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Posts Tagged ‘race’

Pretty shocking photo.

 

(photo by Jose Fidelino Vera Hernandez, AP)

From the CNN story:

A car plowed into a weekend bike race along a highway near the U.S.-Mexico border, killing one and injuring 10 others, police said.

The 28-year-old driver was apparently drunk and fell asleep when he crashed into the race, said police investigator Jose Alfredo Rodriguez.

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The exit polls have been pretty off the mark this election season but in a consistent manner. As Brendan Loy notes in this post, the polls have been typically off by 7-8 points in Obama’s direction. This pattern was repeated yesterday — Clinton won Pennsylvania by 9 points when the CNN exit polls earlier in the day predicted she should win by 2.

I guess this is due to a combination of two factors.

1) The pollsters are clueless about weighted sampling and ignorant about the demographics of this contest (or more likely, simply too lazy to implement them): Obama does much better among the young, the affluent, the urban and the educated. A polling strategy that picks up a disproportionate number of such individuals, as would happen, for instance, if the pollsters spent most of their time in the big cities or other easily accessible parts of a state, is bound to go wrong.

2) People are not truthful when asked who they voted for: It may be true that a lot of whites vote for Clinton, then lie that they voted for Obama (so as to not appear racist?)

 

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Watch twenty couples on twenty couches in a video response to the question “What’s the difference”?

I think the idea was great and the execution was beautiful. My major peeve: too many laptops.

(Link via Instapundit)

Update: The music in the video is growing on me. I wish there was a ringtone version of it.

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Eugene Volokh writes about a hypothetical scenario involving a mixed-race couple in the photography incident:

The desire to prevent race discrimination should no more dissolve your right to be free from being compelled to speak (here, to create an artistic work) than it should dissolve the right to express bigoted views, to choose members of a racist political organization, or to select ministers (or church members) based on any criteria a church pleases. And if that means that writers and photographers can’t be legally barred from choosing their subjects based on race, that’s just an implication of the basic First Amendment principle of the speaker’s right to choose what to say.

There should be nothing particularly daring about this position.

Needless to say, I agree. And my position will remain the same if I am discriminated against by someone in the US because I am an Indian.

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Alas, I cannot give a more considered response right now as I have to get on the road. But I do want to say that this searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime. It is a speech we have all been waiting for for a generation. Its ability to embrace both the legitimate fears and resentments of whites and the understandable anger and dashed hopes of many blacks was, in my view, unique in recent American history.

The full post.

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My impressions? It was powerful, nuanced, insightful and moving. I wrote yesterday that this speech would be Obama’s sternest test as a politician and an orator. I believe he lived up to it.

For those who missed it, here’s the transcript, though the emotional impact, I suppose, is somewhat muted when one merely reads it.

Update: And here’s the video.

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There is little doubt that the Wright controversy is the biggest crisis that the Obama campaign has faced so far. Some commentators have hastened to declare that it is, in fact, over for Obama. There is virtually no chance of him winning the general election anymore, they claim, even if he somehow manages to cling on to the nomination. Undoubtedly, the reaction of the blogosphere has been mostly negative, with some notable exceptions like Andrew Sullivan. Opinion polls have shown Obama’s support plummetting, especially among whites. Posters at message-boards who have already voted for him have declared their outrage at being fooled by the man’s charm and some of them have vowed to make amends, come November.

There is only one way to respond to a crisis like this — to take it head-on and respond. And Barack Obama is going to do just that, tomorrow, when he addresses the nation from Philadelphia in what might just go down in history as one of the defining speeches of our times.  In my opinion, he should have done this long ago — after all, the Wright sermons are old news for anyone who follows the news — but better late than never.

I expect Obama to address the role of race in this campaign and in the broader arena of public service. I expect him to also talk about his own faith, elaborate on what drew him to Wright’s church, mention the words that have inspired and supported him, even as he reiterates his total rejection of Wright’s divisive messages. But above all, I hope that he will say something about the pitfalls of viewing things in black and white (and I am not talking of race here). Far too often we make the error of seeing things through an absolutist lense. People, and issues that matter, are generally too complex to be summarily dismissed with a value judgement. There are sometimes elements of good in the most inflammatory rhetoric. There is hope and beauty, truth and inspiration, to be taken from everyone, and it is possible to do so while simultaneously rejecting other viewpoints of the same person. Obama’s greatest quality is his inclusivity — he can see both sides of an argument, disagree without being disagreable and by extension, I think he can stay twenty years in a church and only take away certain positive aspects of its philosophy. Yes, the tapes and the Youtube clips being played over and over today do not speak highly of their author, but to get a balanced picture of Wright one should also go through his other sermons, like the one that inspired the title of Obama’s book, and I expect him to talk of that.

Will he be able to convince those who have turned against him? I don’t know. Changing people’s minds is an exceedingly difficult task, especially when the issue is complex and etched in shades of gray, as here. But if anyone can do it, it is Barack Obama. He is one the best orators of this age, and tomorrow will be his sternest test.

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