Race and racism are interrelated terms that need to be looked upon separately before connecting them. Race is a concept that signifies and symbolizes sociopolitical interests and conflicts in reference to different types of human body. Racism is just a belief that genetic factors that constitute race are main determinants of human capacities and traits and that racial difference produce inherent superiority of a particular race. This essay critically analyses the Effect of Race and Racism in the 2008 Presidential Election in the US.
It has been indicated that racism was a strong and significant predictor of candidate support in both the peripheral and deep southern estate. Though it was claimed that the election of Obama was a significant achievement, there was significant evidence of racism in American and American south. The symbolic racism had significant impact on political choices. Researchers have identified that the symbolic racism was activated by the first Black American presidential candidate.
By observing 2008 presidential elections, it was found that gender and race of candidates gave cues to voters in low information elections and activated stereotypes that consequently were used in evaluation of candidates. Based on such like analysis, it brings out the possibility that Palin’s and Obama’s presence in 2008 presidential election, it was the activated stereotype that played such a function. Looking at high stakes election, analysis of past presidential campaign, indicated that, racism might, but does not always, plays a role. It has been argued out by Kinder and Sanders (1996)that, racial issues played a major role in 1988 presidential campaign but were not key factors in 1992 U.S presidential election. It has also been emphasized that when racism does influences a presidential campaign, it does so in less obvious manner, for example in the use of coded words. As a result, the extent to which racial matters and racism played a part during 2008 U.S. presidential election needs to be carefully investigated, particularly researcher’s findings results were from the presidential elections featuring white candidates only.
In 2008 presidential election, the effects of gender and race were neither trivial nor simple. Whilst the election of the first Black American president led some individuals engage in myopic self-congratulation and to uphold the myth of post racial times. A simple research of exit polls depicts continuing racial division. Among the voters who were white, for instance Obama lost in a nearly land slide while among the blacks a rough estimate of around 95% voted for him. The Asians and Latinos, in general terms voted for Obama. Gender difference also remained important as most women as men endorsed a Black American. With this it is evident that even if it did not influence the outcome of the election, it holds water by saying that a very large part of Black American votes were influenced by the race of the candidate
It as found by (Peffley et al,1997), that preference for candidates who were of the same gender and race were just robust, especially for race. Between states, there was a moderation of this effect by the black voters’ percentage, with white preferences for Clinton highest in predominately Southern States having a larger population of black voters. Basing on individuals, the preference of Clinton by white voters was connected to both racial and identification and the apparent threats.
Researchers found that racism was importantly connected to attitudes towards each other with neither, racism mattered more than the issue of sexism in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The particular candidate in the election was seen as a representing a confounded mix of the following four factors; race, gender, position on the ticket and political party.
Race and racism also had some influence on security threats on individual candidates. The key instances of racism in 2008 U.S. presidential election was to do with political and security threats and change. Researchers have found that there were many threats that were directed to Barrack Obama’s life. This made him to look for secretes service protection earlier than any other candidate in history that had ever run for presidency in the United States. It has been explained that some of the biggest changes in U.S had been forced through racial conflicts. It has been argued further that, racism was a major liability for a person of a different color especially in politics. The stereotype of someone’s color usually came not only from another, but even in their own race.
There was also an influence from gender perspective. Gender has been the most restricting issues in the American life. This brought up the issue of who to be in the State house and who to be in the kitchen. Considering the issue of gender, one can easily conclude that a half century votes were given to black men before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally had ascended to positions of power, (Caitlin, E et al 2009).
Essentially, the racism that had influence in 2008 presidential election was not segregation, biological superiority and discrimination, but encompassed a belief about the Blacks lack of effort and the extent to which they were not performing. Research has shown that Americans who still beliefs in racist, no matter how subtle, might have been offended by Obama’s effort to seek presidency, as this cold have been as a trial of changing the racial condition and race related laws in the U.S. they might have also interpreted Obama’s status as a presidential nominee due to underserved race-based preferences that advantaged him earlier in his political career.
The racism attitude that seem to be persistent and a wide range of conditions to which racial stereotype applies suggests a second potential link between subtle racism and its effects towards Obama. It has been discussed that, unlike Americans stands on many other political matters, most Americans hold genuine attitudes on racial matters, and other available evidence, have given a suggestion that these racial sentiments affects attitude both in business world and political field as well.
Though there are reasons that that expect that racism influenced greatly on the 2008 US presidential election, there exist three major reasons that explains that racism had no strong impact on the effects towards the candidates. First of all, some past research have shown that the effects of racism are in fact very minor. It has been contented that whilst racial prejudice has an influence on many racial policies, the impact is modest and is not the key reason for the Americans to several progressive policies, (Peffley et al (1997).
The second major reason is that Obama was not powerfully identified as an African American; this is shown by the discussion concerning his racial background. Just after Obama announced that he was going to vie for the presidency, pundits started asking if he is mixed race, parentage meant that meant that he was more of white than black. It was discussed by Kaiser and Pratt-Hyatt (2009), discussed that whites do not spread their prejudice equally among all members of a minority groups, but usually concentrates their prejudice on members that are that are most strongly identified with the group that is minority. Having this fact in mind, it can be said that one might not expect large impact towards Obama. In the whole of the campaign, also Obama made an oblivious and successful effort in framing the central matters of the campaign in a non racial way.
The last but not least question, explains that race was made explicit throughout the campaign. It has been argued by researchers that, the number of explicit racial claims in U.S politics has reduced to a level that is almost disappearing, though messages that are implicit still exist. It has been noticed that white Americans in most cases do not want to admit that they are the ones who are racists. On the other hand, when an implicit message is communicated, the whites will provide response to it, if there position can be justified easily on the grounds that are nonracial. As a result, it was shown that campaigns that involve implicit racial messages were the most successful as most voters did not recognize them as being racial. The strategy that was being used to counteract the effects of implicit racial message messages was to point out their underlying racial content which initiated a psychological process in which the potential voters rejected the explicit racial message and in place relied on their normative cultural standards, which is against the explicit racial judgments. The 2008 U.S. Presidential campaigns were not in real sense characterized by explicit racial messages, and since Obama brought the implicit use of Reverend Wright matters in open places and discussed them fortnight , one may expect that racism would not have had a larger impact as such, (Bean,& Martin 1998).
Despite the fact that there is ample reason for expecting that sexism might have had a negative effects towards Sarah Palin, there exist some research that on the other hand explains that sexism should not have played a major role in 2008 U.S presidential election. In a research carried out to determine if women were penalized for success at tasks that were traditionally viewed for men, discovered that, in deed, women were being punished for violating stereotype expectations, on the other hand, if women were depicted as nurturing and sensitive, or identified with the role of parenting, the effects are eliminated. The extension f such like research to political context, women going for higher political offices, might be viewed negatively and punished for seeking offices, however, if her campaign successfully portray her as positive female qualities, she might be spared. Because Palin was often portrayed as a nurturing mother grapping with issues of parenting, one might expect that the effects of sexism will reduce significantly, (Peffley & Sniderman,1997).
Due to the existing coalitions, parties were concerned with wining women’s votes, and not willing at all to win the votes of sexiest Americans, and in the long run risk the votes of men and women who do not at all embrace sexiest ideologies by playing on sexiest stereotypes. As a result, candidates might have been less likely exists within electorate. Due to this, it might have been easier to protect Sarah Palin from sexiest innuendo than to prevent subtle racism from resulting in negative effects towards Obama, (Caitlin, E Et al 2009).
The issue of age affected McCain as in most cases his opponent Obama referred to him as loosing bearing, although his spokesman later explained that the statement was misunderstood, but the reality according to researchers was that McCain was too old to be the president. In the history of America, Americans had never been ruled with a president of McCain age. In that connection, he was seen as an aged person to be the president. On the other side, Obama was seen to be the youngest person to become the U.S president. On that note, he was considered to be inexperience. So, both were affected in one way or the other in terms their age. In this election, majority of older voters, voted for McCain while the higher percentage of youngsters voted for Obama, meaning that the rivalry was between the old and youths.
In conclusion, the attitudes of racism played a significant role in American 2008 presidential election. It was found that there was no clear trends for younger generations to be less prejudice d than older generation. Researchers have concluded that, there is still race and racism in the U.S and can really affect negatively African American politics.