Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Regarding Others' Milkshakes

I doubt I am the only one surprised that it took a PhD, an MPH, and a third contributor to wrench this insight (PDF sorry) from the American mind:
Our analysis of recent data from the 2008-2010 American National Election Survey (see methodology section) found evidence that during the summer of 2010, not only did more Americans favor the health care legislation than opposed it (44.3% in favor to 35.8% opposed, while 19.8% had no opinion), but that there was a substantial racial component to support for the measure (see graph below). While only 38.4% of whites supported the 2010 health care law, 78.6% of blacks supported it, as did 52.6% of Latinos and 43.6% of people from other racial backgrounds. [emphasis mine]
On the one hand, duh. What next? A close reading of public opinion surveys establishing that white people become uncomfortable when they pull up to a 7-11 to find that teenagers are playing the loud rap music from their cars? As our cinematic exemplar, Daniel Plainview, explained:
I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people.
While you die on that sidewalk, I'm going to sit in the shade and finish this milkshake. Meanwhile keep your filthy hands off my stuff. USA! USA!

On the other hand, the study's authors concede they have not established a causal relationship:
While racial disparities in health care may be a contributing factor, existing data are insufficient to confirm this assertion. Future research should examine the relationship between these racial disparities and support for health care reform.
Maybe it should, and maybe it shouldn't. It won't change the fact -- and sadly, it is a fact -- that white Americans strongly tend to resent contributing to the benefit of non-white Americans. This sentiment is akin to but separate from resentments toward organized labor, which, while appallingly strong, has come to a fine, sharp, bitter point among the wealthier white Americans. No doubt the remaining support for organized labor is just a few FoxNews broadcast-months away from its final end.


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