What counts as racial resentment: Presumably, there’s quite a bit of “racial resentment” in this country. Given America’s brutal racial history, it would be strange if there weren’t.
Last Sunday, at Forest Hills, Serena Williams may have expressed a bit of racial resentment, or something in that ball park. George Vecsey wrote about the incident in Monday’s New York Times.
To our ear, Vecsey may have been expressing a bit of resentment himself.
Did Williams express a bit of “racial resentment” when she called that umpire a “hater?” If so, were her judgments/ feelings/ assessments/ impressions justified, accurate, on-target, reasonable? Due to our brutal racial history, race is a very important part of our culture. Its manifestations ought to be assessed with great care.
Many people do make such careful assessments. Sadly, that’s when the professors arrive, with their embarrassing list of questions and their low-IQ thoughts and assessments.
(For background, see yesterday’s report.)
Nothing that follows will make much sense unless you can imagine the following: Over and over, again and again, our professors just aren’t all that sharp. They fumble about with their various projects; after that, they treat themselves to a year of rest in France. Again and again in the past thirty years, they’ve been AWOL from the society’s struggles. Tomorrow, we’ll try to explain why they’ve done so little to challenge the disinformation campaigns surrounding Social Security.
We know, we know—it’s hard to believe. But again and again, our greatest professors just aren’t all that sharp! And we don’t think the professors have been very sharp with their “racial resentment scale”—with the silly list of questions they use to measure that trait. Given the nation’s brutal history, race is a very important topic. In our view, we’re being quite dumb—and quite disrespectful—when we claim to measure “racial resentment” on the basis of the professors’ four questions.
What a country! Respondents are asked if they agree or disagree with these four statements:
RACIAL RESENTMENT SCALE:As a measure of “racial resentment,” that survey strikes us as quite dumb—and quite disrespectful. We’ll offer just a few thoughts:
Irish, Italians, Jewish and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors.
Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.
Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve.
It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.
Many African-Americans have feelings of something like racial resentment. Given America’s brutal history, why wouldn’t that be the case? But to our utterly hapless professors, “racial resentment” can mean only one thing; it can only refer to resentments people may hold against blacks.
And yes, RACIAL RESENTMENT SCALE is the professors’ chosen heading. It’s right on their questionnaire.
We think their questions are pretty dumb even for the limited purpose of measuring racial resentment against blacks. But those questions can only hope to measure resentment which flows in that direction.
Guess what, professors? Many black Americans feel various racial resentments too! If you’d get your asses out of the south of France, you might ingest this point.
What a weird, peculiar survey. Now, the basic question:
Can answers to those four survey questions produce a measure of “racial resentment?” From the professors’ Olympian point of view, anyone can quickly see what the “correct” answers are. But from the standpoint of “racial resentment,” do those questions really have right and wrong responses?
Consider just the first question—the question about “special favors.”
Good god. The term “special favors” is a major buzzword in American politics. Surely, even a gang of professors must understand that fact. It’s hard to imagine that any conservative would ever agree to any plan to confer “special favors.”
And sure enough! When the professors presented that question as part of their Election 2010 survey, 80 percent of tea party supporters agreed with that statement, thus recommending no “special favors.” (We’re getting our agreement/disagreement data from Table 3 in this paper by Alan Abramowitz—from the man who thought, in 2006, that Candidate Gore was not attacked by the press for allegedly saying that he invented the Internet. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/4/08.)
According to the professors, this answer was a marker of those respondents’ “racial resentment.” We think that assessment is basically dumb, and disrespectful of the brutality of our racial history. On the bright side, it does produce an outcome we liberals enjoy discussing at cocktail parties. Two points:
Eighty percent of tea party supporters agreed with “no special favors.” But for what it’s worth, so did 48 percent of everyone else! Overall, roughly 55 percent of all Americans gave the “incorrect” answer to the professors’ first question—the answer which signals “racial resentment.”
(Added note: 23 percent of respondents in the October 2010 survey identified themselves as tea party supporters.)
Granted, there’s a lot of “racial resentment” out there. But just as an intellectual matter, are we really sure we’re on the right track when we make such bald assessments?
By the way: How many African-American respondents also gave the incorrect answer to that first question? Abramowitz doesn’t say. But don’t worry, many did. Apparently, they're feeling "racial resentment" against black people too!
Second by the way: When people disagreed with that statement, were they saying that blacks should get “special favors?” Is that the current liberal position? We think the professors’ first question is very dumb, except as an inkblot exercise. We wouldn’t know how to answer that question; this verbal conundrum is one of the reasons why.
For the record, tea party supporters gave the “wrong” answers to all four questions more often than non-supporters did. That said, the political content of those murky questions made that a fairly obvious outcome. But with all four questions, large percentages of non-tea party supporters gave the wrong answers too; the percentages ranged from 36 percent up to that 48. We’d love to see the percentages of black respondents who gave the wrong answers to those questions—and we’d like to see a straight match-up among whites respondents only. The professors’ pool boys ran to proclaim the high rate of resentment among tea party supporters. We’d be curious about the levels of resentment found among everyone else.
More than anything, we’d like to see the professors sail to France and consider staying. Who knows? Their questions may serve some modest purpose, perhaps in comparisons over time. But in our view, the professors are being extremely dumb when they affix that label to those answers. Race is a very important topic; we think these reliably lazy thinkers should show a bit more respect.
Often, these people just aren’t very sharp. Why won’t their pool boys just say so?