Age Bigger Factor Than Race or Gender

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in Gender, Race

Well, this is interesting:

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows 72% of those surveyed say voters are ready to elect a qualified black candidate, 18% say they’re not. Meanwhile, 71% say Americans are ready to vote for a woman, 20% say they’re not. But only 61% say the voters are prepared to vote for a person over 70, while 29% say they’re not. Not exactly encouraging numbers for McCain and the Republicans.

Who knew? Apparently there is more bias against old people than against African Americans or women. Then again, only one of those groups has an increased chance of dying in office. And that’s really what these results show, right? People are worried that John McCain will croak. Or maybe they think he’ll have a senior moment and launch a nuclear attack when he meant to just page his secretary.

While these numbers aren’t good for McCain, I’m even more disturbed to see that a full one fifth of Americans are so racist and/or sexist as to reject a qualified candidate solely because of their race or gender. I guess prejudices change slowly and one fifth is probably a lot fewer bigots than you would have found even 25 years ago, let alone 50 years ago.


This entry was posted on Friday, March 28th, 2008 and is filed under Gender, Race. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

19 Responses to “Age Bigger Factor Than Race or Gender”

  1. TerenceC Says:

    There’s no explaining the ignorance of so many american voters – it’s sad but not unexpected – look at the top 5 TV shows if you want insight into the American people’s mind set. The age topic doesn’t surprise me either – there are quite a few old people in this country and if you ask them you’ll hear most say that someone who is 70 plus just doesn’t have the concentration and energy level that the next US President will need to have.

  2. TheMiddle Says:

    “Apparently there is more bias against old people than against African Americans or women.”

    Yeah, which explains why Americans overwhelmingly have elected African Americans and women for POTUS and not old white guys.

    Brilliantly well put.

  3. Dos Says:

    there are quite a few old people in this country and if you ask them you’ll hear most say that someone who is 70 plus just doesn’t have the concentration and energy level that the next US President will need to have.

    My wife’s 90 year old nanny, AKA Gretta, sincerely asked me me to tell you to go fuck yer’self. Sorry about the laguage, but the woman has no patience for insulant little blog jerkoffs — she’s been around 90 years and is sharp as a tack and very active. McCain’s age is in my opinion an asset, it provides the continuity and perspective that only experience can provide. And as far as energy goes, Reagan was at his best when in slumber at various state functions.

    As far as these polls, beware of the Bradley effect. The Bradley effect is created by people like Rev. Wright and his relationship with Obama. Of course, anything short of the presidency for Obama will be chalked up to racism. With the socio-racial subtext such as it has been painted by Obama, how could he assume anything other than victory isn’t motivated by racism. I really hope McCain choses Condi Rice to run as VP. Identity-politics is an unfortunate game that the Repubs need to play, a political inoculation against race pimps like Uncle Wright, his loon followers, and pathetic guilt-ridden white liberal yuppies.

  4. Jim S Says:

    Well, now that Dos has jumped so hard on Terence I have to conclude that Terence is on to something.

  5. S.W. Anderson Says:

    The degree to which age should be a factor in someone’s suitability to be president depends completely on what shape the individual is in. Some people are much sharper at 75 than others are at 55.

    As much as I don’t want McCain in the White House, except maybe as a guest, I don’t want to see him stigmatized because of his age. If he clearly exhibits a pattern of age-related difficulties, that’s another matter.

    Discrimination does take many forms and ignorance has many faces. The truth is that we don’t learn better as a people or as communities. We learn better, when we learn at all, one at a time, as individuals.

  6. S.W. Anderson Says:

    “Of course, anything short of the presidency for Obama will be chalked up to racism. With the socio-racial subtext such as it has been painted by Obama, how could he assume anything other than victory isn’t motivated by racism.”

    Sounds like you’re ginning up some pre-emptive victimhood there, Dos.

    If the right-wing noise machine persists in referring to Obama as Barack H-U-S-S-E-I-N! Obama ; if Republicans swiftboat Obama because of Rev. Wright; if they and the McCain campaign try to paint the Obamas as closet America haters — all of which is depressingly likely — then yes, you bet there’s going to be recrimination about bigotry. And there should be.

  7. TerenceC Says:

    DOS -

    See what I mean? Right after the old dear woke up in her chair from her nap (probably wondering where she was) you asked her that question – how dare you treat an old one like that – you’re an ageist.

    If you managed to pull your head out of the dark spot you keep it you’ll notice I didn’t say anything derogatory about old people – you did. I only mentioned that they do not have the energy and concentration levels aren’t what they once were…….and that’s a fact. You may not like it, but it’s true none the less. Dos these jokes are for because you need to laugh.

    1. You and your teeth don’t sleep together.

    2. Your try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren’t wearing any.

    3. At the breakfast table you hear snap, crackle, pop and you’re not eating cereal.

    4. Your back goes out but you stay home.

    5. When you wake up looking like your driver’s license picture.

    6. It takes two tries to get up from the couch.

    7. When your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.

    8. When happy hour is a nap.

    9. When you’re on vacation and your ENERGY runs out before your money does.

    10. When you say something to your kids that your mother said to You, and you always hated it.

    11. When all you want for your birthday is to not be reminded of your age.

    12. When you step off a curb and look down one more time to make sure the street is still there.

    13. Your idea of weight lifting is standing up.

    14. It takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.

    15. Your memory is shorter and your complaining lasts longer.

    16. Your address book has mostly names that start with Dr.

    17. You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.

    18. The pharmacist has become your new best friend.

    19. Getting “lucky” means you found your car in the parking lot.

    20. The twinkle in your eye is merely a reflection from the sun on your bifocals.

    21. It takes twice as long – to look half as good.

    22. Everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt – doesn’t work.

    23. You look for your glasses for half an hour and they were on your head the whole time.

    24. You sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.

    25. You give up all your bad habits and still don’t feel good.

    26. You have more patience, but it is actually that you just don’t care anymore.

    27. You finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.

    28. You wonder how you could be over the hill when you don’t even remember being on top of it.

  8. TerenceC Says:

    OH – the preface for the 28 items (if you haven’t guessed) “You know your old when……..”

  9. Dos Says:

    Very good TerenceC. Funny stuff. I’d post my 28 black jokes and my 2070 female jokes, but old people aren’t quite as sensitive — probably because they were actual *involved* in the slave trade.

  10. Dos Says:

    if Republicans swiftboat Obama because of Rev. Wright; if they and the McCain campaign try to paint the Obamas as closet America haters

    Oh so, Reverend Wright is OFF limits — if one identifies a racist and a candidate’s long time relationship with the racist then you are a racists. If only these rules had come out before poor Ron Paul’s newsletter fiasco. New rules. Great. Do you have to be a left-wing liberal democrat for this to apply? Or is it a black privelege to be racist and have racist ties with no political effect and no analysis of the situtation?

  11. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    Hey Middle,

    The use of the word “apparently” was clearly meant to refer to the data and not my own opinion. Considering I spent half the post bemoaning racism and sexism and pretty much made a joke out of the ageism thing, I think you can easily infer my opinion on this. But thanks for prentending like I was being an idiot.

  12. wj Says:

    Well, Mr. Anderson got one thing absolutely right: what really matters is the individual, not the group — whether you’re looking at age, gender, or race.

    I’m thinking here of my 90 year old mother. Spent several months last year in a nursing home (broken leg), and had one major complaint (besides not having Internet access). All the “old people” that she had to be around there. Most of whom were 10, 20, or even 30 or more years younger than she is, at least according to the calendar.

  13. TerenceC Says:

    Please – lay off the Rev Wright stuff. I know for a fact that if I look for it I will find exceedingly racist people “around” John McCain, exceedingly “sexist” people around John MCCain, and patriots who would “hamstring” McCain for his behavior while in prison in Viet Nam…….It’s stupid to focus on people who aren’t the candidates, focus on the issues, focus on the facts, and leave the emotional conjecture and labeling out in the cold where it belongs. If you want political discourse (not that I am perfect) then engage in it with out all nonsense.

  14. kritter Says:

    Alan, I wouldn’t go overboard by assuming the level of bigotry that you do from these poll results. There’s a certain contingent among respondents that is going to answer them according to what they think or believe is being asked, or just wants to be contrarian.

    So, for example, some folks answered that they wouldn’t vote for a female because they don’t like Hillary. Not what the question asked, but there ya go. Same thing with Obama. And others answered as they did just to eff with the pollsters.

    I hate to get in the middle of the terry/dos tiff, but I have a few thoughts. I don’t think it’s at all fair to dismiss someone solely due to their age. Age is indeed just a number. It’s fair to acknowledge that with age can come a decline in energy and mental accuity. We all know this.

    That makes it fair for voters to look to see whether McCain appears to be showing diminished energy and accuity. As a longtime fan and watcher, I definitely see less energy, and don’t think it can be chalked up solely to the grind of the election process. But it’s accuity that’s the more important factor. I intend to watch and judge McCain on this count. I have seen a few troubling signs, but I am not sure whether they demonstrate diminished accuity or a native incurious impatience. McCain sure wants to be President, but my impression is that he does not enjoys running for the office nearly as much as some others…

  15. Barack Obama 4 President Says:

    It’s really sad to me to see how much the race issue is being played up. I also really hate that people act like it’s Obama playing the “race card.” His campaign was really above talking about race. It’s only the racist anti-Wright stuff that brought the issue into the campaign.

  16. Think about it Says:

    Don’t forget about the flipside. How many will vote FOR Obama or Hillary based SOLELY on their race/gender? Both are ridiculous and should both be discussed. But you chose to cover the “negative” half.

  17. S.W. Anderson Says:

    “It’s stupid to focus on people who aren’t the candidates . . .”

    That is going too far. People who aren’t the candidate can be extremely relevant. For a glaring example, George Bush’s buddies, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. In 2000, Bush assured us he wanted to be a uniter, not a divider, which was the antithesis of Rove’s 50 + 1 percent strategy and Cheney’s F-you approach to anyone not in lockstep with him and Bush. Likewise, Bush assured us he favored working peacefully, in cooperation with our allies, and was against nation building. Rove and Cheney’s positions in Bush’s inner circle should have been a tipoff, a red flag that what Bush was saying on the stump was the exact opposite of what he would be all about once elected.

    Wright the pastor of Obama’s church for many years. As has been pointed out, the offensive utterances that have been played over and over on CNN, Fox, etc., represent a tiny fraction of what Wright had to say all those years. Add to that the facts that Wright isn’t involved in Obama’s campaign, and that Obama has renounced Wright’s offensive statements, and you have a much different relationship.

    Right now, one of John McCain’s campaign co-chairmen, active, stump-speaking supporters and closest friends is ex-Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas.

    Gramm has earned a reputation as a venal, selfish, bad-government type who left his 23-year career in Congress to become a lobbyist for a major international bank. Before checking out, Gramm chaired the Senate Banking and Commerce Committee that oversaw the operations of UBS, the bank he went to work for. Gramm wrote and rammed through the deregulation amendment to 1999 legislation that has brought us the housing bubble, mortgage and financial markets crisis.

    I submit Gramm’s relationship with McCain is night-and-day different from Wright’s relationship with Obama, and that it is crucially important to getting an idea of what a McCain presidency would be like.

  18. TerenceC Says:

    I don’t disagree with a word you said except I think you give Gramm too much credit – he isn’t that smart (he sort of reminds me of Dr Phil). I should have framed my comments above a ittle more clearly. It’s an understatement what Cheney and Rove’s influence on the Boy Wonder have been – and a stain on the national IQ Test that Bush was ever given a second term. However, a religious leader who has said disturbing and hateful things, but has never once had “actions” acting on that level of derision – in fact the actions are those of a deeply spiritual and caring religious leader – does not warrant further exercise. I believe actions need to be investigated, and words need to be heard in the context in which they are uttered and all of us – regardless of political persuasion – need to listen and think, not listen and react.

  19. S.W. Anderson Says:

    Well said, Terence C.

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