Friday, June 23, 2017

Scared White People


seattletimes |  “I’ve got three words for you: scared white people,” Parker says. “Every period of racial progress in this country is followed by a period of retrenchment. That’s what the 2016 election was about, and it was plain as it was happening.”

To be clear: Neither Parker, nor the latest research, is saying that Trump voters are all racists. Most voting is simply party-line no matter who is running. What they’re saying is that worries about the economy, free trade and the rest were no more important in 2016 than in previous elections, but racial resentment spiked.

It makes sense, considering the candidate himself was maligning Mexicans and openly calling for banning Muslims.

What’s doubly interesting is that Parker suspects the reason his research gets overlooked is because he is black. He senses it’s assumed that as a black man he must be biased about race, or is too quick to invoke it.

“I get a whole lot more respect over in Europe,” Parker told me. “There, it’s all about the ideas and whether my social science is sound. It’s not about who I am, like it so often is here.”

Meanwhile, white writers such as J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” are seen as guru guides to Trump country. Even though the mostly colorblind story of economic dead-end-ism Vance tells apparently isn’t what really turned the election.

Parker and Barreto now are working on their own book, out next year, called “The Great White Hope: Donald Trump, Race and the Crisis of Democracy.” Will that get ignored, too?

“I get it, nobody wants to be told what they don’t want to hear,” Parker says. “People want there to be a more innocent explanation, about jobs or trade or something. But sorry, everyone — it just isn’t there. My plea to people is we ought to start focusing on what’s real.”