Paula Ioanide, an associate professor at Ithaca College’s Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity, penned a New York Times op-ed discussing the effects of racism on the 2016 presidential election.
The op-ed is part of the Times’ “Room for Debate” section, an online forum that invites experts to discuss news events and timely issues. The debate Ioanide took part in asked whether Americans are tired of democracy’s failings and looking for more autocratic governance, or if they conversely desire more democracy.
In her article, “Racism Is the Central Hindrance to Democratization,” Ioanide argues that the issue of race has traditionally undercut popular labor movements like the one currently led by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Ioanide says that while presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has used race-baiting to create populist unity, Sanders’ supporters fail to see racism as a problem that could break their movement.
“There is a way to move people and resources toward America’s democratic ideals,” Ioanide writes. “But this requires a confrontation with racism as the central hindrance to American democratization.”
The other experts invited to contribute to the debate on this topic were former Reagan administration official Linda Chavez, Yale University political scientist Jim Sleeper, Stanford University law professor Richard Thompson Ford, “The Trump Presidential Playbook” author Geoff Blades and Paul D. Miller, research fellow at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
Ioanide’s research focuses on the negative effects of present-day inequalities and injustices. Her book, “The Emotional Politics of Racism: How Feelings Trump Facts in an Era of Colorblindness,” examines how the human tendency to let emotions win out over reason leads Americans to support racism and discrimination in unconscious ways.