Friday, November 14, 2014

Interview with Prof. Rima Wilkes: Black Republicans & Government

Charles Badger,  a Republican political strategist and writer for the blog slams the media for its recent knee-jerk reaction to a new study on Government and black Republicans.

"Republicans, despite what they say, really like government more than Democrats. That’s the headline many took away from a new study in the journal Social Science Research

But the headline could’ve as easily been: “Black Democrats the least trusting of government,” because, in fact, that’s what the study — conducted by Canadian sociologist Rima Wilkes — found. “Black Republicans, White Democrats and White Republicans all have significantly higher levels of trust than Black Democrats, controlling for other factors,” Wilkes’s study concludes. The study has attracted some attention lately, including from The Washington Post. That article—typical of American political journalism—casts black Republicans as at odds with Wilkes’s thesis, by quoting black Republicans criticizing government to conclude, “…not every black Republican commentator would agree with [Wilkes’s] assessment.” (Quite, fittingly, Wilkes plans to next study trust in the media, among other institutions). 

But it would be more accurate to say that the professor’s study is less about government, in the sense of trusting government programs and more about trust in the American political system. We see this in the questions the study asked, such as whether respondents have “trust in the federal government to do what is right.” This reflects buy-in to the means-ends structure of American democracy, a belief that the American system is fundamentally well-structured, an endorsement of the idea of America as a place of fair play, and a just rewards system."

Read complete article here