Race Talk and the Government Shut Down

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4 Responses

  1. Orin Kerr says:

    Rachel, can you say more about the evidence that opposition to the implementation of the ACA is racist? As far as I can tell, the only evidence is a short paragraph in a 30-page report from a Democratic polling firm that summarizes the pollsters’ assessment from a focus group they assembled. Is there more evidence than that, and if so, what is it?

  2. AGR says:

    It is critically important for the media– print and broadcast– to leave off the habit of using blacks as the almost inevitable examples of “the poor” in the United States. It leads to the distortions you mentioned, and most assuredly accounts for some whites’ hostility toward social programs. Why would we think that people who fought (fight) hard against black voting, set up segregation, and fought hard to maintain it not so long ago, would support programs they think are designed mainly to help those whom they despise? A visitor from another planet could be forgiven for thinking that poor whites lived only in Appalachia.

  3. Rachel Godsil says:


    I am not suggesting that opposition to the ACA is “racist.” In fact, I tried very much to say that such a claim would be deeply problematic. I referred to the article not to agree that anyone who opposes implementation of the ACA is “racist” but rather because of the inference that those who oppose the ACA for a host of reasons often have the mistaken belief that the ACA is as AGR states, yet another program for “other people” which is often understood racially. There is quite a bit of research data to support the view that the health care debate that occurred under President Obama included many more references to race than under Clinton. Michael Tessler from Brown has done some interesting work directly on point, finding that white conservatives’ attitudes toward health care reform is significantly higher when Obama is the advocate (while white liberals and many African Americans are more supportive). And Nancy Folbre, an economist at U.Mass, Amherst, wrote a short blog entitled The Color of Affordable Care in the NYT recently that includes a range of cites to research on the general link between race and opposition to government policy.

  4. Orin Kerr says:

    Rachel, if I understand your post correctly, your argument is that those who oppose the implementation of the ACA aren’t “segregationists proudly flaunting their bigotry”, but rather have their views because they harbor “stereotypical assumptions about race” that are below the surface but are nonetheless are deeply influencing their views. They are not racist in the proud intentional sense; rather, they are just racist in the less self-aware sense that they treating people differently by race without realizing it. My question is, can you elaborate on the evidence linking opposition to the implementation of the ACA with assumptions of race?