Prejudice in Politics

There have been many studies analyzing the effects of names on the way a person is viewed. NPR recently released a story showcasing a report exploring these effects in the way state legislators view their constituents. The same email was sent to over a thousand different representatives, signed with either the name John Smith or Santiago Rodriguez. The study showed that, while results were clearly different by political parities, responses could be separated even further. It was found that there was a correlation between which name the politicians responded to and whether they supported voter ID laws. We know that correlation does not always equal causation, and therefore we also know that we cannot say that the bias caused by names is what prompts legislators to vote the way they do. The evidence to believe this outcome, however, is staggering. Many studies have found the same results in different fields. In my opinion, this only furthers Bonilla-Silva’s argument that we do not intentionally see people by the color of their skin, or their names, but subconsciously we have a bias based on cultural history.

Do you believe this is true? Or are you on the other side of the argument? And Why?


Pioneers or just People Accomplishing Things?

While reading the chapter “The Adventures of the Frontier in the Twentieth Century” from Patricia Nelson Limerick’s Something in the Soul, I was not very convinced. I understood that the idea of “Frontiers” and “Pioneers” has changed quite a bit from their original meaning and that they are not always used properly. However it was not until after I had read the piece that I saw how often we use these terms. Just a quick Google News search of “Pioneer” proves this (when “Frontier” is searched, the results are mainly about an airline of the same name). I believe that the overuse of these words is only furthering the concept of American Exceptionalism. So my question to you is— by making these words part of every day life, do they lose the gravity of their meaning or do we imply that smaller discoveries are more meaningful than when the terms were coined?