The Uniqueness of Dante de Blasio

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-10-20 01:27Z by Steven

The Uniqueness of Dante de Blasio

Gotham Gazette: The Place or New York Policy and Politics
New York, New York

Andy Beveridge, Professor of Sociology
Queens College, City University of New York

As New York took in the extent of the win by Bill de Blasio in the Democratic primary for mayor, the impact of a powerful television ad starring his son Dante seemed plain.

The ad hit on de Blasio’s main campaign points of taxing the wealthy, ending a “stop-and-frisk era that unfairly targets people of color” and universal pre-K. But it was the messenger that made it a show-stopper: A mixed-race kid with an exuberant Afro speaking to the camera about how his dad was “the only Democrat with the guts to really break with the Bloomberg years.”

De Blasio’s wife is a black woman, and both Dante and Chiara (his daughter) are mixed race. With his family and the ad featuring his son playing key roles in his campaign, de Blasio split the black vote almost evenly with former comptroller Bill Thompson, the only black candidate for mayor.

Remember, in the primary between Hillary Clinton and Obama, who is mixed race, in 2008 Hillary Clinton did better among white and Hispanic voters than she did overall, and Barack Obama won the black vote by a very wide margin in an overall close race. In terms of who voted for whom, race mattered.

As Joe Lenski, the man behind the exit polls, said in the Daily News, “I don’t know if I could ever remember a race where a black guy is (close to) losing the black vote, the woman is losing the woman vote, the Jewish guy is losing the Jewish vote. It’s quite impressive …. De Blasio did a good job of saying, ‘I’m one of you even though I’m not personally one of you.’ He was able to say, ‘my wife is African-American, my kids are multiracial.”

How unique is Dante de Blasio, the 16-year-old superstar of the 2013 elections, who communicated this important message? Just how many New Yorkers are non-Hispanic males who would identify themselves as black and white? An analysis of 2010 Census data shows that very few young New Yorkers are black and white, and even fewer are non-Hispanic black and white. Furthermore, there are much lower proportions of such individuals in New York City in the country at large. These data are presented in the accompanying table, and some are summarized in the two charts below…

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