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Caste: Part 6 - Backlash 
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 Caste: Part 6 - Backlash
Caste: Part 6 - Backlash

Please use this thread for discussing Caste: Part 6 - Backlash.



Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:02 pm
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Post Re: Caste: Part 6 - Backlash
CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE
A Change in the Script


Quote:
The greatest departure from the script of the American caste system was the election of an African-American to the highest office in the land. History has shown that there would be consequences to this disruption of the social order, and there were. What follows is not an analysis of the presidency of Barack Obama, but rather a look into the caste system’s response to his ascension and the challenges it would place in his path.

The author describes four reasons why Obama was elected.
Quote:
First, to break more than two centuries of tradition and birthright, it would take the human equivalent of a supernova—a Harvard-trained lawyer, a U.S. senator from the land of Lincoln, whose expertise was the Constitution itself, whose charisma and oratory matched or exceeded that of most any man who had ever risen to the Oval Office, whose unusual upbringing inclined him toward conciliation of the racial divide, who famously saw the country as not blue states or red states but as the United States, whose wife, if it could be imagined, was also a Harvard-trained lawyer with as much star power as her husband, who, together with their two young daughters, made for a telegenic American dream family, and who, beyond all this, ran a scrupulous, near-flawless campaign, a movement really. It would take an idealist, who believed what most Americans would have sworn was impossible, for a black man to make it to the White House.

The second reason was the weak candidacy of McCain including the selection of Sarah Palin as VP.
Third was the severe economic recession breaking just before the election.
Quote:
In October 2008, a few weeks before the election, envelopes arrived in the mailboxes of millions of American households, mailings that became inadvertent leaflets in favor of the Democrat: the quarterly 401(k) statements that showed losses of as much as 40 percent of people’s savings in the last year under the Republican president. By that November, some 12 million homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their houses were worth in what was now being called the Great Recession, among the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. People in the dominant caste who might have been on the fence about taking a chance on an African-American candidate were looking at massive losses with no end in sight.

The fourth reason is one I expect very few could put a finger on, but it makes sense.
Quote:
His growing up in Hawaii, the son of an immigrant from Kenya and of a white woman from Kansas, was free from the heaviness of slavery and Jim Crow and the hard histories of regular African-Americans. His story did not trigger the immediate discomfort in the dominant caste, unlike those of everyday black people, who, if you scratch their family trees long enough, you run into a sharecropper cheated at settlement or an ancestor shut out of a neighborhood because of redlining, people for whom these injustices were not history, but their own or their foreparents’ actual lives. Rather, his origin story freed people in the dominant caste from having to think about the unsavory corners of American history.

This may also explain birtherism. A primary tactic of the far right at that time was not to identify an opponent's weakness, but to directly attack his or her main strength. Obama avoided the the problem in bold above, which therefore must be dismantled and replaced with paranoia about a foreign usurper.



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Sat May 01, 2021 8:55 pm
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Post Re: Caste: Part 6 - Backlash
Quote:
Lyndon B. Johnson, after signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, is said to have predicted that the Democrats would lose the South for a generation for having stood up for the citizenship rights of African-Americans. That prophecy would prove to be correct but also an understatement. The Democrats would lose more than just the South and for well longer than a generation. From that moment forward, white Americans overall moved rightward toward the Republicans as the country enacted more egalitarian policies. In the more than half century since that prophecy of 1964, no Democrat running for president has ever won a majority of the white vote.

At this point the author goes back to the actions above to show the enduring power of the backlash. I believe this remained true in 2020.



Sat May 01, 2021 9:15 pm
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Post Re: Caste: Part 6 - Backlash
Consider the power of another backlash, the one against feminism. Thirty years ago, Susan Faludi wrote Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women. Despite VP Harris and Speaker Pelosi at the dais behind President Biden's speech to Congress a few days ago, that backlash seems to remain strong. Some points to consider.
  • Gender pay equity.
  • 7% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are female.
  • Rape culture still intact. Rapists in some states can demand visitation rights. If not convicted, rapists may sue for custody.
  • Skepticism against sex assault accusations. High rate of sex assaults in the military.
  • Mansplaining. General disrespect.
  • Inadequate systems for childcare.
  • The fact that in 2021 there are still so many firsts for women.



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Sat May 01, 2021 10:02 pm
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Post Re: Caste: Part 6 - Backlash
LanDroid wrote:
Consider the power of another backlash, the one against feminism. Despite VP Harris and Speaker Pelosi at the dais behind President Biden's speech to Congress a few days ago, that backlash seems to remain strong. Some points to consider.
Gender pay equity.

Without in the least denying that there is still resistance to equality for women, I would like to point out some numbers I found in preparing lessons on discrimination. Half the gender pay gap from 40 years ago has disappeared, mostly due to more equal choices in higher education. The gap from 20 years before than was another 50% larger (i.e. women's pay was 60% of men's, in 1960), with most of the progress in those 20 years coming from regulations outlawing discrimination within the same job.

Injustice persisting is a sign of unjust mental states and social institutions, but it is also a sign that people change slowly. Backlash is usually not a restoration of power structures and privilege so much as a surfacing of people's resentment at being asked to change.

Quote:
Rape culture still intact. Rapists in some states can demand visitation rights. If not convicted, rapists may sue for custody.
Skepticism against sex assault accusations. High rate of sex assaults in the military.
And yet #MeToo was only 5 years ago. Again, backlash doesn't usually roll back the progress, it just nibbles back some morsels for symbolic value, like Putin snatching the Crimea back.
Quote:
Mansplaining. General disrespect.
I'm kinda worried about the number of women who seem to think this is still appropriate, judging by their support for Trump. In my limited experience it has to do with resentment of "career women" (like my wife), but there may be some self hate or even Stockholm Syndrome as well.
Quote:
Inadequate systems for childcare.
Joe Biden wants to fix that, and Romney proposed money to support children in whatever way the parents see fit.



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Sat May 08, 2021 8:16 pm
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