Thursday, October 30, 2008

WCBF Contributes To Naming of Phenomenon Thingie

Remember when I told y'all about the Philly neighborhood of Fishtown after Ben Smith wrote about an anecdote from a canvasser in that neighborhood even though I wrote at much greater length about the same phenomenon in this post about racist union coworkers deciding to back Obama despite their disturbing prejudices.

Well now it's called the Fishtown Effect.
Atrios has already given it his official blog post of approval.

Don't worry, it's okay if I don't get any credit...

I'll take it my self.



alli said...

Ha, I read that today and thought you might be miffed.

Leigh C. said...

Dude, SOMEthing has got to replace the Bradley Effect. Claim that credit!

bayoustjohndavid said...

I cringed when I read the Atrios post, but thought of your Anecdotal Sociology post (been very busy -- missed the Fishtown post) which I thought was much more nuanced. Did I misunderstand it? I thought it was, at least partly, about cognitive dissonance.

At any rate, it (your sociology post) made me realize what I should have written in several posts and comments earlier this year. What I should have written is that almost everybody has some degree of racial prejudice, or has conflicting attitudes about race, or will have a racist (or race-based) reaction in some situations but not in others. The bad side of that is near-universality of racial prejudice, the good side is that few people are irredeemably racist. Also, somebody's willingness to express racist thoughts is as much a reflection of his upbringing as his inner soul. I have no idea how to nudge people in the right direction in non-election years, but I do know that no vote should be discounted in an election year. However, the surest way to lose the votes of the somewhat racist is to call them racists -- that's the surest to up the F*** you vote.

At any rate, I didn't say that correctly several months ago, but I hope that Fishtown voters voters aren't being referred to as racists who are voting their pocketbooks in the Philly press. It could lead to a big F*** yo vote and Fishtown being cited as confirmation of the Bradley Effect.

E said...

Those are some great points. I think you're right that the term 'racist' has come to mean something more extreme than the types of prejudices expressed as they grapple with cognitive dissonance.

I tend to use the term a little bit more loosely on the blog here than I would in casual conversation.

You can be racist without being a racist. Does that make sense?

But again, I tend not to provide that kind of nuance when I'm just looking for a quick adjective to say, label my union coworkers in a one sentence synopsis.

I don't think you need to worry about and F-U vote. While liberal blogs might simplify the nuance by saying something like "racists are voting for Obama because of the economy," the local mainstream press is certainly taking a more nuanced look at the issue - like what I have tried to do in my longer posts.

The other thing about it is that using some anecdotal stories of racism encountered by Obama canvassers in Fishtown or certain pockets of South Philly does not necessarily mean that whole neighborhoods are being written off as irretrievably racist and ignorant - rather these neighborhoods are traditional Italian and Irish working class parts of the city. Nobody has any illusions about what that has meant historically for race relations in Philadelphia. This can be discussed intelligently using the aid of generalities without alienating anybody. In fact, a lot of people would argue that Italian working class South Philadelphia remains the cultural center point of what it means to be "Philadelphian." Think "Rocky."

I think my Fishtown post tries to describe the nuance within that neighborhood as it exists today compared to what it has been historically, or what it had been during the most trying racial conversations of the last 40 years.

I think that's really disjointed way of saying that I see very little threat of an FU backlash. I still see things moving in the other direction, as people set aside prejudices to vote for the Black guy with better ideas for the economy.