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The Mass Media

Voting in Lockstep

Voting in Lockstep


The civil rights movement of the 1960’s had a major goal that would cause a shockwave of dysfunction, throughout the decade and well into today’s social and political life. That major goal was to allow Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans, the very founders of this country the right to place a vote without angst of having retribution taken out on them.


Naturally, there were many rights that minorities were looking for blacks being dead in front of the public eye. We know to this very day that we are still fighting our prejudices to avoid quantifying anyone that is not pure breed white as black. One key point to the elevation of minorities and members of the multiracial community to be given the right to vote was the fundamental requirement for these groups to protest their outrage on both the national and local scene.

The Southern Freedom Movement when talking about returning minority military members it says, “They had fought and died for democracy abroad, yet they cannot vote at home. (One out of every eight American GIs was an African-American; Latinos and Native-Americans also made up significant portions of the armed forces, which for the most part were organized on a segregated basis.) On local, state, and federal levels GIs fight against the laws, customs, and oppression denying them the vote and other civil rights.

Before WWII the NAACP numbered around 50,000 members, in the post-war years it swells ten times to over 500,000.”(SFM) This was important because it showed how groups coalesced to avoid being mitigated by the elite.

Can we apply this logic of group unification to the voting patterns of today? I mean in the sixties we had groups like the Black Panthers and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference who strove for equality. Today you could argue that in the House of Representatives that both the Hispanic and Black caucuses are struggling in the name of equality for all just like their predecessors. The trepid need for groups with oppressed histories to align together in an effort to repel racism isn’t new; what will be new is the impact that people of mixed descent will have on this almost instinctual behavior.

In Kimberly Davis and Christopher Matthews’ piece about mixed couples, they take a quote from a woman who says, “For years, if you had one drop of minority blood, you were considered to be that minority.” The one-drop rule doesn’t seem to apply — as much — to younger people. “I think that with younger people, their experience has been such that they have come up in communities that were a little more racially mixed,” said Turner Trice, who moderates “Exploring Race,” a blog whose goal it is to have a conversation about race.” The multiracial community can not be ignored; in the United States multiracial people compose the fastest growing bloc of citizens.

In the 2000 census which marked their first opportunity multiracial people accounted for 2.4% of the population adding up to some 6.8 million people. With this being a census year everyone expects a huge spike in the number of people who check more than one box on their census when asked what race they are. My biggest question for multiracial people is how will they matriculate into the political system? It is kind of strange because there has always been a multiracial population in the United States but there has been little if any accounting of them by the government.

Common logic would elude us from the very notion that the mixed race populace could stray from having to pick the part of their race which is most oppressed. For example if I were half Asian and half black which race would I closely identify with? We know that Asians are stereotyped as being the ideal minority group so history tells me I would probably recognize myself as black. Politically this should mean that I’m a lockstep democrat who never breaks stride. Korostelina brings up a good point when she says, “The stability of attitudes connected with core identities assists in the preservation of a dynamic balance in the system of identities. If one of the situational identities becomes salient, corresponding attitudes become stronger and frequently take an extreme meaning in one’s value system.” So, if I feel strongly that black is the greatest race, it is more likely I will be racist. Okay I get that. However If I’m half Asian and half black, how strongly can I feel that black is the greatest?

Much of the impact of the multiracial vote may come in generational lines, there is still hope that people will vote on the issues and not based on the issue of color. Of those who identified as multiracial on the census 95% of them were under the age of 65. I don’t have to tell you that race has changed generationally as this generation is further removed from the heart of the civil rights movement. There is limited statistical evidence to say that multiracial people vote one way or the other, hopefully the census this year can help correct that. Once we have that additional data there will still be another significant challenge to using it. The multiracial community like any other does not fit into any one category; this can not be any more magnified than in the families and individuals who are more than one race. The combinations of ethnicity and race could stretch almost as long as the number pi.

If I were to predict I would say that politically multiracial people will not be easily categorized as democrats or republicans they like the individuals they are, will be something closer to independents.


Work Cited:

:Korostelina, Karina V., “Social Identity and Conflict” Published by Palgrave Macmillan 2007, Ebook identified as (K): Voting Rights History ?Two Centuries of Struggle. Copyright © 2004 ?Webspinner: [email protected] ?(Labor donated) http://www.crmvet.org/info/votehist.htm web site identified as (SCLC)

: Davis, a multimedia journalist in Takoma Park, Md., and Matthews, a multimedia journalist in Washington, reported this story as a Carnegie-Knight News21 fellow from the University of Maryland.) “Mixed-race people in U.S. struggle to form political, personal identities” By Associated Press” newsreport identified as (D&M). January 12, 2010, 8:44PM Web site article/Video http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2010/01/mixed-race_folks_in_us_struggl.html