Blacks And The Clinton Fallacy

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Blacks And The Clinton Fallacy

Postby ThinkAndGrowRich » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:57 am

The Clinton Fallacy: Did blacks really make big economic gains during the '90s?
By Melissa Harris-Lacewell
Posted Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008, at 12:46 PM ET
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hillary Clinton's campaign deployed President Bill Clinton in South Carolina for the specific purpose of delivering the black vote, aiming to remind African-Americans of the good times when Clinton was president. Which raises the question: Why do so many people think the Clinton years were good times for black America?

A hopeful African-American electorate was at the core of Bill Clinton's successful bids for the presidency. In many ways, the scandal-marred, deeply partisan years of the Clinton administration proved disappointing in the face of such early optimism. Welfare reform, the growth of black imprisonment, and the public abandonment of progressive African-Americans like Lani Guinier are some of the most memorable racial disappointments of those years. Even through these disappointments, African-Americans were among Clinton's strongest supporters because many believed Clinton's era was an economic boon.

But there is evidence that Clinton's unmatched popularity among blacks confused many about the true economic impact of his presidency. In a 2005 article I co-authored in the Journal of Black Studies, I analyzed five national surveys from 1984 through 2000. The data show that nearly a third of black Americans held false understandings of black economic conditions during the Clinton years. By the time Clinton left office, many African-Americans incorrectly believed that blacks were doing better economically than whites. In the '80s, barely 5 percent of blacks believed blacks were economically better off than whites. By 2000, nearly 30 percent of African-American respondents believed that blacks were doing better economically than whites. This belief is simply wrong.

There is no evidence to suggest that African-Americans were in a better economic position than whites at any time in American history, including during Clinton's presidency. In fact, striking gaps in income, employment, and wealth continue to distinguish black economic reality in the United States. Clinton's administration did keep inflation low and reduce unemployment. This was a rising tide that lifted many boats, including some black ones. But it strikes me as bizarre that nearly a third of blacks perceived a reversal in the deeply historically entrenched economic position of the races.

The hypnotic racial dance of cultural authenticity that Bill Clinton performed in office lulled many blacks into perceptual fog. Clinton actively cultivated a unique and intense relationship with black voters. He relished this bond and often acknowledged his honorary blackness. It is important to remember that the description of Clinton as black was prompted by his experience of personal, public humiliation at the hands of his political foes. It is not a claim about his racial heritage, but instead a reaction to his experience with and use of cultural markers that often stand for the denigrated elements of black life in America.

As Clinton performed blackness, real black people got poorer. The poorest African-Americans experienced an absolute decline in income, and they also became poorer relative to the poorest whites. The richest African-Americans saw an increase in income, but even the highest-earning blacks still considerably lagged their white counterparts. Furthermore, the '90s witnessed the continued growth of the significant gap between black and white median wealth.

My research shows that respondents who liked Clinton best were always most likely to mistake blacks as doing better than whites. These attitudes about Clinton are not neutral. Deep racial affection toward Bill Clinton contributed to many African-Americans' misunderstanding the continuing economic inequality faced by the race. Like the idea of Bill Clinton as a black president, these overblown ideas of the massive economic benefits accruing to African-Americans in the '90s were largely an illusion. It is hard to vote your interests if you can't judge your circumstances.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell is associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2182745/
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Postby truthseeker » Sun Jan 27, 2008 12:43 pm

Very weak article in my opinion. The author seems to be drawing causal links, without any evidence of real causation. For instance, where does she give her explanation of how she knows that the Clinton Presidency was the cause of this false perception on the part of black people? Other things, during this time, imo also could have lended to black people having this false impression. Such as the rise of entertainment industry depiction of black people being wealthy. (music vids, shows like cribs, high profile black entrepreneurs etc..)

In light of how apolitical most black are, i.e., how most in my opinion don't follow politics closely, I need to see more proof that the Clinton Presidency is really what gave these black respondents this false impression.

The author seems to assuming causation, without any real explanation of what is making her assume it.

p.s. Was the question in the polls she mentions, "Is Bill Clinton making blacks better off?" or was the question merely "Are blacks better off?"
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Postby ThinkAndGrowRich » Sun Jan 27, 2008 12:48 pm

Regarding New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina refugees, as it relates to the Clinton Administration:


I was just at a dinner party/get together last night, and we were talking about this. I don't know how many of you had ever been to New Orleans prior to Katrina....but I had been there several times, and I have to say this. With the exception of the "touristy area's", New Orleans was a TOILET before Katrina!!

If everything was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO lovely for Blacks during the Clinton Years....what the heck happened to New Orleans???

OH, let me guess....When Clinton was 'Da Black Prez', all the Black folks in NOLA had mansions, Bentleys (with drivers) and private yachts....and then, as soon as Dubya got elected....some how, all those things just magically evaporated!!!

YEAH, RIGHT!!!

The reality is....besides sitting and eating fried chicken with us, and playing the saxophone....Bill Clinton didn't do jack "FOR US". If he loved "us" so much....how come the living conditions for Blacks in places like NOLA, were the EXACT SAME (if not WORSE) leading up to Katrina, as they were going back the late 60's and early 70's???
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Postby truthseeker » Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:07 pm

I went to New Oreans before Katrina. But I was always too drunk to notice what condition it was in. :wink:
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Postby DarkStar » Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:07 pm

That article is a crock!

"In the year 2000, nearly 30% of African American respondents to a
national survey expressed the belief that Blacks are doing better
economically than Whites. There is no evidence to suggest that African
Americans are in a better economic position than Whites. "


That may be true, but that doesn't mean that Blacks weren't doing
better, collectively, than in previous years. For right now, you have
to forget about comparing Blacks to white and compare Blacks at point
A to Blacks at point B. If B is greater than A, then there is an
improvement. Overall, Blacks did better during the Clinton years, and
even the conserva-kooks don't dispute it.
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Postby ThinkAndGrowRich » Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:18 pm

If the author can post numbers validating her article, and you can't show numbers disputing it....what then?
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Postby DarkStar » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:25 pm

ThinkAndGrowRich wrote:If the author can post numbers validating her article, and you can't show numbers disputing it....what then?


Excuse me? Do you see the game being played?

If a Black person was earning $10/hr at the start of the Clinton presidency and were earning $15/hr at the end, would that be better off? Yes.

If a white person started off earning $15/hr and ended $25/hr, he would be better off. But so would the Black person.

Note she is comparing Black vs. white. That's garbage. The comparison to be made is Black vs. Black. That's how you can tell if BLacks were better off.

Her analysis is bullhist.
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Postby hundfuhrer99 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:58 pm

truthseeker and Darkstar, what's going on? Back in town and at my computer. Cheap-azz still haven't bought a laptop.

Anyway, I am sorely disappointed that you dismiss the author's statements out of hand, without even attempting to verify. I don't understand what Black folks' affinity is for the Clintons. I can tell you that during his term, I was worse off than during the 1980s. That's not to say EVERYONE was; just that I was.

Bill and Hillary are now doing what Democrats have accused Republicans of for years; playing racial politics for political gains. From the re-mentioning of Obama's past drug use to the suggestion that MLK only inspired hope, while LBJ -- a White man -- put civil rights into actual legislation. If you cannot see the racial play in that, then there's nothing else I can say to you.

Apart from Clinton being one of the most despicable presidents to have sat in office. I'm not talking about his getting a BJ -- hell, he was the president; he was SUPPOSED to be getting a BJ! I'm talking about the abuse and manipulation of his power to abuse a subordinate (an offense that would surely get me fired) then lied about it under oath to a grand jury and the whole nation!

I can go on and on, but that's not the point. The point is that before you go dismissing the author's arguments out of hand, you should check it out first. I'm going to. If I find the author full of s**t, then I'll come back and say so. Truth, as far as I know, you've always checked out a story or statement before characterizing it. What's so different about this?
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Postby Yeager » Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:57 am

Well look who's back, taking time out from his 'dinner parties' to once again, come here and post bullshit articles without even taking the time to find out if what this person who wrote this bullshit actually knows what they are talking about.

In short, WELCOME BACK THINK AND GROW RICH!!

So let's see if I have this straight, because the average black in New Orleans did not own Bentley's and live in 'mansions before Katrina, that must mean that Bill Clinton didn't do nuthin' for blacks.

How many ways is this stupid? Too many to count. In the first place, which Democrat, including the Clinton's, ever even remotely made such a claim? 'Bentley's and mansions?' How about a Chrysler and a 2 bedroom house, would you settle for that? Apparently not.

Funny though, I don't recall ThinkAndGrowRich ever complaining about his description of the plight of cities like New Orleans before now, too busy attending 'dinner parties' and things, but of course now, with an election on, 'Bill Clinton didn't do nuthin' for blacks in New Orleans.' The real question is Think, what has George Bush done for New Orleans SINCE KATRINA?? Since one of the greatest natural disasters in our countries history, a nearly unprecedented disaster, and what did the monkey currently pretending to be a leader do?

And I've got some breaking news for hundfuher99, pay attention now, this is important, BILL CLINTON WAS NOT PRESIDENT IN THE 80'S WHEN YOU WERE DOING SO LOUSY!! That would be Red Ink Reagan and George H W Bush The Smarter.

Oh, and because Hillary made the observation, the true observation, that President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the voting rights act and civil rights act, which helped MLK's dream of a colorblind society move forward, people like hundfuher99 see right through that horse shit, that is really 'code' for MLK just not being able to get anything done and was really trying to denigrate Dr. King.

Jesus Christ, all I can say is this is like watching the cable networks, EVERYTHING the Clinton's do is 'dishonest,' 'inauthentic,' 'race-baiting,' 'will do or say anthing to win an election.'

Good Democrats everywhere, do not fall for this idiocy, isn't this exactly what they say about EVERY DEMOCRAT the last 20 years or so? Isn't it? Of course it is, they are saying it right now on Morning Joe.
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Postby Yeager » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:11 am

Let's start here, and these aren't made-up, anecdotal evidence which is all we've seen so far:

http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/1999pres/19990930c.html


Now you Clinton-haters, read this and then we'll discuss real evidence, if you have time between 'dinner parties.' Anyone ever tell you you're an asshole ThinkAndGrowRich?? I guess I just did.
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Postby DarkStar » Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:25 pm

hundfuhrer99 wrote:Anyway, I am sorely disappointed that you dismiss the author's statements out of hand, without even attempting to verify. I don't understand what Black folks' affinity is for the Clintons. I can tell you that during his term, I was worse off than during the 1980s. That's not to say EVERYONE was; just that I was.


Child, please. It IS verified: Black income increased during Clinton's term. Black unemployment decreased.

Period.
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Postby ThinkAndGrowRich » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:23 pm

Child, please. It IS verified: Black income increased during Clinton's term. Black unemployment decreased.

Period. --Darkstar--



Ok Darkstar, lets assume that you are correct. Lets assume that the quality of life did significantly improve during BILLary Part 1 & 2. How much of that improvement was directly as a result of policies that were the brainchild of BILLary, and how much of that was a result of them being forced to work and compromise with the Republican Party and them pushing their "CONTRACT WITH AMERICA"?

C'mon now...lets not argue, fuss and fight. Lets REALLY TALK ABOUT THIS? Which means, we have to exclude Yeager from this conversation, because we all know he is incapable of having a civil conversation.
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Postby truthseeker » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:05 am

hundfuhrer99 wrote:truthseeker and Darkstar, what's going on? Back in town and at my computer. Cheap-azz still haven't bought a laptop.



Hey what up Hund! Good to see you around man. Hope you do get that laptop so we can see more of you homey. :)

hundfuhrer99 wrote:Anyway, I am sorely disappointed that you dismiss the author's statements out of hand, without even attempting to verify.


Dismiss out of hand? What did I say to give you that impression man? I thought I just pointed out some incomplete thinking demonstrated in the article. I was asking for more evidence that she had thoroughly analyzed the issue. I don't feel as though I'm arguing that what she asserts is not true, I'm saying that the article leaves out information, that would help me see the validity of her claim.

So I see my response above as 1.) expressing a skepticism regarding her claim/theory and 2.) outlining the type of additional information I'd need to have, before I could accept that causal link she is drawing between people liking Clinton, and having that false impression of black economic success.

I really didn't feel like I was saying, "Oh hell no! There is no way that this is true!" My main point was that I considered her article a poor piece of argumentative writing. And then I tried to explain what types of information would make it more persuasive in my view.


p.s. Think and Grow Rich mentioned that the author gave numbers to support her claim. My initial impression of the article was that the numbers as presented demonstrated more of a correlation than causation. But I'll give the article a second look to be sure of that.
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Postby Yeager » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:11 am

Hmm, Think must be attending more 'dinner parties,' too busy to respond, beyond idioitic and meaningless statements like 'Clinton didn't do nuthin' for black folks.'

Oh, and for a little alleged historical fact here, ThinkAndGrowRich I believe used to claim he worked for a Congressman, or worked in Congress as an aide, some such thing, I won't challenge that but you'd sure think that someone who actually claims to have worked as some kind of 'Congressional aide' could come up with better 'facts' than 'Clinton's didn't do nuthin' for blacks.' Deep Think, really deep stuff there.
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Postby ThinkAndGrowRich » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:48 pm

Yeager,

When is the last time you got laid, and it didn't involved copious amounts of Tequila, and a goat?? Because you sure are an uptight, angry individual!!

BAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWHAHAHAHAHAHAH
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Postby DarkStar » Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:16 pm

ThinkAndGrowRich wrote:Ok Darkstar, lets assume that you are correct. Lets assume that the quality of life did significantly improve during BILLary Part 1 & 2. How much of that improvement was directly as a result of policies that were the brainchild of BILLary, and how much of that was a result of them being forced to work and compromise with the Republican Party and them pushing their "CONTRACT WITH AMERICA"?


So, why are you, a pro-conservative/Republican ASSuming that progress of Blacks is because of the government instead of personal attributions?

Why are you, a pro-conservative/Republican pushing government instead of self help?

*ROTFL*!!!!!

C'mon now...lets not argue, fuss and fight. Lets REALLY TALK ABOUT THIS? Which means, we have to exclude Yeager from this conversation, because we all know he is incapable of having a civil conversation.[/quote]

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/ ... tpov2.html

BTW, the Census shows that in 1992, 33.4% of Blacks were below the poverty level. In 1999, 23.6% were below the poverty line.

How much of it was due to government polices? I don't know and neither do you.

And to the article you posted, AGAIN:

By the time Clinton left office, many African-Americans incorrectly believed that blacks were doing better economically than whites.


The author wrote about Blacks thinking about how Blacks were doing in relation to whites, not how Blacks were doing in general. Her piece is based on a premise that doesn't match what she is saying.[/quote]
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