November 08, 2008

More on the Putative Black/Gay Divide.

Ta Naehisi-Coates runs the numbers on California's Proposition 8:

Yesterday, I tried to outline a humanistic case against the whole "Teh blackz did us in!" argument. I also linked some math. Now we have better math. The basic idea is that you need black folks to have been about 10 percent of all votes cast on Prop 8 to make a difference. Black folks are one of the smallest minorities in California, making up about six percent of the total electorate, which numbers at about 17 million. At 6 percent, black folks are worth about a million or so votes. There were just over ten million votes cast on Prop. 8. For blacks to cast ten percent of those you would need a turnout of 90 percent in the black community. Lemme repeat that--90 percent. It's possible, I guess. I leave it to you to weigh the odds.

Obsidian Wings reads the stats slightly differently, speculating that black voters may well have reached that 90 percent turnout in the Golden State:

If the following standard analysis assumptions are true the answer is probably a very close ‘no’, but at least one of the assumptions seems very possibly false and with other fairly likely assumptions the answer looks like a ‘yes’.

My assumptions are:

1. that the vote among black people was as reported (69% Yes on 8).
2. that black people make up 6.7% of the CA population
3. that black people represented a share of the votes equal to their share of the population

I further assume that 8 passes with 52% which seems the likely number at this point.

Given each 1000 voters, black people in CA represent 67 of them.

There are 520 Yes votes and 480 No votes for each 1000.

At 69%, Black voters voted 46 Yes and 21 No for each 1000.

If they voted like White voters (55% No) they would have voted 31 Yes votes and 36 No votes.

That would make the final tally 505 Yes and 495 No votes. (50.5% to 49.5%). [numbers very slightly rounded]

But this analysis is VERY sensitive to assumption #3. It appears that black people in CA may have voted in a greater share than that of their representation of the population. Right around 10% of the vote.

That would mean that given each 1000 voters black people in CA represent 100 of them.

At 69% Yes on 8 that would be 69 Yes and 31 No for each 1000. If they had voted like White voters they would have voted 45 Yes and 55 No. That would make the final vote equal 496 Yes and 504 No (proposition loses 49.6% to 50.4%).

Interestingly, at the 10% vote share level, if a small majority of black people voted against the measure it would have lost (49% Yes, 51% No gives the measure a loss at 49.9%).

Basically, if the black voter share is 10% or higher, the black vote difference from the white vote made the difference so long as the final total is at or below 52%.

This, of course, makes my head hurt; I was an English major. But I do have a couple of suggestions:

1) If we truly want to achieve gay equality, we should be concentrating a lot more on eliminating "don't ask, don't tell" in the Armed Forces than we are on marriage. In fact, in a time of war that notion is likely to have much broader appeal than galloping toward gay marriage at a faster trot than the population at large is ready to do.

In one case, to the casual observer, you have a country so self-destructive that it fires Arabic translators (among many others) for being gay, and you have men and women who serve their country, but are susceptible to losing their jobs because someone might "read" what their orientation is.

I mean, I understand that this doesn't fit the conventional lefty template of treating the military as if it's composed of icky, warmongering spiders and snakes. One might have to treat those murderous soldiers, sailors, airmen/-women and Marines as if they were human beings. (Ick. I need a bath now.)

Seriously, fellow warmongers: if the badasses in the Israeli Army and in Britain's Special Forces can integrate gays, we can do the same thing in the States.

2) Quit trying to use the courts to get this done! Gay rights should be determined through legislative means, rather than handled by judicial fiat. Judges who legislate sensitive moral matters from the bench inevitably create resistance and resentment. It's worth taking a few more years, and doing this the right way.

Less backlash; steady progress.

3) Do something practical, for crying out loud: get a gun. Self-defense is the most basic right of all, and you may not feel like you're at the mercy of public sentiment if you join Pink Pistols, or Second Amendment Sisters. Or take a shooting course through the NRA. Or join Black Gun Owners.

Heinlein: "An armed society is a polite society." Yup. And right now we all need to mind our manners a bit more.

* * *

Previously, on "Gay Rights and Proposition 8"—

"How the Obama Campaign Assured the Passage of Propsition 8"

"On Racism and Homophobia"

Posted by Attila Girl at November 8, 2008 11:35 AM | TrackBack

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