Gosh, I hope this means we can actually have an honest discussion about race without Republicans playing the refs all the time. When a conservative reporter comes out and says, yes, the race-based strategy is intended to play to disgruntled white working class men, people should take a pause and listen.
Ron Fournier laid it out pretty squarely in the National Journal:
“Let’s talk about your polling,” Benson said. He grabbed from my hand an Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor survey showing that middle-class blacks and Hispanics are far more optimistic about their children’s future than are whites of the same economic status. “What do you think the unemployment rate is among blacks? In Detroit, it’s probably 40 percent. If the unemployment rate is that high, why is it that they are so optimistic about their future and the future of their children?”
Benson paused, heard no reply, and answered his own question.
Subsidization. That's code for welfare. As a side note, I didn't see 40 percent unemployment in Detroit. In fact, I saw a lot of people working, and a lot of revival going on. Not nearly enough. But still, this image of Detroit as a place where unemployed people are left to languish is equally inaccurate.
Fornier doesn't shy away from the translation, either.
I share this story to crack the code – the subtle language of distrust and prejudice that whites use to communicate deep-set fears, and that cynical politicians translate into votes. Translating Miller and Benson:
“Subsidization” = Welfare
“Generational Apathy” = Lazy
“They Slept All Day” = Blacks Sleep All Day
“I Feel Like a Fool” = I’m Mad As Hell
He hits the nail on the head right here, and it's working. Greg Sargent: