Invaluable Insights from OSU Law

An “Ask the Experts” entry – in its entirety – from the new Ohio State election site,

How does racial equity come into play in Tea Party politics?

john a. powell, professor, Moritz College of Law and executive director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

A: ”Tea Party supporters are more likely to be White (80 percent), middle-aged, with higher than average education and income levels. As our nation becomes increasingly multicultural, and as minorities begin to assume positions of power, Whites can experience anxiety over a potential decline in their historically privileged social and economic position. These fears and attitudes can drive political opinion.”

Professor Powell’s answer is conventional wisdom for anyone who relies on “mainstream” media sources other than Fox News or The Wall Street Journal. In addition to providing no unique insight, it’s supported by exactly zero facts. Given presumably limitless space to answer a politically important question, Professor Powell devoted a whole three sentences to insinuating that Tea Party supporters are rich old bigots frightened of a black president.

As of the 2000 Census, 77.1% of America’s population was classified as “White alone or in combination.” Is America itself driven by fear and anxiety? Is any group populated by a certain percentage of white people de facto racist? If so, perhaps Professor Powell could enlighten us as to what that percentage is. Doing so shouldn’t be above his pay grade: according to The Buckeye Institute’s higher ed database, his 2010 salary is $345,835.20.

I am too lazy, too cheap, and, let’s face it, probably not intelligent enough for law school. But if I were a Moritz student, I would be downright embarrassed by this “Ask the Experts” feature.

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