The Great American Eclipse… And its lack of diversity.

Guest post by David Middleton

ABO

American Blackout

A tour of the solar eclipse’s path reveals a nation that fought to maintain a different sort of totality.

ALICE RISTROPH AUG 18, 2017 SCIENCE

Totality is everything, say those who chase solar eclipses. When the moon fully obscures the sun and casts its shadow on Earth, the result is like nothing you’ve seen before—not even a partial eclipse. A merely partial eclipse does not flip day to night, because the sun is bright enough to light our fields of vision with only a tiny fraction of its power. But when the sun and moon align just so, a little piece of Earth goes dark in the middle of the day. In this path of totality, night comes suddenly and one can see the shape of the moon as a circle darker than black, marked by the faint backlight of the sun’s corona. Astronomers and eclipse chasers chart carefully to be sure that they can watch from exactly the right place at the right time. They know that you cannot compromise with the sun. For a dark sky, the sun must be banished altogether.

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will arrive mid-morning on the coast of Oregon. The moon’s shadow will be about 70 miles wide, and it will race across the country faster than the speed of sound, exiting the eastern seaboard shortly before 3 p.m. local time. It has been dubbed the Great American Eclipse, and along most of its path, there live almost no black people.

Presumably, this is not explained by the implicit bias of the solar system. 

[…]

Alice Ristroph is a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

The Atlantic

Presumably?  If not for the other 4,585 words in this “science” article (according to The Atlantic), I would say, “Surely she was not serious, when she felt she had to qualify “this is not explained by the implicit bias of the solar system” with the word, “presumably.”

Unsurprisingly, Vox published an apologia for this nonsense and accused conservatives of unfairly piling on.

“The eclipse is racist”: how one bad article sparked a conservative pile-on

Updated by  Aug 21, 2017

A case of a solar eclipse metaphor gone terribly, terribly wrong has become a conservative talking point about the left and racism.

Last week, the Atlantic reprinted a Democracy: A Journal of Ideas article, which attempted to make a hard-to-parse point about race in America in the context of the solar eclipse. The thesis of the article was that the regions experiencing the total eclipse are mostly inhabited by white people — and also America has a history of racism.

It was quickly picked up by far-right pundits and conservative media as the left’s attempt to make everything about racism…

[…]

The article comes on the heels of a terror attack at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia…

[…]

Vox

Good fracking grief!  WTF does any of this have to do with the eclipse?  At least they didn’t try to blame the path of the eclipse on President Trump… yet.

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114 thoughts on “The Great American Eclipse… And its lack of diversity.

    • Britain will not be allowed to have any more eclipses unless it pays an additional 60 billion euros to Brussels, Junker is reported to have announced.

      • The eclipse in Britain was only partial. Therefore we will be partially and not totally allowed to leave the EU.

      • In the context of the latest drivel published by the government your humourous comment Greg seems quite believable.

      • Nah, I think it’s more likely that Farage and other Brexiteers promised that Britain will have eclipses again if they leave EU. But in reality it was the British government themselves which banned eclipses. Wouldn’t surprise me.

      • That’s a fair swap in my view. Eclipses last for a very short time. Freedom from the EUSSR is much more precious

      • Presumably, that’s an American billion (a thousand million, British milliard) and not a British* billion (a million million, American trillion).

        * In 1974, the British switched over to the American usage. However, in Festung EURO-pa the Junkers still use the “long scale”.

      • Shhhhsh! He is busy reading the Guardian and studying the BBC website so he can bring us more truths from fake news central.

    • There has been rising public and media pressure for Donald Trump to unambiguously condemn the track taken by the eclipse and to call out those who are responsible.

      There have been calls for state authorities to remove all sundials and other monuments celebrating the sun and moon from public places and university campuses. This kind of blatant bias and race hate has no place in modern America.

      An on-line petition has been launched to get Sunday to be changed to a less devices name, under the hashtag #nomoresundays and #nomoremondayseither . It had gained 175,000 likes in the first 24 hours. #alt-eclipse is also trending on Twitter.

      • Hi Greg, I posted the article on FB, with your comment quoted as Comment. I changed “devices” to “divisive”, presumably a predictive text or voice-to-text error.

    • Well, you could use that word, but somehow it seems woefully ill-equipped for the task, given the Tsar Bomba-level of stupid in Alice Ristroph’s essay.

      • The Tsar Bomba was created by white people to rival the white-hot intensity of the sun. It was meant to enslave people of color and humiliate them with their lack of sun privilege.

        /sarc

  1. Well, if The Donald is so powerful as to affect the path of the moon, then blaming him for everything is quite appropriate./s

    • In a conversation in London (UK) today, someone actually did say that if the moon stuffed up its eclipse then Donald Trump would be blamed. I reckon that about half of all hatred is delivered by people who think they are anti-hate.

      • A few years ago here in the US you’d see a lot of “Coexist” bumper stickers.
        I’ve known a few people that had them on their cars and concluded that what they really mean is “You have to coexist with me. I don’t have to coexist with you.”

  2. As all good leftists know, it was the Russians and their secret space program hackers that have hacked into the Solar System and controlled the outcome of the Solar Eclipse to highlight that the path of Totality would fall mainly on the plain white population — a pseudo-factoid that could be used to embarrass the current administration.

  3. The universe is racist.
    Dark mater and dark energy have huge presence all over the place, while white dwarfs are in minority, as if their scarcity is not enough they have to be the dwarfs too.
    William Bradford Shockley Jr. (transistor inventor and Nobel prize laureate) was mad.

    • The original article specifically stated that the heavanly bodies were not racial, it was just a metaphor. However this was lost in this site. The original article did state that those that had the least contact with others had a disproportionate influence on the outcome of government QED

      • Whenever the left comes up with something incredibly stupid, people notice and call them out on it. Then they have to follow up by trying to make coherent arguments that it wasn’t really stupid at all. One strategy, as with Dave here, is to imply that people who recognize the stupidity are just too dumb to understand. It’s just another incarnation of the emperor has no clothes story which is “about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent.”

        I did a search on Google and found that the word “racism” occurs on 120,000,000 web pages. I checked Google Scholar and found 1,180,000 articles that included the term. Do we really need another article on the topic, especially one that includes such an absurd “metaphor?”

        Some of these people are so enmeshed in their bubbles that they don’t have a clue about how ridiculous they to sound to people who live in the real world.

      • The fact that ANYBODY would raise racism in a piece about cosmology is so mad there is no way to deny this person is completely off the rails.
        And the people who try to defend him/her too.

      • You must have meant this comment to go to the editors of The Atlantic

        A metaphor generally bears some relationship to its subject.

      • And the eclipse took just about the least racist path accross these tangentially United States…

      • David, how did the people who put together that chart define “racism”.
        In my experience, most people who feel the need to create such charts have definitions that few rational people could agree with.

      • I really didn’t have the patience to read the paper. I Googled “map of US racism” and it took me to a Washington Compost article that linked to the paper.

  4. “Along most of it’s path there live no black people” … Along most of its path there live no people, period.

    The eclipse followed sparsely populated western and mid-western areas, and arrived in the Southeast over North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina, which collectively have an African American population of 30%. A quick look at my geo-demo database and I’m finding that African Americans and Native Americans were way over-represented in the path. So whoever Alice R. is she’s just … (your demeaning adjective here)

    • Yeah, As a female person of color/red, myself, I was rather amused that the Great Spirit put on this whole show mainly for us ;) ;) My youngest daughter sent me a pic of her brood goofing around on the rez out on the Oregon coast. At least the younger ones were goofing: Her fiendage daughter was steadfastly maintaining her cool. :)) :))

    • One of the very first places the Zone of Totality covered after its entry over Oregon was the Warm Springs Indian reservation in eastern Oregon. That sorta qualifies as non white. The Canadians would call it a land of the First Nations. Oops!

  5. A lack of color diversity, so no denial of individual dignity. That’s good, not bad.

    No rainbow spectrum either. Whites are intact, and blacks are inclusive.

    I wonder how many babies were processed by Planned Parenthood as sacrifices to the great secular eclipse..

  6. At least they didn’t try to blame the path of the eclipse on President Trump… yet.

    Hmmm…lets see now. How to blame Trump…hmmm…NASA covered it coast to coast this time but they didn’t cover past ones coast to coast over Africa?
    Trump had all those toppled Civil War statues set up again in its path?
    Trump had HUD move all the minorities out of its path?

    I don’t see how they can blame Trump.

    The universe is racist?
    The Moon looked black as it covered the Sun.
    The presence of “Black” was celebrated was celebrated coast to coast.
    How could that be “racist”? 8-)

    • I wonder, if you did a census tract analysis along the path of totality, what it would actually show.

  7. It’s all about baffling their enemies brains with BS.

    Here’s a link to part one of two of a lecture by Stephen Hicks. He traces the roots of the postmodern movement and comes to the conclusion that it’s completely a means to an end, that end being the destruction of western civilization.

    Hicks points out that pure postmodern philosophy doesn’t predict any particular political leaning. He asks, rhetorically, why it is that all the prominent postmodern scholars are Marxists. He concludes that the Marxists know that any possible reasoned argument was lost with the fall of the Berlin Wall. They are reduced to using bafflegab and they’re very good at it.

    This politically correct postmodern victim-identity-politics crap is, at its heart, dishonest and evil. In this case, the social justice warriors are calling God a racist. Radicals always get carried away in the end as in this radio classic about Joseph McCarthy. Calling God a racist is risky. LOL

    • Thanks for the reference to the Hick lecture, CB. It fit well into my confirmation bias of the moment. At least there is still one philosopher left in the Academy that make sense.

  8. The leftist narrative and collective navel gazing (the one that has every Republican and Trump voter as being racist, homophobic, Islamophobic bigots) has now reached epic proportions. They can’t let loose of it, and they can’t imagine living without it. Some probably believe that if they keep hounding and haraunging, that will make us “see the light” and vote for people like Al Gore, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren in the future.

    I’ve got some very bad news for them.

  9. Modest IQs have been ascendant in institutions for higher learning for over 4decades. I watched my children, who are very bright, being discriminated against in high school, where, to hide excellence, they gave everybody awards and trophies, even for participation- they gave the strap for non participation in my school! I saw ‘rationing’ and broad distribution of awards. At a parent teacher day, I was told by her teacher that one of my daughters actually got the highest marks in economics, but she already had awards in a few other subjects!

    When I attended university (1950s), only 4-5% of the population attended and not all graduated by any means, and the were no T easy to get into. With “socialization” of education, they began to fund universities (in Canada) on the basis of enrollment figures. This is when courses and faculties I’d never heard of, many women’s issues, dispute mediation, Impact of Technology on society, and other social science derivatives, requiring minimum performance in highschool, sprang up out of nowhere. Universities had to offer remedial English, math (arithmetic/geometry) as a pre university course to I’ll suited students before studies could begin. The product had little use outside and these people were largely unemployable outside of jobs they could have had after high school.

    Steve McIntyre, after wading into the literature of climate science to see what made it tick, famously said:

    “It seems to me that most famous “amateurs” from the past were highly professional in their field. Nor do I find invocation of their stories very relevant since the sociology of the science enterprise has changed so much.

    In my opinion, most climate scientists on the Team would have been high school teachers in an earlier generation – if they were lucky. Many/most of them have degrees from minor universities. It’s much easier to picture people like Briffa or Jones as high school teachers than as Oxford dons of a generation ago. Or as minor officials in a municipal government.

    Allusions to famous past amateurs over-inflates the rather small accomplishments of present critics, including myself. A better perspective is the complete mediocrity of the Team makes their work vulnerable to examination by the merely competent.”

    – Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit Aug 1, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    These are the people we are supposed to communicate with.?

  10. Bat shit crazy to the 100th power. Oh, and probably quite insulting to black people in KC, St Lou, etc. considering they live in “flyover country” and are basically just ignored like everyone else not within 50 miles of the coast.

    • File this “Science” article with the idiotic feminist glacier studies. The circular file, that is.

  11. Interesting.

    It seems more like a silly stupid attempt to provoke a silly stupid loaded argument, by trying to tap in the supposed self righteousness and ego of the opponent.

    What is really interesting is that it really is so so stupid and with no any merit what so ever that it all should have being completely ignored with no any track or follow up……..but hey, strange times, where division and separation is really think and vivid.
    And that how it shows.

    In the other hand, it shows also the real dark point of view of such people.
    As it weights in a connection of total eclipse and darkness, it shows the real mental shape and mental ideological drive of such people.

    Indirectly all that gibberish point to some thing, “In darkness we all look the same”
    And it shows the ideological mental drive of such silly people, the proposition: “Equality in darkness”, the fake equality…….the very fake equality……offered.
    And it seems like these kind of people have being programed with a single line of ” priority code”:
    “Embrace the darkness for the sake of equality, unquestionably, or else.”

    Total indoctrination…….no wonder why such as people are so asinine towards the free speech, against the one of most basic human rights in a civilized society, for not saying the most basic and central right.

    Hopefully I am just being imagining things here or am being exaggerating, as this is really really stupid and sick if so….

    cheers

    • Unfortunately you are not imagining anything. I knew there were a lot of crazies and irrational people on the left in the US, but I never imagined that there were so many and that they were so stupid to try to make illogical connections and to be so blatant and irrational. There was a lot of this when they trashed Bush but not so much.
      Unfortunately Clinton set the Bar so low during the campaign with false claims like deplorable and other outrageous comments, and Since the MSM did not call these out the stream of lunacy increased when they lost badly.
      The good side is we know their tolerance for free speech and opinions from others are not accepted.
      Think how bad they would treat others if they won the election. This is the danger of a complicit media like we had under OBAMA.

      • It just proves that in some twisted minds the entire universe is racist, excepting those making the accusations of racism of course. The universe is composed of three parts: the racists, the ones shouting racism, and all the others living their lives as best they can by building lives of work, tolerance, and compassion and charity towards others.The “racist” ones and the accusing ones who are also “racist” rise and ebb depending how much money the DNC, Soros, and others pass out to keep the hate going.
        A racist eclipse, that’s the strangest thing in a long time.

  12. An ignorant comment is being defended by the complicit. Of course an eclipse is somehow racist, bigoted, and homophobic, because they said so. Just look what a great leader said about that rotten law of gravity!

    “The law of gravity is racist.” — M. Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

  13. The explanation is simple.

    Trump managed to arrange it all, because it wasn’t really the Moon that blocked the sun.
    He hired Unicron.

    I wonder how many would fall for that, had that been in the article.

  14. The Great Eclipse of 2017 and Trump voters.

    “It has been dubbed the Great American Eclipse, and along most of its path, there live almost no black people,” Ristroph wrote in a mind-numbing, 4,500-word post in The Atlantic.

    Boston Globe added this map, showing the path of totality goes almost exclusively through counties that voted for Trump.

    But nearly the whole country voted for Trump according to this map.

    The map shows the great divide of the country. Republicans are in the majority in rural areas, Democrats dominate the cities, especially the inner cities.

    People living in rural areas are different from people dwelling in inner cities in many ways, but I will mention only one thing, their attitude to Climate Change.

    Rural people see the sun rise, watch the clouds form, marvel at the tremendous stability of the weather in spite of storms, tornadoes, hail, snow, rain and floods. It is all coming from the sun, and has nothing to do with increasing CO2. Things were worse during the dust bowl years, max temperatures were higher, hurricanes worse, and so on.

    They will be vindicated when they experience the sudden drop intemperature during the eclipse. It is all from the sun.

    Not so the inner city dwellers. They experience global warming. The heat from the street and the stench from diesel engines are enough to make believers of them. In addition they rarely if ever experience a sunrise and a sunset, and the pollution and decaying buildings convince them global warming is real.

    For a city dweller all Climate Change is man made. By en large they do not know about the Ice Age and all the climate changes that has taken place since then, they believe this is unprecedented and disaster looms.

    To them everything they see is man-made and even we cannot fix the weather we can sure fix the earth’s climate since we made this mess in the first place.
    https://lenbilen.com/2017/08/21/the-great-eclipse-of-2017-and-trump-voters/

  15. Liberals: they attempt to use science to create silly associations with CO2. And they do the same with race.

    It really takes a special kind of loon to attempt the creation of an association between race and the solar eclipse. The writer must have an incredibly warped and narrow mind.

    • Well, there was an eclipse and at one time Oregon banned people of color from moving into the State… The the eclipse went over Leavenworth prison and then Charleston SC, where the Confederacy started… The line of reasoning is… well, not a line… and devoid of reasoning… 💩

  16. “In 1890, the census kept the terms black and mulatto but also added quadroon and octoroon. We needed such precision in the post-war era of Jim Crow, when even one drop of African blood rendered a person legally black. With whiteness, there was no compromise. Totality was everything.”
    Far right in Australia is being against constitutional recognition of the Aboriginal people and laws that preference those people for public service jobs and greater social security. This is because it benefits those who are mostly of European blood. Some “elders” look they could have immigrated from Ireland yesterday while some Aboriginal communities are dysfunctional beyond belief even though $50 000 pa per person is spent on these communities ( on top of existing public services). You’re racist for pointing out that a little black blood shouldn’t make you different to the rest of us.

    • In Australia, it is not only ‘far right’ people who are against constitutional recognition for Aboriginal people, it is the overwhelming majority of the population. Our Constitution is colour blind, it makes no mention of whites, blacks, Chinese, Europeans, Aborigines or anyone else. It does have a provision enabling Parliament to make laws regarding people of any race – this was unfortunately added in 1967 – a bad move! There are provisions in various laws that prefer Aborigines for public service jobs, and greater grants than are applicable to the no-aboriginal community. Those of “European blood” are discriminated against.

      And the overwhelming majority of the country is against instituting ‘apartheid’ here.

      Just to set the record straight.

  17. “The eclipse is racist”…obviously thousands of Black people should have been bussed in especially to join in the occasion and ensure diversity.

  18. The scientific consensus is the universe is mooning Donald Trump. It’s been peer[ing into the sun]-reviewed, so don’t deny it, you science-denying denier.

  19. This Alice Ristroph ranks right up there with people who wanted to reschedule the eclipse because they were going on vacation or [whatever] and wouldn’t have time to view it today.
    I got a nice shot of the moon and sun peeking through the clouds, about half-and-half, sort of a nice yin-yang/the Universe is One kind of image.

  20. Racism is the new big put down buzzword from the left. The irony is overwhelming. The new designer-brained Democrats are angrily, self righteously tearing down Civil War hero statues, that were erected by… wait for it… Democrats!!! And the ккк were created and peopled by Democrats for generations. This doesn’t get reported by dumbed down MSM lefty reporters. Post normal society can shift history to fit world view.

  21. I had a PROUD momma moment today, I just had to share. As some of my neighbors gathered in my front yard today ( they saw us sitting out with our nifty unsafe glasses) we were pointing out things to an awestruck group of teens…like that their shadows on the ground were no longer sharp and focused but had a strange “blur” around them. As they noticed the temperature start to drop long before the max eclipse ( we got 90% totality) one of them snarked :

    ” Hey! Isn’t all that CO2 in our atmosphere supposed to be “trapping” (he air quoted) the heat? Why is it getting cooler then?”

    My 14 year old daughter said “Maybe Antifa sucked them all out of the atmosphere because CO2 molecules only LIKE certain types of radiation. Racist particles!”

    My husband and I burst out laughing right along with everyone else gathered. There IS hope !!

  22. The US Census Bureau provided a number of cities along the route.
    https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2017/solar-eclipse.htm

    Based on the latest demographics from Wikipedia (usually 2010 census):

    Madras, OR 6,046 0.70%
    Idaho Falls, ID 56,813 0.70%
    Casper, WY 55,316 0.80%
    Lincoln, NE 258,379 3.80%
    Jefferson City, MO 43,079 16.90%
    Carbondale, IL 25,597 23.14%
    Paducah, KY 25,024 23.67%
    Nashville, TN 626,681 27.70%
    Clayton, Ga 2,047 1.40%
    Columbia, SC 129,272 42.20%

    Overall, the population of those cities is 21% African American. The US population of African Americans is 12%. Based on this seemingly unbiased sample provided by the US Census Bureau, African Americans were heavily over-represented as residents along the path of totality.

    • So… The Great American Eclipse was unfairly depriving African Americans of sunlight… /Snark

  23. Hmmm…well I guess if you’re a rich and famous actress then race isn’t an issue. I have video footage I captured this morning of Halle Berry’s two chartered helicopters carrying herself and her entourage land atop the mountain just 200 yards from me. Racism, bah!

  24. Everything is racist because the purveyors of this drivel have no understanding of the term “confirmation bias”.

  25. Excuse me…. But did she just accuse the Eclipse as being Racist?

    …. or did the fact that America is mostly a “White” anglicized nation just dawn upon the good Professor?…. I wonder if she knows that English is America’s official language too?

    It seems she doesn’t know a hell of a lot about America at all….. or eclipses for that matter.

  26. It seems there are a lot of people here who have not recognized that Alice Ristroph was being tongue in cheek. If she had added /sarc/ at the end they may have understood her.

    Please, Alice, do not write any Fool’s Day stories – too many people will believe you!

    • Under normal circumstances, this sentence wouldn’t require a /Sarc tag:

      Presumably, this is not explained by the implicit bias of the solar system.

      However, the circumstances are not normal. Donald Trump is in the White House and academic pinheads are in the grips of apoplectic seizures.

    • Why would the Atlantic have published a 4,500 word piece of sarcasm that was impossible to recognize as such, and could have been condensed to a couple hundred words?

    • So the Atlantic was fooled into publishing an article mocking the idea of racism against blacks on the heels of Charlottesville and any number of controversial white supremacy events?

  27. According to Vox, whenever a liberal does something stupid, it’s the fault of conservatives for noticing.

  28. I addressed it: earthground.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/yes-virginia-there-is-one-race/

    “A person rammed a car into other persons. Anyone who was protesting in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia during this fascist/anti-fascist showdown could have died for next to nothing in my opinion. Beyond staring into a solar eclipse, street protests are the leading cause of media-driven blindness?”

  29. Tell Tara Golshan that if Ristroph wanted to write “a hard-to-parse point about race in America” then she should write about the average reading proficiency of the high school graduates from Public School Systems in our urban centers.
    With and average graduate reading at 8th grade levels with 4th grade math skills one could surmise that the real racists are the collectivists who are breeding welfare dependent voters. Voters who are “dumbed down” sufficiently to be convince that a solar eclipse was a racist action.

  30. I think her point is that black people prefer to live in close proximity and white people are happy they do, making white people racist.

  31. Too many professors with degrees and PhD’s of dubious worth, chasing too little genuine science to study.

    Surely this stuff is now deliberately published to (1) invoke a reaction and (2) confirm the readers’ biases, for the purposes of generating advertising revenues. Laugh at these kinds of publications, tell them we know why they do this and complain to the companies who advertise with them.

  32. Besides which, the loon is totally wrong.

    Here are the shares of population which is black in states visited in the second half of the path of the shadow of totality:

    MO: 13% (~national average)
    KY: 9%
    TN: 18%
    NC: 23%
    GA: 33%
    SC: 29%

    The prior five states, ie OR, ID, WY, NE and KS however do indeed have below average black population percentages. KS is 8%, but most black Kansans live in or near the totality zone there, ie KC.

    The average of the 11 states is about the national average, but weighting the higher population states, and in which cities, would find that a disproportionate number of black Americans was in the path of totality. Ferguson, MO lies just outside it.

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