14 March 2008

wo we think we are

Meditations in an Emergency considers a recent New York Times article about how Barack Obama is doing in fairly mixed-race states:
The growing counties an hour’s drive from Cleveland and St. Louis are filled with white voters whose parents fled the industrial cities of their youth before a wave of African-Americans and for whom social friction and economic competition, especially in an age of declining opportunity, are as much a part of daily life as traffic and mortgage payments. As Erica Goode wrote in these pages last year, Robert Putnam and other sociologists have, in fact, found that people living in more diverse areas evince less trust for others — no matter what their race. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that while white Democrats in rural states are apparently willing to accept the notion of a racially transcendent candidate, those living in the shadow of postindustrial atrophy seem to have a harder time detaching from enduring stereotypes, and they may be less optimistic that the country as a whole would actually elect a black candidate.

"What I find interesting about this is that we can no longer think along lines of urban/suburban/rural. The mention of communities that are somewhere between these categories, and in existence outside of formerly successful urban empires, is a new sort of population that’s only recently beginning to enter the cultural consciousness for many Americans who assumed that everything was either New York City, the suburbs of Desperate Housewives, or Mayberry. There are many different kinds of communities between each of those sorts of points on the scale."
Read more at Meditations here.

And a very interesting article on Barack Obama's mom who died of ovarian cancer at 53 in the New York Times here.

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