LJWorld.com weblogs Loyal Opposition
Mr. Pitts wrote another fascinating column published in the LJW this AM. His conclusion in the story header was “Tea Party Anger has racial Tone”. That is a pretty serious charge. How did he get there?
How about we walk down this one. Mr. Pitts started with a study from a University of Washington Think Tank. The study defined racist attitudes by asking a number of questions. Mr. Pitts elected to define a positive answer to one of those questions as indicating the respondent is a racist.
First of all a check on the University of Washington. The University is active in political polling and I could fine no comments critical of their efforts. In fact a number of comments were positive. There were some comments questioning the political leanings of the faculty but I could fine nothing to clarify that comment. They appear to know how to conduct a poll properly.
So we can assume the study was professionally done with no political bias. Now let us ask our own question. Who decided that agreeing with the statement that “if blacks would only try harder; they would be just as well off as whites” indicates you are racist? I suspect we could have a lengthy dialogue about that determination. I even suspect that many if not all of the group answering that question in the affirmative do not consider themselves racist.
But, let us accept that an affirmative answer defines you as raciest. The real meat in the study would be that 56% of all whites answered it in the AFFIRMATIVE. Worse, we have data that suggests that people not infrequently provide answers to such questions that are not accurate. I am sure some respondents saw where the study was going and said "Oh, no”. That means the number of whites who are racist as determined by this study could be even higher. Essentially, the study data suggests that a majority of all whites are racist. Since whites are a significant majority in this country that does not bode well for the future of efforts to address racism. Bet we could have a really good dialogue on this topic.
The next step in Mr. Pitt’s reasoning was to indicate that upwards of 73% of the “Tea Parties” most rabid followers supported the above notion. Interesting. What portion of the “Tea Parties” members are considered the “most rapid”? Just who was defined as a “Tea Party” member? Last I looked there was not registration for membership in what appears to be a very heterogeneous group. Are the “most rapid” a significant majority or even a significant plurality of the “movement”? Could a significant majority identify with the 56% “of all whites” – essentially making them no different from most of the electorate. I bet we could have a real dialogue on this topic also.
So, in summary. If you believe that the question posed does in fact indicate that a positive response makes you racist and if you believe that the “most rapid” tea party members are a significant portion of the movement and in fact reflect the attitude of most others who identify as “tea party” members (and are in fact tea party members), than the article is predictive. Otherwise – I am sure we could have a good dialogue on that, too.