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The Triple Whammy of Bigotry in the 2008 Election

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message William John Cox     Permalink
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It’s been awhile since a black man was lynched in America, but the Rove Gang’s getting the crowd ginned up for another one and the town’s on edge.

The last lynching took place 10 years ago in East Texas Bush Country when three young white racists chained James Byrd, a 49-year-old father of three, to the back of their pickup truck and dragged him down the highway until his body was dismembered.

If John McCain and his character assassins and vote riggers succeed, the next one will occur in November and it may tear apart America’s body politic.

The 2008 presidential election will make history. Americans will elect either their first African American president, their oldest president, or their first woman vice president who, given the medical odds, will have a good chance of becoming the first woman president.

During this election, bigotry is the elephant in the room; everybody is tiptoeing around wearing blindfolds, but it and its spoor are too much to ignore.

As an expression for an evil influence or hex, a "whammy" was added to the vernacular in 1941 when a boxing manager said a "double whammy" was the only way African-American boxer Joe Lewis was ever to be knocked out.

We will soon know whether Barack Obama and the American people have suffered a single, double, or triple whammy and we will all suffer from the assault.

Single Whammy - Overt and Latent Racism

We Americans have traveled a great distance in the past 50 years overcoming cultural racism toward those of us who are descended from slaves. We know we’re getting close to the destination when an African American, the child of a white mother and a Kenyan father born into modest circumstances, has had the educational, social and political opportunities to become a United States Senator and a leading candidate for president.

The scenery becomes more diverse as we look at the faces in the multi-cultural and multiracial crowd of 80,000 Americans who stood together in Denver to cheer as Barack Obama accepted his party’s nomination.

One week later, the scenery changed dramatically when we arrived in St. Paul and could easily discern the continuing effects of cultural racism reflected in the all-white faces of those who came together to nominate a rich old white man named John McCain, the son and grandson of class privilege, as their party’s candidate.

Eighty percent of Americans say they are "dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States," and their opinion about who is best qualified to do something about it changes from week to week. Obama’s three-point lead going into the Democratic convention was increased by five points after his acceptance speech.

However, after McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate, the polls temporarily gave the Republican ticket a two-point lead, but they are now shifting back. Obama currently has a 49 to 44 percent lead with those voters most likely to go to the polls in November.

It’s one thing to say you’re going to vote for a candidate while talking to another person on the telephone during a "scientific" opinion poll, but it’s quite another thing to actually cast one’s vote for that person in secret and as a matter of conscience in the voting booth. That precise moment is when latent racism may allow some voters to conceal their shame and to express their hidden prejudice.

We all know that racism exists in America, but it’s difficult to measure its full extent and more particularly to predict whether it will be a deciding factor in the 2008 election.

To the extent we’re hiring a president when we vote, particularly one named Barack Hussein Obama, a study conducted by two professors (Bertrand & Mullaninathan) in 2001 and 2002 is very revealing. Fictitious resumes were sent in response to 1,300 help-wanted advertisements for a broad range of jobs. Resumes reflecting comparable education and experience were assigned names that sounded either very white or very African-American.

The study found that resumes with white names were 50 percent more likely to get called for an initial interview than blacks. There was also a 30 percent increase in call-backs for white-sounding applicants with higher-quality backgrounds over less qualified whites, while high-quality resumes with black-sounding names were only called back 9 percent of the time.

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William John Cox authored the Policy Manual of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Role of the Police in America for a National Advisory Commission during the Nixon administration. As a public interest, pro bono, attorney, he filed a class action lawsuit in 1979 petitioning the Supreme Court to order a National Policy Referendum; he investigated and successfully sued a group of radical (more...)
 

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