I'm interested in this piece by Michael Tomasky in today's Guardian, which looks into the incredible amount of opposition which Barack Obama faces in the US, and examines whether - or more accurately to what extent - the hostility he faces is rooted in racial prejudice.
It's a good article not only because Tomasky is even-handed and cautious about making accusations of racism (unlike, say, Glenn Beck and Rupert Murdoch) but also, mainly, because he is perceptive about the nature of crowds. He acknowledges that, person to person, many of Obama's most steadfast critics may not be racist. But having described the opposition he faces, Tomasky notes:
"This is the Obama-hating crowd. It's deeply conservative, and it's about 98% white. And the thing about crowds is that they develop a personality of their own that is not merely the sum of individual parts. A crowd is an organism that grows in its own way and tends to be led and excited by its extremes. It can mutate into being racist without many or even most of the individuals in it being so."Good article - you can read the rest here.