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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 08 2012

It’s Hard to Teach an “Ole” Dog New Tricks

Not much to say here. Mississippi once again makes a fool of itself.

After President Obama was reelected, a group of students at Mississippi’s largest university, “Ole Miss” decided to protest on campus employing the use of numerous racial slurs best left in the 60s. It’s worth noting that the University of Mississippi has an infamous history due to the violent riots that occurred when the university was integrated by James Meredith in 1962; Mississippi hasn’t been the same since.The problem for Mississippi is that even if this “riot” was exaggerated by the media, the state’s reputation makes an incident like this incredibly believable.

As much as we love to pretend America is post-racial, the harsh reality is that it remains anything but post-racial. In 2008, 88% of white Mississippi voters favored Senator John McCain. Now, four years later, 89% preferred Mitt Romney over Obama. On the bright side, the religious right got over Romney’s Mormonism, which believe it or not indicates some progress. To be fair, black voters overwhelmingly supported Obama, so the racial divide goes both ways. Interestingly, Maine is one of the few states that would have still favored Obama even if you removed the minorities.

There are many great things about Mississippi, but until certain segments of its population either a.) get over themselves or b.) get their ish together, the nation’s “most southern” state will continue to find itself at the butt of many jokes and rankings.

Note: Oxford, MS is a great town and I really enjoy the Ole Miss campus. A colleague spearheaded a college visit / football game trip for a half dozen of our students last year and it was “the best day ever” for many of them. I have nothing against the university but I’d like my students to feel welcome there should they earn admittance down the road.

UPDATE: click here to see what the 2012 Presidential Election would have looked like without Universal Suffrage; in other words, when women and minorities were not allowed to vote!

10 Responses

  1. aea107

    I find the link you posted to electoral maps with minority votes removed INCREDIBLY disturbing, especially because I live in Maryland which is considered one of the bluest states there is, and I assumed it would stay for Obama given this map, but it actually doesn’t. I’m actually shocked by this map, though I suppose I shouldn’t be. I am also disturbed by the need to even create a map with the minorities removed, as though it really matters what only white people want in a county that is, you know, NOT only white people. Frightening stuff. However, I don’t know if I’d say “the racial divide goes both ways.” I think it’s a little more complicated than that. Obviously, the vast majority of Republicans believe that a white president would have their interests more at heart than a black president, and vice versa, but given our country’s long and deeply entrenched relationship with systemic and overt racism, I don’t think we can exactly criticize people of color for widely believing that a person of color will have their best interests at heart. This is not born out of racism, but out of fact. Meanwhile, white people’s aversion to a president of color is not, I think, a result of anything other than actual, blatant (or unconscious) racism. Essentially, there are more white republicans than there are republicans of color. So taking out the “minority” vote is just the equivalent of taking out a huge number of democratic votes. The relationship to race may be less causal than this map makes it appear. In other words, people of color didn’t just vote for Obama because he was black, necessarily, as many have implied, but also because he is a democrat. NPR just ran an interesting segment on the failures of the electoral college where they interviewed someone explaining that, actually, people DON’T just vote based on race (especially people of color, unlike racist white people), citing a recent vote in Alabama where majority black voters selected a white man over a black man because they felt that the white candidate was more representative of their liberal interests. (Can’t recall the names of the candidates, but they just ran the segment yesterday). Interesting read, thanks.

  2. meghank

    Since you are speaking about racism, and how it exists quite obviously today, how about looking at the merger of Memphis City and Shelby County school systems?
    The state has taken over 3 schools and is taking over up to 3 more schools in a single neighborhood: the impoverished, predominantly black neighborhood of Frayser. There is concern in the community that the state is taking over so many schools in Frayser because they would like to cut Frayser out of the Unified School District, which will include the suburban children.

    • thanks for the link. Follow the money and you’ll get answers. Shameful.

  3. meghank

    There was a meeting I attended where the community was up in arms about the takeover of their schools, and there was no media coverage of the events of that meeting.

  4. Ms. Math

    I was very discouraged to see one of Romney’s top campaign managers deflect a question about minority voters by saying that racism was no longer an issue in this country and that we should not divide people up by race to make analysis. I know after teaching that the country still has systemic issues that effect minorities more than whites.
    I think it is okay for blacks to vote for Obama as well-he might understand what they are upset about more than a Republican. I read an article today saying that Hispanics voted for Obama because they l like welfare and thought he would give it to them. I would be SO ANGRY if I was told by a major political party that I’d voted because my entire race was lazy and didn’t want to work. I have met one person who stayed on welfare because she didn’t want to work, but I can’t imagine that most people feel this way. I could be wrong.

  5. Ben

    Yeah, totally agree. If you dont vote for obama, its proof that youre a racist state. God, youre ignorant.

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