Not all racism is overt or visible. Often it is hidden in the most innocuous of phrases. How many times have we heard the term “dog whistle” used by the media and others during the Trump administration? Yet there is another type of racism that never seems to get discussed but was also out there in full display this election cycle: the racism of faulty assumptions.
Let me explain. Democratic strategists are bewildered as to why they failed to get massive shares of the Hispanic vote, particularly in South Florida, where Cuban and Venezuelan Americans largely voted Republican. In fact, Trump expanded his support from Latinos – taking 47% of the Latino vote. Democrats are shocked as to why dislike for Trump did not translate to a down-ballot blue wave.
The faulty assumption by the Left is that all Hispanics are the same, monolithic group. They assumed that since Trump was pushing the border wall – and portrayed in the media as a xenophobe – that the Hispanic vote would help send him packing.
Here’s the truth: They are not a monolithic group. Each is an individual, thinking for themselves. Cuban and Venezuelan-Americans have seen socialism up close and personal, and they have an aversion to anything even remotely close to it. Many families escaped from socialist states with their lives and not much more. They are entrepreneurs and want to realize the American dream. Messages of paternalism and dependency don’t play well with this group. On the other hand, the Republican message of personal responsibility and self-reliance does.
Joe Biden displayed the use of faulty assumption when he uttered the phrase, “If you vote for Trump, then you ain’t Black.” Biden tried to walk back from this phrase. Still, his words reeked of the faulty assumption that Black Americans are a monolithic group, incapable of independent thought, beholden to the Democratic party for eternity.
Imagine the shock and horror when the Democratic strategists discover a significant percentage of Blacks voted for Trump. While the current exit polling shows that Trump only gained one percent of the Black vote overall, he gained in subgroups, particularly amongst Black men. Approximately 26% of Black men who had a high school diploma or less supported Trump. Furthermore, 22% with bachelor’s degrees and 20% with advanced degrees also supported him. Black Americans nationwide – particularly in and around major cities – are saying loud and clear that decades of Democratic rule have not benefited them. They think there is maybe a different path.
Then there is also this phrase: “Why do people vote against their self-interests?” I hear that phrase applied to women a lot. I also hear some form of that statement applied to other groups, including those mentioned above. It’s hard to parse what that phrase means. It’s harder to understand why people take it upon themselves to insinuate the interests of others. By voting, they have precisely articulated what they believe their self-interests are. For someone to question their self-interest is the epitome of racist or sexist thinking. Assuming that someone should be obligated to act and think in a particular way because they belong to one specific group is the racism of faulty assumption. It’s time for the Democrats to spend less time labeling others as racists and take a long, hard look at their own behavior.
Greg is a Marketing Analytics leader, and adjunct Professor of Marketing at Loyola University of Maryland, working at organizations like NEA Member Benefits, Ciena Corporation, Arbitron/Nielsen and Element Fleet Leasing.
Greg has extensive background in Business Analytics, Technology, Business to Business Marketing, as well as extensive Consulting experience. Greg has provided business and analytic consulting to over one-third of the Fortune 500 companies, largely in the Health Care, Insurance, Pharmaceutical and Business Services industries, on topics ranging from process improvement to cost reduction strategies.