I've recently put together this presentation for my students. Many of them seemed to have found it worthwhile. It's based on maps I've collected over the past few years while reading newspaper articles and it grew out of Facebook conversation with some other professors in the field, especially Sharon Ann Murphy and Jessica Lepler, who reposted one of the maps here from Louis Hyman. By arranging some of the maps together on one slide, I was able to point out discernible patterns demonstrating the influence of race, ethnicity, and immigration on voting behavior. President Trump* (asterisk intended) has made race explicit in his pronouncements and policy prescriptions. If we know that Trump got some of his most enthusiastic support from certain regions in the country (i.e. the "Rust Belt" in the Upper Midwest) and we also know what types of demographic groups live in those regions (i.e. whites who have not completed college, principally of German, Polish, Swedish, Scots-Irish, and Anglo-Saxon ancestry), then we can conclude, with a fair degree of certainty, what these voters think about race relations. One of the most interesting insights is that many of these same demographic groups in the Upper Midwest, as indicated on one of the maps, were once immigrants over 100 years ago, and yet, based on their voting patterns, they seem to exhibit hostility toward new immigrants. This begs the question: have they forgotten their history? Are they not aware that their ancestors once had opportunity--the same opportunity that they are so eager to deny to new immigrants? Race and politics are touchy subjects so instructors should always be prepared to tread lightly. I recommend that this exercise not be linked to any sort of formal assignment or test. Sometimes the most enlightening lessons can come from classroom exercises of this nature; ones that do not put the pressure on students to perform for grades. Having that said, many students, and Americans more generally, could use basic primers on geography. At the very least, these maps are helpful in letting viewers know the different types of cultures that prevail in the United States, and with the right instruction, the historical reasons why certain groups settled in particular areas.
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Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. I neither speak for my employers, nor do I require my students to agree with the thoughts expressed here. Opinions are my own.