Prop. 8 and thinking before we write

More

Yesterday, I tried to outline a humanistic case against the whole "Teh blackz did us in!" argument. I also linked some math. Now we have better math. The basic idea is that you need black folks to have been about 10 percent of all votes cast on Prop 8 to make a difference. Black folks are one of the smallest minorities in California, making up about six percent of the total electorate, which numbers at about 17 million. At 6 percent, black folks are worth about a million or so votes. There were just over ten million votes cast on Prop. 8. For blacks to cast ten percent of those you would need a turnout of 90 percent in the black community. Lemme repeat that--90 percent. It's possible, I guess. I leave it to you to weigh the odds.

I'm still embarrassed by the fact that 70 percent of those who did vote, voted yes. It means we have serious work to do. But I'm seeing a makings of a disreputable trend to turn a problem into a black problem. We use disproportion as a crutch--what's important is that blacks are disproportionately poor, not that there are large numbers of white poor people. Ditto for homophobia. What's important isn't the large minority of whites, and the influential majority (barely) of Latinos who passed Prop 8, but the roughly 5 percent of the California electorate who voted for it.

Something is very very wrong with that. The anger is justified, expected, and human. But it's not how we're going to fix this.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In