Friday, June 27, 2008

The Whiter the County, the Weaker the Love

Here's an interesting challenge to the growing view in social science that racial proximity decreases social capital and lowers support for race-based policies. In a good Colorlines article about anti Affirmative-Action initiatives that will appear on a number of state ballots in the fall, the author reports on demographic voting data from Michigan's 2006 Civil Rights Initiative:
Statewide, Michigan is about 78 percent white, 14 percent Black, 4 percent Latino and 2 percent Asian, with most people of color concentrated in a handful of urban areas. For example, while Wayne County, home of Detroit, is less than 50 percent white, a handful of other counties are nearly 98 percent white. Wayne County was one of only three counties where a majority voted against Proposal 2. The other two, Washtenaw and Ingham, include the state’s two largest universities and have among the state’s most diverse communities. In general, across the rest of Michigan, the whiter the county, the higher the support for the ban.
Interestingly, support for the anti-Affirmative Action measure was not correlated with county unemployment rates, a proxy for income levels.

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