Sunday, January 13, 2008

More On The Bradley Effect

Hear two NPR discussions mentioning the problem of the "Bradley Effect" and how it may have impacted Barack Obama in New Hampshire. The problem is inherently difficult to measure. In Iowa, participants had to face their fellow citizens by making their vote known. But in New Hampshire, voters made their choices in a closed voting booth, free from peer pressure or any guilt. New Hampshire primary voters may have had an easier time switching their votes at the last minute and making a choice contrary to what they may have told pollsters just hours earlier.

I believe that Obama will have a serious problem with the "Bradley Effect" on February 5th, or in a General Election. The problem may be amplified in a General Election because all Party affiliations will be able to cast a ballot. The question may be, will the "Bradley Effect" be enough to overcome the groundswell of support that he has been receiving in recent weeks?

There are just some Americans who would not vote for a Black person under any circumstances. And these folks aren't going anywhere. Unfortunately this Country has not totally freed itself from the problem of race. I am not so sure that a Color Blind society is even possible. We may be as close to it as we are ever going to get.

This is one of the main reasons why I had doubts, and continue to have doubts about Obama's chances in a General Election.

1 comment:

Adam B. Ricketson (alias) said...

I'll play the optimist here, and say that we are inevitably progressing towards an increasingly color/race-blind society.

Admittedly, people will always be judged by their appearance, and pigmentation may play a role in that. However, I think that the situation will get much better over the next several generations. Here's why:

1) Consider the situation among whites. Differences in pigmentation are pretty much ignored, except in teeny-bopper fads. Back in the 19th century, there were strong distinctions between the dominant English/Germanic population, and other European groups such as the Irish or Slavs. Those distinctions are gone today.

2) Racial categories depend upon the perception of there being distinct groups, with little overlap, into which most people can easily be categorized. The American population is changing such that it will become increasingly difficult to draw these distinctions.

Consider that in the 19th century, the American population was composed of four different groups that had been pretty isolated from each other before the year 1500.

There were native Americans, western Europeans, western Africans, and east Asians. Since then, the borders of these groups have constantly been blurred by inter-breeding and continued immigration from "intermediate" groups (eastern Europeans, Semites, northern Africans, eastern Africans, south Asians).

Before long, there will be no racial majority in America. The concept of race will become blatantly absurd (as it is to people who look at the entire human population).