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Posted by on Nov 18, 2008 in At TMV | 14 comments

Prop 8 & Race & Obama & The South

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So much is being written about Prop. 8 and black homophobia (see for example here, here, and here) that I cannot keep up. Yesterday we learned that Prince Is Anti-Gay (but Ta-Nehisi Coates thinks Andrew Sullivan is “drawing a bizarre line between Prince’s homophobia and Prop 8 and black people” via Joe.My.God).

Me, I’m fascinated by a tidbit in amongst the barrage of data pulled together by Professor Charles Franklin, of Political Arithmetik and While looking at support for Obama across demographic groups, Franklin finds:

First is a chart showing the relative sizes and shifts of 83 demographic groups. Those above the diagonal [link] shifted toward Obama from Kerry’s 2004 performance, those below it shifted away from Obama. Tellingly, only three groups moved away–“small town,” “decided last 3 days,” and–perhaps surprisingly “gay”.

Perhaps surprisingly??? If I’m reading this chart right, the gay swing was the largest of the three. Does anyone want to attribute that swing to race?

Via Ezra Klein:

…the best way to explain the voting preferences of Southern whites is race, but the best way to predict their behavior is to understand that racist voting has become simple partisan voting. If they were once voting for Republicans because they were racist, they’re now voting for Republicans because they are Republicans.

In the case of African Americans voting for Prop 8 in California, I tend to agree with those who say it is religion more than race. And I think along those same lines for whites who voted against Obama in the South.

The South has openly dealt with race for much longer than the North ever did. At this point religion is more to blame than race. (Even as I must acknowledge that some of Franklin’s other charts suggest I could be wrong.)

RELATED: Richard Thompson Ford makes his argument that racism is the wrong frame for understanding the passage of California’s same-sex marriage ban. I’ve addressed his argument here before.

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