RACE AND GENDER….I don’t know if the results on the right, from a new CBS poll, are surprising or not. Maybe they aren’t. But take a look anyway.
First: Most people say they personally don’t care if a presidential candidate is black or white. Heartwarming, no? However, since most people either don’t want to think of themselves as racist or else don’t want to admit it, we might take that with a grain of salt. A more accurate accounting, perhaps, comes from what all these colorblind folks think about their friends. Answer: 33% say that “most” of the people they know wouldn’t vote for a black candidate. This means that either a lot of Americans are very cynical about their friends, or else a lot of Americans are stone racists.
So Barack Obama has his work cut out for him. But now take a look at the second result: 17% of the population would prefer to vote for a man. Obviously people don’t mind being publicly sexist as much as they mind being publicly racist. But again, that number probably isn’t very trustworthy, so take a look instead at what people say about their friends. A full 45% think that “most” of their friends would refuse to vote for a woman. (This result is about the same for both Democratic and Republican/independent respondents.) 42% say people they know have judged Hillary Clinton more harshly because she’s a woman. Is this cynicism? Or is America heavily populated by stone sexists?
Both of these results are skewed by people’s willingness to be honest, and both are probably also skewed by reactions to the particular candidates running right now. But this poll certainly suggests that racism is alive and well in America, and that misogyny is even aliver and weller.