9 thoughts on “Racism decreased in the US, but not for Conservative Republicans

  1. Hi Uli, I was wondering, on a technical note, how do you specify the effect of an observed exogenous variable on observed exogeneous variables, as in your models? I am an old and rusty LISRELite, and I cannot recollect right now how these effects may be specified.
    Thanks
    Best
    Luigi

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    1. Hi Luigi, MPLUS is a wonderfully simple language to specify structural equations.
      Here is the syntax.

      ! Measurement Model of Racism
      racism by work_up;
      racism by affirm;
      racism by anti_bm;
      racism by ft_white;
      racism by spend_black;

      ! Extra relations among indicators
      affirm with work_up;
      ft_white with anti_bm;

      ! Relationship with conservative republican
      racism on con_rep;
      affirm on con_rep;
      spend_black on con_rep;

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  2. I appreciate the work you do and your candor, but this to me seems tendentious. I don’t think ‘racism’ has any precise meaning or validity. The measures you use seem to imply that it is basically anyone who opposes your policy preferences and worldview regarding Blacks, or else anyone who isn’t sufficiently pro-Black, by your arbitrary estimation. In common vernacular, ‘racism’ is increasingly just an epithet for ‘White’, or a White who isn’t ‘woke’, and your analysis is in keeping with this trend. I think something like ‘in-group preference’ or measures of identification with one’s race/ethnicity is a more coherent and meaningful construct. Alternatively, if you intend to measure how Whites, and only Whites, feel about Blacks, why not just measure that? What informational content does the term ‘racist’ provide other than to signal your own opinion of their moral deficiency?

    Clearly, Blacks and Whites, and Blacks and Asians, and so on are not ‘equal’ in average life outcomes- everyone acknowledges this. This has no bearing on a) what policies people prefer in response or b) how they tend to treat individuals of different races (as opposed to the abstract category of those races).

    Regarding the latter, see (https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-12064-001), reporting that White liberals tend to talk to Blacks like children. This is despite liking Blacks more than they like themselves. White liberals are unique in that they are the only group in the US that feels more positively towards out-groups (i.e. non-Whites) than they feel about themselves. White liberals regard this is a virtue – I regard it as pathological. Zach Goldberg has popularized this finding, but anyone can easily verify this for themselves using GSS data, or ANES data, for example (see 2018 Pilot study).

    Out of Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics, Whites basically have the lowest degree of identification with their race and the lowest degree of in-group-racial preference. Whites discriminate less than Blacks (see: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2053168017753862). Your analysis, however, ignores this context. If you applied your analysis consistently, Blacks would easily be the most ‘racist’ group in the country. White liberals would, of course, regard Black racism itself as a result of their own imaginary supremacy.

    I also wonder if you would regard hereditarians as racist, by definition? By hereditarians I mean people who understand the role that genes play in influencing behavioral and cognitive traits associated with life outcomes and who also understand that the frequencies of alleles contributing to those heritable traits are not evenly and identically distributed across racial groups – i.e. vary by ancestry. What if they also really liked Blacks and love policies like “Affirmative Action”?

    This is a very old question with decades (centuries?) of research addressing it, but I wonder how much of this is related to exposure to Blacks. With few exceptions, most people tend to prefer not to live in predominantly Black neighborhoods, including Blacks. So, if conservatives disproportionately live in areas in which they tend to have lots of negative experiences with ‘Black folk’ (e.g. crime, anti-social behavior, etc) then that would tend to downgrade their assessment of Black people as a category – although, again, it might not have any bearing on (or else is related in a very complicated way with) their concrete relationships with Blacks. I wouldn’t even be surprised if White conseratives, on average, have more Black friends than White liberals, which is why, for White liberals, the act of *saying* you have Black friends is itself sure proof of your racism!

    But joking aside, I find it unnerving that you would even regard the term ‘racist’ as a valid and meaningful way to categorize people – as if the abstract concept could be a cause of concrete behavior and attitudes. This gets everything backward. I’ll conclude with an analogy – I think basically the term ‘racist’ is no more (or less) valid than the term ‘Suppressive Person’ (SP) as used in Scientology circles. I’m sure they both seem to have concrete meaning to the people who employ them, but to me they are primarily means of signaling moral approval and disapproval using completely arbitrary criteria that are inconsistently applied.

    Sincerely, – anonymous troll.

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    1. In my post, I never label a single individual as a racist for two reasons. First, racism is a continuum like many other personality traits. There are no types, they are simplifications. Second, correlations are about relationships between variances and latent variables never represent a specific individual. I am merely showing that conservative republicans score higher in racism (are more racist) than other Americans. Of course, I could have used a different term, but I am not sure what would be a better term for a trait that makes people oppose a Black family member. Do you have a suggestion?

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      1. Hi, you ask a fair question. And I don’t have a satisfactory answer. Obviously my comments have no direct bearing on your formal model – I would need to propose my own and/or spend much more time analyzing yours than I have. I will just say that, according to Jardina’s ‘White Identity Politics’ Whites can be “pro-White” without being anti-Black or having a negative opinion of other races generally, so that might be something worth considering. This is stating the obvious, and everyone takes this for granted for anyone who isn’t White, but still, it came as a shock to some people.

        Anyway, I’d have to think about it some more, but to me the phenomenon you are describing is a form of homophily. Racial homophily? Ethnic homophily? I’m clearly more concerned with the moral baggage around the term “racist” than the term itself – if you’d be willing to use that term to describe a Black parent, for example, who’d prefer their kids marry a Black person, then that would at least be consistent. If I come up with anything I’ll be sure to let you know.

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  3. Hello! I happened to pass by and am honestly a little baffled. I find it to be very hard/impossible to quantify racism based solely on what people are for and against. For example, I myself am a woman and I am against affirmative action. My father was barred from taking a class that would have given him the opportunity to become a teacher (his dream job) based solely on his sex. He didn’t grow up rich by any means and even if he did, it would be no excuse to put a woman in his seat, when he had an A in the class prior and was the first to sign up (confirmed by secretary) for a first come, first serve class. That should not make me sexiest to believe that affirmative action is both unfair but also a little patronizing and sexist in nature. I feel that people believe in or are against certain policies for many different reasons, and it can be quite insulting to generalize people and suggest a label for them that could harm/slander them for a crime they didn’t commit. It’s important to see others as human beings first. Everyone has different experiences and ideas and that’s what makes us unique. We shouldn’t be statistics; we should be individuals. Unfortunately, there are real racists left, right, and center. I personally believe that racism is regressive and even a genetic mistake. The human race is better off mingling instead of creating “us vs them”. The easiest way to end racism (an impossible task unfortunately) is to see an individual, not skin color. To rise above the ashes and make a better world for then next generation. It’s what our ancestors did, and it’s what we should do. God speed, friend.

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    1. Hi Rebekkah, to understand the post it is important to realize that (a) the model does not rely on measuring racism of individuals, it allows for errors in the relationship between responses to a specific item and racism (b) some of the questions are not about affirmative actions but about interracial marriage, where your concerns do not apply. So, it is entirely possible that you can be against affirmative actions without being racist or sexists and that the claims in the blog post are correct.

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  4. I do wish the people who made the graphs would consider readability from the perspective of the people who really need to see this type of information.

    0.0 to 0.4 isn’t going to mean anything to the average person who actually NEEDS to see this information. We aren’t new to this, we’ve been doing this for quite a while. There needs to be someone who steps up and stops the nonsense. We aren’t going to be able to show everyone the error of their ways, but we certainly can remove some of the obstacles along the path.

    The average person seems to struggle with understanding these terms. We know this. Stop making it harder than it has to be.

    “For v against”, or “agree v disagree”; and, “x” out of “n”, or some other real-world numeric notation — would go a long way in shortening the time it takes for people to explain what is being shown in the charts.

    ijs.

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