new study proves it

Politicians Are Racist Against Blacks, Even ‘Republican Blacks’

Let's go back to the 16th Century and start over.Here’s an important news update for all the Alan Keyes and Clarence Thomas types who for some reason believe that acting like super-crazy white wingnut Republicans will magically win over white racists: Doesn’t work, never has, never will. White racists despise black people no matter what — and you’ll find the most unrepentant white racists running the Republican Party. Political scientists at Yale tested this obvious truth by sending emails from “a putatively black or white alias” and then tabulating how many black-sounding names got replies from legislators compared to the same email sent by a white-sounding name. Even self-described Republican constituents were ignored by Republican lawmakers when those constituents had stereotypically black names. And white politicians from both parties were more likely to ignore the “black e-mailers” than the “white e-mailers.” So, if you’re a person of color in this country, please keep planning that Total Revolution, because that’s the only (slim) chance at actual racial equality here in America.

Daniel Butler, a professor of political science at Yale University, led the research project and found this:

The results of our experiment show that the black alias receives significantly fewer responses than the white alias. Further analyses of the heterogeneous treatment effects by the legislator’s party and the experimental groups that signal partisan affiliation show that legislators’ strategic partisan considerations can at best explain only a portion of the observed differential treatment in favor of the white alias. We then explore an alternative explanation for the discrimination that we observed — the race of the legislators themselves. White legislators of both parties discriminate against the black alias at nearly identical, statistically significant rates, while minority legislators do the opposite, responding more frequently to the black alias. This suggests, as many have argued, that the race of elected officials significantly affects how well minorities are represented. Our results also suggest that race remains a significant barrier to equality in the American political system.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence that having a minority president leads to any increased fairness or opportunity for minority Americans … unless there are some minority Americans running Wall Street firms, somewhere. []

About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne
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  1. freakishlywrong

    Michael Steele sounds like a white name. He acted like an Uncle Tom. They still hated him.

        1. Limeylizzie

          Fucking , fucking good, I laughed a lot and would upfist you for days , if it were allowed.

    1. tessiee

      Jon Stewart said this about the Democrats in general, but it applies here: "They're NEVER gonna let you in the car!"

  2. Serolf_Divad

    And in a surprising result, the highest number of responses were generated by a letter putatively signed: "The Lizard People."

        1. baconzgood

          If you knew me, like my co-workers, you wouldn't be surprised that I'd do somthing like that.

    1. HateMachine

      I suspect that if you forged invitations to the Bilderberg group, and sent them to everyone in Congress, you would get RSVPs back from all of them the next day.

  3. Gopherit

    Keyes, Thomas, and Steele wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they weren't stepping and fetching.

    1. Lost_Teabaggers

      True….especially when you consider Keyes identifying himself as the world's only black birther (remember when Dave Chappelle did that skit about the blind black klansman? What's Keyes excuse?). Thomas, of course being a federalist society member, marrying Ginni and attending teabagger functions. These cannot sell out fast enough, or hard enough to make themselves happy…good thing is, the steppin' and fetching for white racists is not enough. It must be humiliating to know no matter how much you kiss up to them (like when Scalia has Thomas call him "massa" behind closed doors) they won't accept you, ever. Dumbasses and Assholes.

  4. OC_Burf_Serf

    30 years ago, 60 minutes did a story where they called a bunch of apartment rentals and used all sorts of names…

    It seems the apartment was always fresh and ready for Billy Smith but when Tyrone Jefferson called, the places seem to be already taken.

    30 years…

    1. emmelemm

      I remember that. Also, too, do you remember the Saturday Night Live where Eddie Murphy got into whiteface?

    2. riverside68

      Ya but you gotta look at the progress.
      100 years ago no one had phones so they couldn't call anyone.

    3. problemwithcaring

      A 30 year old study? Sheeeet, try being and Black and trying to find an apartment on the westside of Los Angeles with good credit TODAY.

    4. tessiee

      It's not limited to 30 years ago by any means. There's a PSA about discrimination in housing that runs here (Portland) where a rather generic-looking white guy who is a talented mimic repeatedly calls the same number about an apartment rental, using several different names AND accents — "Tyrone" the black guy, "Rajneesh" the East Indian guy, etc. etc. — before "Blair" the rich WASP eventually gets the apartment.

      1. HateMachine

        His p-ness attempted to use a woman as a human shield, but it tries to do that even when it isn't in a combat situation.

    1. CalamityJames

      Oh dear, first they came for Blifil's p-ness, and I did nothing because now my p-ness is bigger.

      1. guangho

        And by the time they came for my P-ness there was no P ness left to take. A sad tale indeed.

  5. mrblifil

    I was sporting 100 inches this morning, and now – zero. That is humbling. Hmmm…happened right after I made some casual remarks at Breitbart. IN-TER-ES-TING!

    1. emmelemm

      My p just went to 0 too. :( I'm sure it will return, in good time.

      [And I never ever ever go to Breitbart or other dubious sites.]

        1. emmelemm

          Sigh. Yes, I am unmoved by conspiracy theories, spicy, bland or inbetween.

          I also detest idiots spewing the same hateful things over and over and over in a haze of misspellings and bad grammar. It makes my stomach acid churn to even think of glancing at these cesspools. I can *barely* read the wee excerpts that Wonkette so thoughtfully provides.

    1. oneofTHEBLACKS

      Yea isnt it funny that ONLY black americans have the last name of our first american president. I did see a white guy w/ the last name Washton….. I guess he had to get rid of the"ing" in order to be invited to all the great white parties

  6. V572..whatever

    I just upfisted everybody in celebration of the fact that Mr Downfisting Troll is strangely absent today. Maybe it was really Obsama doing it all this time.

  7. nappyduggs

    Well it makes sense, now: I have a very generic, unisex, multi-racial name, but I never get a hollaback from my Congressmen. Now I know it's because they think my name is "G'mail."

    1. SmutBoffin

      The emails were not accompanied by a birth certificate (long-form, of course).

      1. emmelemm

        Yes, when are we going to start requiring a birth certificate be included in our .sig files?

    2. BarryOPotter

      Well, they better start replying now.

      "Is Barry going to have to dispatch a kill team to get an answer from you, Bob? Does Barry even want an answer any more?"

  8. Troubledog

    I guess Charles Krauthammer probably gets a pretty good response from you know, the jews.

  9. baconzgood

    I wonder what the "black" and "white" sounding names were. Any suggestions?

    Maybe the white was Skip Smothers
    and the black Tyrone Lavone

    1. GregComlish

      White name: Margaret Elsaberry Threepwaite

      Black name: Lakeisha Sha'Nay'Nay

      1. Sophist [غني عن ذلك]

        White name: Margaret Elsaberry Threepwaite

        Guybrush Threepwood.

  10. Lucidamente1

    "I had the most absurd nightmare. I was poor and no one liked me. I lost my job, I lost my house, Penelope hated me and it was all because of this terrible, awful Negro."

  11. Serolf_Divad

    Well, have you ever seen David Koch and the Lizard People together in the same room?

    …just sayin'

  12. SmutBoffin

    When the Yalies were making their study, they probably had a comical brainstorming session on what names to use.

    "OK, need a white name."
    "Susan Henderson!"
    "Good one! Now a brotha."
    "Akeem Jackson!" "Marvin Luther King!"

    The Yalies are the real racists here, is the point.

    1. Fare la Volpe

      Not to talk down good snark, but they actually used mathematics to pick the names. Previous studies had shown that Jake and DeShawn were the two given names that had the highest correlation with a particular race, as were the surnames Mueller and Jackson.

      "We chose the first names Jake and DeShawn because Fryer and Levitt (2004) show that these names are among the most racially distinct. Among individuals named DeShawn, almost all are black; among individuals named Jake, almost all are white. Similarly, we chose the surnames Mueller and Jackson because data from the 2000 Census indicate that among common surnames, these were, respectively, among those most strongly correlated with self-identification as white or black (Word, Coleman, Nunziata, and Kominski n.d."
      (Butler, Broockman, 10)

      1. tessiee

        Marvin Luther King was Martin Luther King's ne'er-do-well cousin. He used to show up every Thanksgiving and aggravate all the relatives.

    1. Lost_Teabaggers

      OOhhh….very sexy, suburban sounding name. Why with a name like that you could get into any country club, cotillion or abercrombie & fitch. Not to mention of course, confederacy gala balls, RNC meetings or Haley Barbours dinner party. Face it, you're "it" in the racist white community….that's a name every whitebred can be proud of!

  13. freakishlywrong

    Retardlicans (pretend) to hate the geygh as well, one wonders how Lindsey Graham's emails ever get answered.

    1. WriteyWriterton

      Curious…many of my Gentile friends have Jewish names. Oh, wait, no, it's the other way 'round.

      1. Sophist [غني عن ذلك]

        Jewish names? You mean names like Aaron, David, Daniel, Joseph, Adam, etc…yeah, a lot of us gentiles do have Jewish names.

    1. Lost_Teabaggers

      the esquire seals it…are you employed, sir? Looking for an exciting career as a GOP representative or even better a fundraising director for the RGA or RNC? Imagine how much excitement that name will generate when the Koch brothers hear you asking them for cash. You've got one hell of a career in the GOP, Rich Whitey.

  14. DaSandman

    They hate the gheys as well? Hmmm. I guess I'll no longer use Twinkle McSphinter as a pen name than.

  15. ttommyunger

    Ron Christie, Alan West, Keyes, Thomas, and Steele make my racist genes activate a little, I must admit….No wait, those are my anti-shit-for-brains genes.

  16. EatsBabyDingos

    I, Studley Hungwell, III, resent that you noticed.

    Now if the name was Katrina Layne, I'd understand, but what about Latrina?

  17. prommie

    Thank God that this phenomenon doesn't occur when employers consider resume's, or else blacks would be at a disadvantage in finding employment in lucrative careers. Could you imagine the injustice, if that were the case?

    1. mrblifil

      Well if you are black and seek rapid advancement, may I suggest broadcast journalism, where black anchors and reporters are actually underrepresented, if you can believe that!

  18. nicnack74

    There truly is no winning for us coloreds. However, I just take it in stride. Keep your head down, change your name to Tiffany McWhitebread. Get yourself a nice California Valley accent. You can live a nice life. Ain't nuttin wrong with an Oreo existence.

  19. CalamityJames

    Its a goddamned shame when Victoria Jackson will get a response faster than Wanda Sykes.

    1. baconzgood

      Ohhhhh. Wanda Sykes alwayse gets a "response" from me faster than Victoria Jackson. Funny chicks are HOT!

      1. tessiee

        Or is breathing oxygen that could be breathed by other people if she weren't, yknow, living.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Republicans are not the least bit surprised when you go housebreaking and killing old men.

  20. CookiE_MonstA

    Personally, I can't take anyone named Hunter, Gunner or Brittany seriously at all. There are others but i can't think of them right now. Why do people give kids names anyway… (Sorry, all the OBL news has made me a bit silly)

    1. HELisforHEL

      I say go with George Foreman's model–George 1, George 2 through George whatever.

    1. tessiee

      I wasn't aware that a person could get paid a salary for eating pallet loads of every kind of junk food in the convenience store.

  21. oneofTHEBLACKS

    They are just discovering ths…. Black americans have known this for some time. That is why a lot of us gave our children "resume" names.

  22. sallysubterfuge

    So black people just need to quit naming their kids Antoine and LaQiesha.

    Racism — solved!

    1. tessiee

      Well, except for Antoine, who will then be unfairly disliked because people will assume he's French.

  23. Lost_Teabaggers

    This post will be completely snarkless because I'm too pissed to make fun:

    Hey Ken, I don't know if you remember this or not, but years ago a University did the equal resume test with nearly the same outcome. A series of resumes were compiled and sent to various big corporations with obvious but equal white and black backgrounds, of course even with egalitarian qualifications, the black resumes were only called back on 1/3rd of the frequency of the white ones. This one is even worse because given exactly equal backgrounds and job qualifications these dildoes still disqualify based upon race. Just more proof of the racism hiding just behind the door amongst the powerful in this society and why affirmative action is ABSOLUTELY needed to keep these bigots in line. Chief Justice John Roberts by the way, literally blamed affirmative action for why racism still exists; sure it is asshole, sure it is.

    1. tessiee

      I don't remember which book this was, but I remember reading that The Black Guy used to get his college papers back with disparaging comments from the instructor, e.g., "specious reasoning", etc. On a few occasions, he and his white roommate (who was a straight-A student), traded papers with each other, with the predictable but unfortunate result that The Black Guy's formerly specious papers got As when handed in under The White Guy's name, and the White Guy's formerly grade-A papers got mediocre or bad grades when handed in under The Black Guy's name.

      IIRC, The Black Guy eventually got around this by majoring in math.

  24. HuddledMass

    I'm trying to think how awesome someone named "Chet" would have to be to make me not want to spit on his shoes.

    Maybe if there is a "Chet"on Seal Team 6.

  25. James Michael Curley

    You think James Michael Curley is white? He served hard time! Think about it.

  26. XOhioan

    This is why I'm creating an exact clone of myself to run for political office.

  27. anniegetyerfun

    Wait, so basically, people are comfortable with what they know? I mean, I fucking hate Republicans with all my heart, but if black politicians responded more to "blacks" and white politicians more to "whites" – like, obviously racism isn't dead or anything, but… oh, god, did I just become THAT WHITE PERSON WHO SAYS THIS KIND OF SHIT?

  28. chicken_thief

    They need to rerun the test but add in some Messicun and Muzlin sounding names. You know, just to see which group is officially at the bottom of the pecking order.

  29. axmxz

    Snark off for a second: this trick to out racism works better with resumes sent to various companies. If a company consistently ignores black-name resumes but calls back identically qualified white-name resumes, that's very obvious racial discrimination. But this was about letters asking for help registering to vote. Incentive for any Republican of any color to ever help a black voter register = ahahahah.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Republicans aren't going to help ANYBODY register. They can't take the chance that you're not old and white.

    2. tessiee

      It also may be worth pointing out that a resume ideally leads to an applicant getting interviewed, in which case their race is going to be fairly obvious anyway, as distinct from an e-mail, where no one is ever going to see the person.

  30. problemwithcaring

    Despite receiving 70-90% of the African American vote in any given election, Democratic legislators are not any more statistically likely to answer the email of a Black person than a Republican. Not even by a percentage point. !!

    Don't worry Black people, the good white liberals in the Democratic party won't let this stand! They won't rest until they can somehow show exactly how this is Obama's fault for not being a enough like "Shaft."

  31. HELisforHEL

    Siiiigh. No surprise, just a clinging sadness at yet another example of the fact that we're surrounded by morons. Good gawd, it's 2011. Can we please just get over the pigmentation thing already?
    I need a drink.

  32. MinAgain

    This is why I send postcards, instead of emails to my elected representatives. With an illegible signature, I could be anybody.

  33. DahBoner

    "You’ll find the most unrepentant white racists running the Republican Party."

    In other news, the sky is blue, grass is green and water is wet!

  34. ShaveTheWhales

    There is no doubt that race still plays a big role in inequality of opportunity, but the actual numbers of this particular experiment contain some surprises that are not mentioned in the excerpt. To name two:

    1. The actual average response rate to Jake was about 60%; to DeShawn, about 55%. That 5% difference is certainly significant in the statistical sense, but is quite a lot less than I would have expected. BTW, only 60% of Jakes got a response to a very simple request.

    2. The highest percentage rate of response to DeShawn came from white Republican legislators, followed by white Democrats, followed by minority Democrats. The same relative response rates applied to Jake. (This ignores responses from minority Republicans, because there were only 17 of them). I find the idea that Republicans respond to constituent requests better (by quite a bit) than do Democrats rather disturbing.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Was there any information about whether it's the legislators, or their staff, who read/responded to the letters?

      1. HistoriCat

        I was wondering about that too – I'm assuming some dumbass staffer is the one who actually deals with the little people.

  35. Biel_ze_Bubba

    Even gravity discriminates. (Michael Jordan turned it to his advantage.)

  36. metamarcisf

    If Tim Pawlenty changes his name to Lionel Jefferson, he might have a real shot at the White House.

  37. tessiee

    OK, slightly off-topic but kinda funny:

    A few years back, a co-worker and I were talking about the Simpsons episode where Homer's email address was, I think, Co-worker said that it was surprising how many other people had the same screen name, no matter how original you think it is.
    Co-worker: So and so is Who can believe 57 people have bad enough self-esteem to call themselves a wide load?
    Me: Who can believe 57 people use aol?

  38. tessiee

    "When I was growing up, our housekeeper Bessie was just like one of the family."

  39. WriteyWriterton

    Hunter O'Shaugnessy (female) and Laquanisha Jefferson-Washington-Jackson.

  40. WriteyWriterton

    There are a lot of people on this site I'd like to meet one day, and you're one of them.

    There! All better!

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