Saturday, November 20, 2010

Race/Ethnic Factoids: E Pluribus Duum?

Couple of interrelated nuggets on the op ed of this morning's New York Tiimes.  One from Charles M. Blow's chart-of-the-week, today's on "reverse discrimination."  The proposition before the house is: "Today's discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities."

Agree/disagree?  Overall, the vote is 54-44 disagree.  The breakdown is mostly predictable: heavy agree among older, low education, white males (also Republicans, though that would be more consequence than cause).   The interesting number is that 30 percent of blacks (and 32 percent of Hispanics) agree.  Say that again: nearly one third of the supposed beneficiaries of reverse discrimination seem to think it has gone too far.

Micromillimeters away from Blow's chart is a new-to-me stat from the Pew Hispanic Center: (per Bob Herbert):  "In the year following the official end of the Great Recession in June 2009, foreign-born workers in the U.S. gained 656,000 jobs while native-born workers lost 1.2 million."

I haven't gone back to the source on that one, but it is easy enough to riff a context: the native-born would have been rust-belt jobs that have been on their way out  for years, while foreign born workers are moving in either at the high end (e.g., Indian doctors in Kansas) or low (meat slaughterers in Iowa)--both categories where for different reasons you just don't expect to find a lot of native-born.

With these numbers, I think one can profitably compare the trawl of recent census data (in this week's Economist) showing, inter alia, that we're becoming more polarized geographically as well as just politically: "In the 1976 election, ... 26% of voters lived in counties where one party won by 20 points or more. In 2008 a whopping 48% of voters did so."

Afterthought:  "End of the Great Recession in June, 2009."   Otherwise known as "mission accomplished."

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