southern Strategy 2.0 to undermine the country's first black president.

For these voters, white privilege and white racism has legitimated, and thus made okay, a basic calculation. The black guy was given a shot, the White candidate is not doing too great but is good enough, and in their hearts, the "hope and change" we need is for a White candidate to once again be in charge of a White Republic as a way of returning it to normalcy. White is right. Mitt Romney is their candidate.

Centuries of American history have demonstrated how an exceptional black man will almost always lose out to a slightly above average (or even horribly untalented) white man. Black folks do not have to be ten times better to get half as far anymore. Nevertheless, we do need to be substantially better to simply get a fair shot. In presidential politics, this may be a bridge too far for Barack Obama to cross.

White privilege is the de facto standing decision rule in American life, culture, society, and politics. That Romney could win by losing is further proof of a hard truth about the permanence of the color line in post racial, post civil rights, America

Ultimately, a black man can be elected President. White privilege will not allow him to be reelected to the office. The truth hurts. Perhaps, and with two weeks from election day, all of us had best get used to that fact.

25 comments:

nomad said...

Funny how white privilege will allow a black man to be elected but it won't allow him to be re-elected. Go figure.

Black Sage said...

Ultimately, a black man can be elected President. White privilege will not allow him to be reelected to the office. – ChaunceyD

This empire was in fact designed by White people, for White people only. Simply because a Black man was SELECTED doesn’t necessarily ean he will be re-elected. When Obama won the presidency, it served a specific purpose. That purpose was merely to give the appearance to the domestic masses and the international community that progress is being made within the Eagle empire concerning the issue of race.

Remember what Clint Eastwood said on Aug. 3rd at the Republican convention, “we own this country.” Certainly he wasn’t referring to all Americans, that was a dog-whistle to White Americans that time has pretty much expired for Obama and he must be shoved out of the back door of the White House. Simply put, there is no surprise on my part that Rum Romney loss two debates; however, he’s supposedly leading in many national voting polls. Noticeably, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC steer clear of this fact. Imperialism at its best!

makheru bradley said...

Stop making excuses for Barack Obama’s crass ineptitude. Obama built a significant lead for three quarters of the game, particularly with white women. Then he passively sleepwalks through most of the fourth quarter and allows his opponent to get back in the game. The white women who abandoned Obama didn’t suddenly become racists. They saw their Black knight in shining armor get punked, so the ditched his ass. Having been jilted once, his pleas for a comeback have fallen on deaf ears.

We’re down to the two-minute warning. The game is not over. What does your man have left in his playbook to pull out a W?

nomad said...

@Thrasher
Believe it or not I didn't read the previous post. I was still taunting the Obamites on the other post. Where were you? And CD? And Fred?

nomad said...

White privilege is going to prevent Obama from being reelected? You say that like its a bad thing. Obama has accomplished more for the rightwing agenda than any GOP president could hope to dream of. There is that brilliant disposition matrix for example. Could you imagine Bush achieving something like that without fierce opposition from the left? And cutting SS? Remember that grand bargain he tried to give the GOP last year? It's back. I nearly fell off my chair when I read that liberal Dems working hard to get Obama elected were already planning to launch a protest against the presidents planned grand bargain immediately after his reelection! Oh, the irony of putting someone in the white house to do things you don't want! Sorry...I can't hold it in any longer!!!...BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!
http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-hill-catches-on-to-grand-bargain.html

CNu said...

lol@WWE fans

foaming at the mouth and taking this racialized sock-puppet spectacle as seriously as they take the faux drama of their favorite sports teams....,

Anonymous said...

Obama is being judged on his record not the color of his skin. Many people voting to put him in office, and lots of those voters were white. He has hurt the poor and middle class, and this is what is hurting him now as he tries to gain another term. In fact, he is using the blacks and latinos to vote for him, but if you have been studying what he has been promoting for the blacks and latinos during his time in office he has actually been honoring the secret promises he made to those wealthy individuals who gave him conservatively a combined amount of well over one billion dollars. He said he would address the needs of the latino community in his first year in office but he waited until he needed their votes to address their issues. Information regarding what Obama's agenda actually is, is available to everyone to see but it is extremely difficult to find. I have had to work for hours each day to find the information that exactly outlines what motivates Obama's decisions. And the short version is that it doesn't matter what person is in the Whitehouse, what matters is how are you and I, the citizens, doing. How is our country doing. Obama's blackness isn't important, what he is doing for the people he has sworn to be serve, that is the issue. Obama has done really mean and scary things to our government and he insults us by assuming we are too stupid to study his administration and become aware of the facts. I don't bother to explain it to the black citizens unless they ask me to because anyone can see that gas prices have doubled and everything has gone way up in price except our incomes. We all know that we're hurting. I'm really saddened that because his skin is dark (not even black but just darker than most whites) that is ALL the black community knows. Black black black black... and everybody who recognizes our is in serious financial trouble and is afraid to give Obama a second term are all racists. This isn't true. I am not a racist. I do not believe that the color of a persons skin and their heritage reflects anything about their character except for their character. I know for a fact that we are a nation of individuals and ultimately whether our country enjoys prosperity or failure is something that all of us will enjoy or suffer together. We are the people, we are our nation, we are born at the same time in history and live together in the same nation, black or white and it is us who will suffer if things continue on the same path that this president is bringing us. If you call me inaccurate regarding the content of this information or if you call me a racist you are wrong, and just for the record, I am not voting for Obama because he has not honored his promises to the poor and the middle class, period!

Anonymous said...

BTW, the media wants Obama to win the election because Obama has supported the super wealthy and the bankers. He has literally emptied our US treasury of trillions of dollars and just given our money to these wealthy bankers. It is stealing and white and black people steal and Obama allowed this thieft to occur on his watch, during his presidency. It was your money as well as mine. This president has created anger amongst the people and this is why he is struggling in the polls. AND you can not judge who won or lost the debate unless you know the truth behind the statements that were made during the debates. Many people are studying what is true and what were lies and this is why Obama is considered to have lost votes after the debates because he pulled statements out of the air that were later discovered to be inaccurate. He will not give his college or passport information for the 5 million dollars because he went to college as a foreign exchange student and that is why Trump made that offer. He wanted to bring this fact to light. Know the facts and you won't feel wronged by people who don't want to give Obama a second term.

Black Sage said...

As a sign of protestation, I highly encourage everyone to vote for the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan as a write-in for the next POTUS. Although, I'm quite certain he doesn't want that shitty-ass job!

Thrasher said...

You doth protest to much... Yea you are a racist

Brotha Wolf said...

White privilege is a hell of a drug.

Black Sage said...

You doth protest to much... Yea you are a racist – The one and only Thrasher

@Thrasher, it is obvious to me that you’ve been dominated and has had another culture imposed their views upon you for so long that you’re not even conscious that cultural imperialism have placed you in a state of subjugation. Wake up my 58 year-old brotha!

Even further, just because Mr. Farrakhan advocates self-determination, calls America out on its woeful legacy of bigotry, how does that make him a racist?

D. said...

@Anon

Oh for the love of- The president can't control gas prices, not without socializing the industry. If he could, he would since $1.00 a gallon would guarantee a reelection. And no matter how you slice it, we still pay only half as much as Europe and Australia.

Pretty much everything else is true, which makes me wonder: is this discrimination against Obama really a bad thing. For the first time since Viatnam, the authority and morality of the US government is being challenged. I doubt the dissent would be so vocal if the president was white, but could the fact that White people have finally taken notice of the not-so-great things about executive power be a catalyst for a change towards the better. . . or it's back to the norm of rewarding mediocrity and the denial of rights when the next White man walks into the Oval Office?

nomad said...

Your vote is not as important as you think. Well not in choosing a president anyway. They just need the aggregate to validate the two party system. Sadly, the system is no longer worthy of validation. We need to make that clear in November. Vote in November, by all means. Just don't vote for either scoundrel party. We could liberate our constitution from the Demoblican thieves and murderers in a ideological and bloodless revolution.
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/10/mainstream-commentator-vote-third-party.html
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/10/mainstream-commentator-vote-third-party.html

Anonymous said...

Are you perpetuating this inferiority complex are just victim to it, Chauncey. I could not help but notice your continued capitalization of the term 'white' and not doing so for the term 'Black'.

Please revise henceforth.

Anonymous said...

Should read: OR are you just a victim to it, Chauncey?

nomad said...

Huh? The most absurd criticism ever. I give CD points for not capitalizing black. That's so old school. (And I shouldn't have to mention that he only capitalized white where it was warranted: beginning of sentence: "White Republic").

nomad said...

Anyway, what I was going to say was that our faith (and that's what it is) in the two party system is a form of mind control. The reason it works is because we're all hedging our vote on what the other guy will do. "If I vote my conscience I'd vote for her, but she can't win." How many literal millions of other people are saying the same thing and then going ahead and validating evil? The fault dear Chauncey lies not in our star...well, yeh, it do lie in our star...but also in us. We are under some deep-seated mind control, to follow the other 2 party lobotomized lemmings. Like a monkey trapped because he refuses to let go of the prize he found in a vase whose opening is not large enough to let him extract his clutched hand. And yet all he has to do to go free is unclutch his greedy fist and remove his relaxed hand from the jar. Now is the time. Probably the last time. The doors of the fascist state are about to slam shut. The Dems and GOP have colluded to rob the people of their power. I think its time to show them how much we appreciate it. Vote for anyone but these crooks.

chaunceydevega said...

@Nomad. I guesss anon wants to write a style guide for WARN. You know you score points when that is all they got. There is a whole discussion out there about "white" vs "White" and "Black" versus "black" etc. that I am not interested in getting into now. Thanks for handling that.

nomad said...

It's got a nice beat and you can dance to it.
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/stevie-wonder-releases-song-supporting-obama-20121026

Anonymous said...

Nomad... You sure do have it right !!! ... I'm not voting for anybody because it’s not about the election, it’s about checking that box that says we're a citizen of the United States. The US corporation just wants us to go to the voting box and Plug-In for another 4 years. And I refuse to consent to their jurisdiction. They are all a pack of criminals and none of them really gives a crap about any of us. Truth is that Obama’s administration is a horror show of over 38 unelected Czars that he personally appointed and almost everyone else surrounding him are Lobbiest Whores and even though Obama insisted he’d clean out the Lobbiests, his administration has almost double the Lobbiests of past adminstrations… !!! sorry if the truth hurts, but geeezzze am I the only one with eyes? Obama may talk a good game but it’s all a Big Game. It’s always only a big game. There hasn’t been a truly honest president in the whitehouse sense Kennedy, and he was murdered for going against the bankers and trying to help the American people. Why doesn’t anyone talk about the massive amounts of military equipment being transported throughout the US? Things are looking pretty darn frightening. My advise - Keep’em locked and loaded, stock up on plenty of food and water…, and regardless of who ends up being in the Whitehouse… GOOD LUCK!

nomad said...

I'm still for voting. We can bring 'em down by voting for anyone but Republicrats or Demoblicans (but, really, don't vote for Libertarians either; same poison). It would be a vote of no confidence if the votes for third party candidates outnumbered the 'legacy' parties. It would be a total rejection of them by the people and it would render the rule by this duopoly illegitimate.

Anonymous said...

Nomad, regarding the voting thing, watch Season of Treason Full, the full part means that the entire video is complete and you don't have to jump around looking for the rest of it. This guy explains who the US corporation is and how they get us dragged into their system. This guy's stuff will Blow Your Mind. I've had lots of people watch his videos. Mind blowing. I'm not saying not to vote but after hearing what this dude has to say, you'll be informed about how the people in DC view us, the US citizens. You'll get an inside view that will empower your position as a citizen of this crazy country. After watching it I decided to just sit it out. Things are so crazy out-of-control right now I'd rather be on the sidelines.

nomad said...

Are you kidding me? Judging by the first 5 minutes I'd be wasting my time with this Confederate nostalgia. Perhaps you could direct me to some specific portion that's relevant.

nomad said...

WARN may be thru with this topic, but U no me...I sit an croak and a single joke I have which is to say:

'Personally, I am done with the two part system... I am not playing their games any longer and I will not fall for any more of their scams. ..I implore everyone to do the same, no matter who you vote for, vote third party. The only wasted vote I see is one for either Mitt Romney or Barrack Obama.'

Well that's not me but it might as well be.
http://www.pakalertpress.com/2012/10/28/forget-1-99-or-47-it-is-the-turn-of-the-70-to-be-pissed/