On MSNBC right now, there is yet another incident involving gun violence in America. At this point, no one seems to have any details of this particular gun-related tragedy, but every American is again cringing at our national shame, gun related deaths! We cant conjecture at this point on any motive, any group, or any political leanings. At this point, as we all have become far too accustomed, we’re waiting for information. From Columbine, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Aurora CO, and Sandy Hook to the recent gun-violence at the DC Navy yard, the problem seems epidemic and a nasty stain on our American spirit.
But also in today’s news, is a report peer-reviewed study, authored by the Public Library of Science, that has uncovered a serious connection. According to PLOS,
“Symbolic racism was related to having a gun in the home and opposition to gun control policies in US whites. The findings help explain US whites’ paradoxical attitudes towards gun ownership and gun control. Such attitudes may adversely influence US gun control policy debates and decisions.”
Now I’m sure, many of you are asking, “wtf is ‘symbolic racism'”? I had the same question, so I again consulted with the good folks at PLOS and found:
“(symbolic racism) is an explicit but subtle form and measure of racism, has been found to be consistently related to peoples decisions regarding policies that may affect non-white US citizens. It is argued that symbolic racism supplanted old-fashioned or overt/blatant racism which had seen blacks as amoral and inferior, and was associated with open support for race inequality and segregation under ‘Jim Crow Laws’. Research following the US civil-rights movement suggested that anti-black racism and stereotyping, as assessed by blatant measures, had declined. However, subsequent research revealed that people may merely be reluctant to express racism and negative stereotyping on these blatant measures in order to avoid appearing racist. This observation led to the conceptualization and measurement of more subtle measures of racism, such as, symbolic racism .”
Researches also found significant evidence to say
“for each 1 point increase in symbolic racism there was a 50% increase in the odds of having a gun at home. After also accounting for having a gun in the home, there was still a 28% increase in support for permits to carry concealed handguns, for each one point increase in symbolic racism.”
You can find the appropriate documentation for this statement, on the PLOS website.
We’ve all seen the TEA party rallies with overt signs expressing racial hatred, threats of gun violence, calls for armed revolution, and “second amendment remedies” against any number of perceived conspiracies in our Government. “We cam unarmed, this time!” is a regular staple on the TEA party circuit. Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) recently made headlines when he said, “[T]here is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation. If the hood fits, wear it.” Liberal bloggers (including myself) have been openly suggesting that racism is a major component of the anti-Obama crowd. And many of us have suspected that gun nuts and racists look pretty much the same. It seems now, that science agrees.