Christian Long

Nate Silver: Race and Politics

In TED Talks on April 7, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Reflection by MORGAN PFURSICH

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Nate Silver: Race and Politics

I was excited that I was assigned to this TED video. As I watched it, I was surprised and a little bit disappointed.

Even today, race is a sensitive subject. Nate Silver talks about the Republican states and White Americans who did not vote for Barack Obama. I do not disagree completely with the points that Nate made. I do however, feel that these points were over exaggerated.

Nate spoke a biased opinion, giving us the impression that all white people are ignorant and let Barack Obama’s race affected how they voted. I find this to be untrue! Although I am not able to vote legally, I know whom I would have voted for if I were eighteen. I would never let race impact who I voted for. I think it is great that we have an African American President. I am so proud that our country has come so far. But I stick to the ideals and beliefs of the candidates when I choose who to support.

Nate brings up the idea that people judge race based on where they live. Nate is saying that the states that voted Republican in the election, therefore, are racist. The funny thing is that these so called “racist” states like Kansas and Arkansas, have voted Republican for many elections. Arkansas has voted Republican consecutively for the past three elections. Kansas has consecutively voted Republican for the past eleven elections. So they vote Republican in 2008 and that all of a sudden makes them racist?

Nate focused on Obama being hurt in the election due to his race. What Nate failed to mention was that his race also earned him votes. The election of 2008 was a historical election. It was the first time an African American had run for election as President. I do not think that anyone would argue with the fact that Barack Obama was more popular because he was black. I feel that his race helped him more than hurt him.

Also I fail to fully believe in the statistics Nate presented. There was not information to defend what Nate was claiming. Nobody asked those who voted for Obama whether race affected their votes. For statistics to be true, they must be fair.

I was able to find a poll that included both Obama and McCain voters. According to this poll, more people who voted for Barack Obama claimed that race affected their votes. [see below]

I believe that Nate should have given white Republican voters more credit. Today more people are capable of looking beyond the skin and into peoples’ beliefs.

Link to graphs: http://www.gallup.com/poll/111049/obamas-race-may-much-plus-minus.aspx

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