Ask-me-a-hard-one Dep’t

John Tierney asks whether Obama’s election doesn’t prove that racism is mythical.

John Tierney, as quoted by Glenn Reynolds:

If, as some social scientists have been telling us, 88 percent of whites have an “implicit bias” against blacks and in favor of whites, and if, according to exit polls, whites made up 74 percent of the voters on Tuesday, why is Barack Obama going to be the next president?

Ummmm ….

1. Because the black candidate in the contest was exceptionally intelligent, eloquent, and decent?

2. Because the black candidate in the race presented more attractive policies on the questions of economic recovery, health care, education, tax justice, and national security?

3. Because the black candidate in the race had a spectacularly skillful campaign?

4. Because the white candidate in the race was a turkey?

5. Because the white candidate in the race represented the party whose policies had driven the nation into a ditch, headed my a man who, as Charlie Rangel said, had put paid once and for all to the myth of white supremacy?

6. Because the white candidate in the race ran a campaign that was at once disgustingly nasty and astonishingly inept?

7. Because of Sarah Palin?

Yes, Barack Obama’s election is evidence of a decline in racial prejudice, and his service as President is likely to be the cause of further decline. But “declining” is not the same idea as “small,” let alone “nonexistent.”

Update Maybe someone ought to give Tierney a subscription to the New York Times. Good paper. It has some piss-poor right-wing columnists, but the stuff on the news pages is pretty solid.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: