In the late 50’s I was a little girl born and raised in the North (NYC) where the racism there was subtle. For the most part it was not as newsworthy as the southern version of racism. Although the following was a common occurrence even with United States Supreme Court guidelines against discrimination in place:
Once, I inquired about a part-time job when I was 16 years old (this was around 1963). I spoke to the manager of a realty corp over the phone regarding the available part-time position. He told me to come in for an interview and when I got there…he said with an apparent look of disappointment, “Oh, you didn’t sound Black over the phone”. I promptly left.
An exit poll in South Carolina being criticized after voters in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Spartanburg were asked a series of questions about race and slavery, WSPA reports.
Voters were asked whether “blacks are getting too demanding in their push for equal rights”:
An exit poll questionnaire in SC yesterday. This is shameful! pic.twitter.com/MiS0FatnU5
— Auztin (@troyauztin) November 5, 2014
The poll was conducted by a political scientist from Clemson University, David Woodard, who insisted that it was not meant to be provocative.
“It was designed to take advantage of a political moment of Senator Tim Scott’s election as the first African-American from a southern state since reconstruction,” he told WSPA.
But many voters were, in fact, provoked by questions that asked them to “agree” or “disagree” with statements like, “it’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder, they could be as well as whites.”
The political scientist who asked them to do so said the questions have been used by pollsters for decades — and they are taken, word-for-word, from the Modern Racism Scale, an analytic tool used to gauge an individual’s non-conscious biases.
This exit poll is not, however, the first time Woodard has stirred up a racially based controversy.
In August, he responded to the student-run “See the Stripes” campaign by calling it a form of “fascism.” The campaign attempted to call attention to the ways in which Clemson University celebrates its slave-owning legacy in building names and statues, by “making a connection between the fields the slaves worked for Master Calhoun and the field on which student-athletes give their time, talent, blood, sweat and tears for The Program.”
“It’s fascism,” Woodard said of it. “It’s looking at things only through racial lenses and not seeing anything else when in fact there is no racism associated with this.”
Woodard plans to release the results from the now-controversial exit polls in January.