Recently Aaron Wrote about Stereotyping Appalachians, Now Jim Webb Weights In

Will Thomas has written an interesting piece on Jim Webb's take on charges that Appalachians are racist. Jim Webb Speaks Out on Racism. Broadly speaking his Scots/Irish roots are the same, and he explains what it is, in his opinion, that "Appalachian" voters resent. As an on average poor section of the population they have gotten the short end of the stick on affirmative action, even though they too are disadvantaged.

I supported him when he ran for senator and met him at a very small event early in the campaign, and I watched with awed "delight" as the maccacca incident unfolded and George Allen's political career came to an inglorious end. I was also will pleased when "my" senator dissed George W, who was burbling on about Webb's son who was/is serving in Iraq. Now he is being considered as a possible vice president. John Edwards is certainly my first choice; however IMO Webb would also bring something important to the ticket.

Here is some of what he has to say:

The Virginia senator suggested that race is indeed a factor in Obama's poor performance among white voters along the east of the country, saying, "we shouldn't be surprised by the way they're voting now." But he bristled at what he suggested is a simplistic interpretation of the issue. "When I hear people say this is racism, my back gets up a little bit, because that's my cultural group."

... snip ...

Rather, Webb -- whose previous book Born Fighting explores the effect of Scots-Irish culture on America's formation -- argued that Scots-Irish voters' unwillingness to support Obama is less about the candidate himself, than about a sense of injustice among the community manifested by the government assistance afforded to minorities in the post-Civil Rights Era:

This isn't Selma, 1965. This is a result of how affirmative action, which was basically a justifiable concept when it applied to African Americans, expanded to every single ethnic group in America that was not white, and these were the people who had not received benefits and were not getting anything out of it. And they're basically saying let's pay attention to what has happened to this cultural group in terms of opportunities.

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Poverty doesn't really care what race you are. It also doesn't care if you have a college degree, technical expertise, or what your age or sex is.

Focusing attention on to race and appealing to bigots is a very effective way to avoid fighting poverty.