Nate Silver: Does race affect votes?

I’m a big fan of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), and I just sort of stumbled upon this talk by Nate Silver.  In studying the racial overtones of the 2008 election, he found that there are two things that can be predictive of racism: poor education, and rural lifestyle.  He traced that further, because saying that all rural dwellers are inherently racist is obviously false, and found that it has less to do with actually living in the country and more to do with living in an area where everyone is white.  His solution?  Traditional neighborhoods with gridded streets where people walk and interact with people unlike themselves.  As much as we want to deny it, much of the migration from cities to the suburbs was reacially motivated (known as “white flight” in planning circles), and the return to urbanity in a lot of ways includes a return to living near people who are different from us.  I think this is a wonderful thing and hope that in the future we learn to embrace the differences of our neighbors, but first, we have to have neighbors that are different.

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