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But the memory remains


A new study sheds more light on slavery’s continued impact on Americans.

In the South, it seems, old prejudices have persisted. Southern counties that had more slaves on the eve of the Civil War are distinct from their neighbors: White residents in those areas are more hostile toward African Americans and they are more likely to vote Republican today, new research shows. Drawing on archival Census figures and recent polls, the study adds to an expanding body of evidence on the importance of racial anxiety to the predominantly white Republican coalition.

“The underlying racial hostility goes on in the culture, passed on from generation to generation,” said David Sears, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Local culture doesn’t change very quickly.”

Which is depressing. But it does make those demands that African-Americans “get over” slavery even funnier. Apres vous!

Polls consistently show that Republicans are more likely to hold racial prejudices, and not just in the South. Nationally, almost one in five Republicans opposes interracial dating, compared to just one in 20 Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center. While 79 percent of Republicans agree with negative statements about blacks such as the one about slavery and discrimination, just 32 percent of Democrats do, the Associated Press has found.

Did the Southern Strategy leach into the water or is the GOP a giant bigot magnet? Ah no. It’s the lure of small government. Honest.

Conservative leaders argue that Republicans do not exploit racial anxiety to win votes, and that any differences between Republicans and Democrats are coincidental.

And then they go back to screaming that Obama is going to shove things down their throats. The use of violent imagery with over- and under-tones of sexual assault is pure coincidence.

It could be, for example, that a platform of limited government is naturally more appealing to people who live in sparsely populated areas where independence and autonomy are valued, and that people who live there also hold more intense biases for historical reasons.

And it could be, for example, that my backside is a dispenser of rainbows and rubies.

“This party does not prey on people’s prejudices. We appeal to their highest ideals,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the speaker of the House, told reporters Tuesday. “This is the party of Lincoln.”

Heritage not hate, eh what?

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