Professor Rick Hasen at the University of California at Irvine Law School has posted at his election law blog quantitative data to prove that Southerners are more racist. He allowed a guest posting at his blog from Chris Elmendorf and Doug Spencer which quantifies the “proportion of nonblack residents who are ‘prejudiced overall.’” Seriously. This is what academia spends time on – attempting to quantify which states have racism in people’s hearts. Behold SEC and Clemson fans:
We created a binary measure of stereotyping that roughly captures whether a person is more prejudiced toward blacks than is typical of nonblack Americans. Our data source is the 2008 National Annenberg Election Survey (NAES), which asked non-black respondents to rate their own racial group and blacks in terms of intelligence, trustworthiness, and work effort, on a scale of 0-100. On average respondents ranked their own group about 15 points above blacks on each trait. We coded respondents as holding “prejudiced” views with respect to blacks on a particular trait if the difference between their rating of their own racial group and their rating of blacks exceeded the national mean difference for the trait. To create an overall measure of prejudice for each respondent, we summed the number of traits on which the respondent was more prejudiced than the national mean. Finally, we converted this sum into a binary variable, coding as “prejudiced overall” those respondents who exceeded the national mean with respect to at least two of the three traits.
The professors use this methodology to conclude that places like Texas and Mississippi are more racist than West Virginia and Maryland. Best of all, they think the quantitative assessment of southern racism should persuade the Supreme Court to uphold federal oversight of state elections.