Blow and Collins

In “The State of Race in America” Mr. Blow says what is worrisome in a new report is how far apart whites and blacks are in their optimism about relations improving.  Ms. Collins has a “Patriotic Presidential Quiz.”  She says if you’re still following the race, here’s a reward for your dedication.  Here’s Mr. Blow:

On Monday, the Pew Research Center released a fascinating and expansive report on the state of race relations in America. It serves as a stark reminder that although events like this insane and historic presidential election, continuing terrorist attacks and global shocks like Brexit overtake news cycles, the issue of racial inequality is just as urgent as ever.

2015 was the year of Black Lives Matter. Discussion of police interactions with minority communities; institutions and interpersonal racism; and “safe spaces” dominated popular literature, film, television, talks shows and newspaper column inches. It seemed everyone, everywhere, was talking about race in some capacity.

Now, at least in the media, the heat around the subject has cooled. The media has moved on. There are new stories to chase. There are new awards to win.

But the issue of racial inequality — as a lived experience — remains unaltered, and many in fact believe that it’s actually getting worse.

Racial inequality is not a trendy issue; it is an entrenched issue.

A year, or even two, of intense focus does not provide sufficient alteration of a condition in a country that has developed over centuries.

And so it is in this simmering wake of unfinished business that the Pew report lands.

It is the kind of report that demands more space that I can give it in a column, but please allow me to quote it here liberally, both the optimistic and pessimistic components of it, and to weigh in on it to the degree that I feel I must.

It is no surprise that whites and black would see racial issues and barriers to racial equality differently, or that differences would be manifest in the ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans.

What is more worrisome is how far apart whites and blacks are in their optimism about race relations improving. As the report puts it:

An overwhelming majority of blacks (88 percent) say the country needs to continue making changes for blacks to have equal rights with whites, but 43 percent are skeptical that such changes will ever occur. An additional 42 percent of blacks believe that the country will eventually make the changes needed for blacks to have equal rights with whites, and just 8 percent say the country has already made the necessary changes.

It continues:

A much lower share of whites (53 percent) say the country still has work to do for blacks to achieve equal rights with whites, and only 11 percent express doubt that these changes will come. Four in 10 whites believe the country will eventually make the changes needed for blacks to have equal rights, and about the same share (38 percent) say enough changes have already been made.

This gulf in optimism is incredibly troubling. What happens to a people when they stop believing, stop hoping, stop trusting that a concerted effort toward improvement will bear fruit?

Part of the problem here is that white and black people have such vastly divergent views about the lived black experience in America. According to the report:

By large margins, blacks are more likely than whites to say black people are treated less fairly in the workplace (a difference of 42 percentage points), when applying for a loan or mortgage (41 points), in dealing with the police (34 points), in the courts (32 points), in stores or restaurants (28 points), and when voting in elections (23 points). By a margin of at least 20 percentage points, blacks are also more likely than whites to say racial discrimination (70 percent versus 36 percent), lower quality schools (75 percent versus 53 percent) and lack of jobs (66 percent versus 45 percent) are major reasons that blacks may have a harder time getting ahead than whites.

These gaps are enormous. The question is whether or not these divergent beliefs are also intractable. If we can’t come to an agreement on the basic facts of life, how on earth can we come to an agreement on the fundamentals of a united path forward?

About six in 10 (59 percent) white Republicans say too much attention is paid to race and racial issues these days, while only 21 percent of Democrats agree.

Finally, we continue to be deceived about the enormous and epidemic nature of often-invisible institutional racism, preferring instead to direct our ire at the more easily identified and vilified interpersonal racism. The report puts it this way:

On balance, the public thinks that when it comes to discrimination against black people in the U.S. today, discrimination that is based on the prejudice of individual people is a bigger problem than discrimination that is built into the nation’s laws and institutions. This is the case among both blacks and whites, but while whites offer this opinion by a large margin (70 percent to 19 percent), blacks are more evenly divided (48 percent to 40 percent).

Although it may feel interminable, this election won’t last forever. In November, America will make a choice.

But the choices that America has already made mean that the persistent question of race will still be with us, unresolved, waiting for yet another moment to explode. No amount of fatigue will change this. Only a true and earnest effort to address race relations fundamentally and honestly will provide the overdue and necessary fix.

Now here’s Ms. Collins:

Independence Day weekend’s coming — time to show a little patriotism. Budweiser beer just renamed itself “America,” for heaven’s sake. If a Belgian brewing company can do that, the least you can do is show you’re a well-educated citizen. Let’s see whether you’ve been keeping up with the presidential race:

1  Since endorsing Donald Trump for president, Chris Christie …

  • Tracked down the man he once chased down the boardwalk while waving an ice cream cone and apologized.

  • Got the support of a full 18 percent of New Jersey voters on whether Trump should pick Christie as his running mate.

  • Told reporters he does not want to be the vice-presidential nominee because “really, my life is ruined already.”

2  When Marco Rubio ran for president, he made it clear he was done with being a senator forever. (“I have only said like 10,000 times I will be a private citizen in January.”) This month he …

  • Told reporters he was pursuing a lifelong dream of playing defensive back for the Miami Dolphins.

  • Said he was running for re-election because “I’ve discovered I’m not worth nearly as much money as I thought in the private sector.”

  • Said he was running for re-election because “Control of the Senate may very well come down to the race in Florida.”

3  After the demise of his presidential campaign, Ben Carson joined the Trump team. When his candidate claimed a federal judge was biased due to his Mexican heritage, Carson said that Trump …

  • “… was probably talking out loud rather than thinking.”

  • Believes all jurists should be examined for “the fruit salad of their life.”

  • Has many good Mexican friends among the caddies at his golf courses.

4  Paul Ryan began the month by endorsing Donald Trump for president. Since then, he’s denounced several of the candidate’s more outrageous statements. When asked how many times he could do this without washing his hands of the whole campaign, Ryan said …

  • “Four.”

  • “I don’t know the answer to that, either.”

  • “Did I tell you I saw John Boehner in Florida? God, that man looks happy.”

5  Duncan Hunter of California, one of the first members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump, announced he’s going to stop trying to answer for things the candidate says. But he’s still on the Trump bandwagon because …

  • “Everybody makes mistakes”

  • “… him talking about things and saying things about things is different than him saying what he’s going to do.”

  • “Hell, I don’t know. Go ask Paul Ryan.”

6  After he dropped out of the Republican race, Senator Lindsey Graham endorsed Ted Cruz, whom he loathes. Then when Cruz dropped out, he …

  • Endorsed William Howard Taft, noting, “He’s dead, but nobody’s perfect.”

  • Said he’d “probably write somebody in or just skip the presidential.”

  • Compared the current campaign to “Game of Thrones” and announced that it was “time for a woman president, but only if it’s Daenerys the Dragon Queen.”

7  Bernie Sanders’s biggest post-primary news was that …

  • He’s going to endorse Hillary Clinton (but that doesn’t mean he’ll vote for her).

  • He’s going to vote for Hillary Clinton (but that doesn’t mean he’s endorsing her).

  • He needs to take one more look at Martin O’Malley.

8  When Britain voted to exit the European Union, Donald Trump was visiting his golf course in Turnberry, Scotland. Asked for his analysis of the big event, Trump said …

  • “You know, when the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly.”

  • “Analysts have drastically overstated the impact on the British economy; we will of course have to keep a close eye on the manufacturing sector.”

  • “Vote? What vote?”

9  A former White House Secret Service officer has written a tell-all book about the Clintons in which he claims to have seen evidence that Hillary once …

  • Broke a law.

  • Broke a promise.

  • Broke a vase.

10  Campaigning in New York, Hillary Clinton demonstrated she had lost some of her old city sophistication when she …

  • Had trouble getting into the subway.

  • Made eye contact with a fellow passenger in the subway.

  • Posed for a selfie in front of Trump Tower.

11  When Clinton made her big speech on foreign policy this month, people couldn’t help noticing that she appeared on stage in front of…

  • Huge pictures of Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey and the pope.

  • Her grandchildren.

  • 19 American flags.

12  Which of the following is NOT one of Trump’s arguments for why his business credentials are a great preparation for the presidency …

  • He’s run the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.

  • Running a country is much like running a golf course. (“You’ll be amazed how similar it is.”)

  • The nation needs a leader who has extensive experience in filing for bankruptcy.


The answer key:   1B, 2C, 3A, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8A, 9C 10A, 11C, 12C



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