A Cultural Imperative
During the race for Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office, a comment was made by one of Lohra Miller’s deputy attorney’s stating “No, white soccer mom south of 21st South would vote for someone with brown skin and the name Simarjit.” The article that covered this Issue was posted in the Deseret News, and three Deputies in Miller’s office were given warnings for speaking so glibly. This statement was claimed to have been stated in criticism of the “very conservative voters in the South Valley”. Unfortunately, such a comment was still extremely offensive despite it’s context, and in response Sim Gill told the Tribune, “That they feel comfortable that the culture in the office is such that a racist comment can be made — I find that deeply troubling,".
A follow up article in the Deseret News titled “Sim Gill ousts Miller in Salt Lake County district attorney race” stated that Miller’s office went under investigation by the county’s human resources for accusations of electioneering and racism just a week before the election. Such negative allegations towards Miller might have cost her the election, but the racist statement itself could have been used to manipulate the voters or establish a generalization that wasn’t there.
This entire debacle is much like the portion in unSpun that speaks about the dangers of ignorance. There is perhaps racially stimulated voting in the Southern regions of Utah. However, it may also be an instance of a majority taking over predominantly assumed stereotypes. An “ultra conservative” agenda is implied in “No one south of 21st south will vote for someone with brown skin...” and this statement can be bolstered by the majority’s votes for Republican nominee Lohra Miller, or rejected with a victory by Sim Gill. Many teenagers asked about sexual activity in unSpun, stated they were thinking of becoming sexually active simply because they felt it was typical of children their age. I’m willing to bet there are many conservative voters who were uncomfortable if not entirely opposed to the remark made about race, so much so that it may have impacted their voting. I ponder what percentage of the population are voting their conscience as opposed to those who are feeling pressure by a moral or cultural imperative. Although, how can one ask someone to go against the grain? Or claim that they’re subject to racially motivated voting? Whether media “spin” is worse than the moral majority “spin” the option to “unravel” evidence and claims ultimately resides with the voter.