17 November 2012

Urban-Rural My Keester - Can We Please Mention Race in a Direct Way?

Election Day results at Southern polling places reflected the same 
urban-rural divide that appeared everywhere else. 
Photograph © Travis Dove for The New York Times.

I live in - very conservative - rural western NY state. And I have good friends - mostly liberals and progressives - in the south, including North Carolina. So in many ways I am sympathetic to the distress that the author of this Op-Ed expresses. I found the 'some of my brother's best friends are Hispanic' portion of the essay laughable, but not surprising. That aside, I am not sanguine that demographic change alone will change red states blue. And, like it or not, in terms of presidential politics the hue of North Carolina approximates NC State considerably more than it does either UNC or Duke.

Nevertheless what stuck me most about the piece was the image above, which accompanied it in today's New York Times. Speaking of hue, why are we not talking about black and white here. That is, after all, what the image reveals. All this euphemistic chatter about "urban" and "rural" is just that - euphemism. And unless the unidentified precinct pictured here somehow incorporates city and farmland (not impossible) the operative distinction is race. Period.

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