There is nothing, it seems, that can’t be blamed on the white patriarchy. The ludicrous extreme of such claims can be seen in Wednesday’s op-ed by Charles Blow in the New York Times. (click on screenshot below). Apparently the movement of the “oppressed” towards Republicans, as well as the high votes of white women for Trump, are not the results of individual reasoned decisions, but of the machinations of The Patriarchy. The column is unbelievable.
Maybe sociologists know why the votes have gone this way, but I don’t. Regardless, Blow says something that nobody disputes: people of color voted for Trump by a higher margin this year than in 2016. That’s also true for gay people—big time. Given Trump’s views and actions, I’m surprised, but I lack both the the expertise or chops to explain the numbers that Blow quotes:
A larger percentage of every racial minority voted for Trump this year than in 2016. Among Blacks and Hispanics, this percentage grew among both men and women, although men were more likely to vote for Trump than women.
. . . The fascinating story and movement are in the Black vote. Black people vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates. Black women vote more reliably Democratic than Black men — only 3 or 4 percent of Black women voted for the Republican candidate in 2008, 2012 and 2016. However, Donald Trump doubled that number this year, winning 8 percent of Black women’s votes.
Black men on the other hand have been inching away from the Democrats in recent elections, and continued that drift in this election. In 2008, 5 percent of Black men voted for John McCain; in 2012, 11 percent voted for Mitt Romney; in 2016, 13 percent voted for Trump; and, this year 18 percent voted for Trump.
The gay shift is remarkable:
This one pushed me back on my heels: the percentage of L.G.B.T. people voting for Trump doubled from 2016, moving from 14 percent to 28 percent. In Georgia the number was 33 percent.
This for a president who has attacked trans people in every way imaginable. As the Human Rights Campaign president, Alphonso David, pointed out in June, “The Trump-Pence administration is the most virulently anti-LGBTQ administration in decades.”
White women, too, are faulted (see below) for voting for their oppressors:
In any case, white women vote for Trump at higher rates than all other women, despite the fact that Trump has spent his first term, indeed his whole life, denigrating women.
Let me be specific and explicit here: White people — both men and women — were the only group in which a majority voted for Trump, according to exit polls. To be exact, nearly three out of every five white voters in America are Trump voters.
It is so unsettling to consider that many of our fellow countrymen and women are either racists or accommodate racists or acquiesce to racists.
Well, Blow is a black man, so perhaps the idea that voting for Trump means a vote for racism—the weasel-out Blow proffers is “acquiesce to racists”—comes more naturally to him. But surely there are many people who voted for Trump who don’t see themselves as racists, or even see themselves as anti-racists. Instead, they may have considered other issues more important in their vote: their economic well-being, their fear that they might lose their jobs to overseas companies or to immigrants, and so on. It is like saying that anybody who voted for Biden is a “woke enabler.” Now remember, I think that anybody who voted for Trump was making a serious mistake, voting for an unhinged demagogue who was destroying America. But I’m not willing to tar them all with the monicker of racism.
But that’s not the worst thing in this editorial. That would be Blow’s analysis of why so many “oppressed” people voted for Trump in the first place. Here it is:
All of this to me points to the power of the white patriarchy and the coattail it has of those who depend on it or aspire to it. It reaches across gender and sexual orientation and even race. Trump’s brash, privileged chest trumping and alpha-male dismissiveness and in-your-face rudeness are aspirational to some men and appealing to some women. Some people who have historically been oppressed will stand with the oppressors, and will aspire to power by proximity.
Seriously? A Stockholm Syndrome explanation?
This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, it’s not really an explanation at all: it literally begs the question. He’s made up an explanation that lacks any evidence at all.
Second, it infantilizes people of color, arguing that they mistakenly sought a nonexistent “power by proximity”, and are not going with the program that comports with their ethnicity. They are, as blacks call other blacks who show “white” behavior, “Oreos.” In other words, it is white men who have made black and Hispanic men and women vote for Trump.
Note, too, that Blow uses the term “historically oppressed.” But if you’re not oppressed now, as many blacks, Hispanics, and women aren’t, should you consider the past history of your in-group when voting? Those who voted for Trump because they thought (correctly or not) that his policies made them better off might disagree.
That especially goes for gays, who have done so well, and are so oppression-free, that many of the Woke consider white gays, at least, to have “privilege”, not numbered among the oppressed (see here, for instance). White gays have considerable power, and there’s absolutely no reason they should vote for Trump just to be hauled up the ladder on the coattails of The White Patriarchy.
It’s richly ironic that gays, Hispanics, blacks, and women are told by Blow that their votes were not only wrong, but were conditioned by the White Patriarchy as a misguided grab for power. As I said, it goes to show that there is absolutely nothing one doesn’t like that cannot be blamed on the White Patriarchy. Perhaps Blow should do a little more research on the complex question that he simplifies into intellectual pabulum. But of course, the New York Times now sees everything through the lens of race and oppression.