JONATHAN CHAIT MARCH 10, 2011
The James O'Keefe sting, in which an NPR executive called Tea Parties racist, again shines a light on the right's wildly defensive view of this issue. Jamelle Bouie points out some relevant research:
We utilized data from the summer 2010 wave of the 2008-2010 ANES panel survey to see if racial resentment was related to white opposition to the recently passed health care reform law, and the evidence suggests that it was. Whites who were racially resentful were less likely to support the health care reform law, even after controlling for age, gender, education level, income level, employment status, party identification, political ideology, the respondent’s attitude towards President Obama and whether or not the individual had health insurance.
It's actually bizarre that anybody would deny that racism plays a role in opposition to President Obama's policies. If you were a racist, wouldn't you tend to be prejudiced against, you know, a black president? Denying that racism is part of the opposition to Obama is to deny that racism exists in America.
Now, it's very important to take opposition to Obama on its own terms, to acknowledge that there are non-racial reasons to oppose Obama's policies, and to avoid questioning people's individual motive. You can't assume that any individual is racist without a great deal of proof. But in the aggregate, it's undeniable.