The Race Factor


The question: “Is race a factor in ____________?”  To be topical, we could put “your presidential vote” in the blank, but anything else works. This question contains an assumption: Somehow in a society full of raced bodies and racism of various types, it is somehow possible in certain for race not to matter. That in a place like the U.S. that abounds in racialized images (positive or negative), that strains under continued violent racial oppression (against poverty or chains or guilty consciences), somehow race can be excised from certain equations. I’m not convinced.

A highly unscientific survey of internet discourse via Google indicates that race is a factor in more than twice as many instances as when it is not. 

Results 1 – 10 of about 14,200 for race is not a factor

Results 1 – 10 of about 32,400 for race is a factor

Does a certain choice indicate that race is not a factor? For instance, a white person (perhaps an Iowan) voting for a black candidate — does that indicate an absence of the Race Factor. Doubtful. But of course the connotation of “factor” so easily oozes into “liability,” especially when talking about “race,” whose connotation so easily slips into “nonwhite.”

Results 1 – 10 of about 1,130 for race is always a factor

Results 1 – 10 of about 236 for race is never a factor

Disturbingly, the first result of the last search comes from this statement: 

But Tobias, who is white, insists that one thing is for sure: Race is never a factor in an officer’s decision to shoot.”

Once again, race as liability. But can we imagine race being a factor in interactions exclusively between whites?


One Response to The Race Factor

  1. soyluv says:

    thank-you for that last sentence. i’ve been musing/considering the implications of that for a while now…

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