Thursday, November 8, 2012

OK, I have to make at least one more indiscriminate election swipe post

I know you all hate these, but they're bound to end soon, right?

The whole strident non-voting blogging and facebooking thing always struck me as perfect for that "Things White People Like" website. After all, the added-to-the-voting-rolls-in-the-last-hundred-years-both-here-and-abroad community is quite decidedly a community of color. There is a genuine racial dimension to this. When you fought for these rights in your lifetime you're not going to be too sweet on the idea that voting is such a bad thing. I was outside with my neighbor (an older black guy) the weekend before the election when an Obama campaign volunteer walked by and asked if he was voting. He responded like it was the stupidest question in the world, and practically yelled at him "well of course I'm voting!". It's much easier to be non-chalant about the vote if you didn't have to fight for it in the last fifty years.

Anyway, the point is, this stuff about demographics and race isn't just taunting. It really matters if your platform can't garner diverse support. It really matters if rules put disproportionate burdens on certain groups of people. That doesn't mean don't structure voting with rules - but it is something you've got to balance with the benefit of any rule.

Anyway, in the spirit of (to use West's line) "race matters", this introduction was a long way of sharing a funnier take on the problem. Unlearningecon shares the White People Mourning Romney Tumblr.


  1. I hadn't really thought about that before, but I think you're spot on. White men have been in such a position of privilege for so long that many of us forget why government exists in the first place - to protect us from those with privilege.

  2. If you read through the site more closely (instead of inventing excuses as to why it is the opposite of what I say it is), you would know how silly you are being.

    In the second book, they present various "white" people from different hipster cities in America. The San Fransisco "white" person is an Asian woman. The author explains this is because you don't need to actually be white to be a white person, you just need to be rich.

    1. I don't know what conflict you're assuming in the first paragraph. Have we talked about this before? If so I've forgotten. My understanding of it matches exactly with statements Lander has made, so either:

      a. You are misconstruing me, or
      b. We fundamentally disagree in the diagnosis when I think you or others are engaging in what are fundamentally hipster causes

      I think you get me - I'm not being cryptic - so I'm guessing it's b.

      On your second paragraph - of course. That's common practice in analyzing things on the basis of race.

    2. I think if you realized how your humorously dismissive attitudes towards things looked from outside your perspective, you would know how silly you're being.

      It varies, of course. Burgers in a can are more just counter-cultural than hipster. But a ton of the stuff you write about strikes me as extremely hipster/ironic etc.

      But I do think it's b. above. I don't think I'm missing anything fundamental. I think you and I just have a very take on a couple of these stances.

  3. I think you have to be careful here. The fact that I chose not to vote wasn't because "voting is such a bad thing". It is because I could find no compelling reason for choosing one crappy candidate over another. Deciding there isn't a candidate worthy of my vote is very different than not bothering to do any research at all.

    Further, I'm not sure how my race and that of others that may or may not agree with me matters. I certainly try to understand other perspectives but I absolutely do not sit around in distress because not enough of another demographic agree with me. My decision-making and analysis are not predicated on the profile of those that agree or disagree with me. I try to arrive at conclusions based on what is right or wrong, not who agrees with me. The fact that others do not agree with me might indicate I'm wrong and need to examine my position, but it might not.

    1. Right. I hope I've been clear, but if not allow me to clarify -
      I've said at several points in criticizing the people who promote non-voting and the "voter's paradox" that simply not voting isn't a problem. A lot of people aren't invested in the choice in front of them or have better things to do, etc. etc. I didn't vote in 2004 because I really didn't want to vote for either of them and wasn't invested enough in an of the other races.

      I'm more concerned about the people who take the alleged "voter paradox" to the extreme and actually promote non-voting or say things like voters are complicit, etc. etc.

      I am definitely not making the symmetric argument to that - that if you don't vote it's the wrong decision. I think voting's important of course, but I wouldn't say you're wrong not to.

      On your second paragraph - right. It's just something to think about. And if what you think doesn't have broad appeal it's worth asking why it doesn't. And maybe the answer to that "why" will lead you to reconsider or maybe you're comfortable with it. It's just one thing out of many to consider.

      I guess the broader point is that "what is right and wrong" is something that I highly doubt individuals can come at on their own. You need to look to cues from others.

  4. The South rose again .. only to be defeated again.

    1. Virginia won this time around against the Yankee invader from Massachusetts ;-)


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