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Impossibly High Expectations on Race Relations?


Can President-elect Obama heal the racial divide? Photo by Charles Dharapak -- Associated Press Photo

Much has been made -- and rightly so -- of the historic nature of Barack Obama's election as the first African-American to hold the highest office in the country.

Still, new polling out of CNN/Opinion Research Corporation suggests not only lingering divisions between whites and blacks but the almost-certainly-too-high expectation that Obama's election will fundamentally change race relations in the country.

First, the divide.

Asked "how serious a problem do you think racial discrimination against blacks is in this country," just eight percent of whites called it a "very" serious problem while 38 percent of blacks said the same. All told, 86 percent of African Americans said racial discrimination remained a "serious" problem compared to 49 percent of whites who said it was a serious problem.

It's worth mentioning that those numbers -- even among blacks -- have dipped considerably over the past decade; an August 2000 CNN poll showed six in ten blacks calling racial discrimination a "very serious" problem.

Blacks were also far less optimistic than whites about the chances of seeing an African-American elected president in their lifetime. Less than three in ten (29 percent) said they expected to see an African American in the White House before they died while nearly six in ten (59 percent) whites said the same.

Although African Americans were more pessimistic about the chances of a black candidate winning the presidency, they were far more likely to acknowledge that Obama's election was a dream come true. Eighty percent of blacks agreed with that sentiment in the CNN/ORC poll while just 28 percent of whites said the same.

With that dream soon to be realized, the CNN/ORC poll reveals that people -- regardless of the color of their skin -- see Obama, and his election to the highest office in the country, as a watershed moment in race relations.

Seventy-seven percent of all those tested said Obama's election would signal either a "new era in race relations" (34 percent) or "some improvement" (43 percent) in interactions between the races. Just 23 percent of the sample said there would be "no real improvement" (14 percent) or that things would worsen (nine percent).

More than half of all African Americans said Obama's election would usher in a "new era" when it comes to interaction between the races while a far slimmer number of whites (31 percent) said the same.

Those poll numbers generally jibe with the data from the national exit poll in which 47 percent of voters said race would relations would get better over the next few years while 34 percent said they would stay the same and 15 percent said they would get worse.

Can Obama possibly meet these ridiculously high expectations? Can he be not only the president of the United States but also the racial healer that many in the country clearly believe him to be?

It's a tough task for one man. Remember that during the course of the campaign -- primary and general election -- Obama didn't define himself (as Jesse Jackson Jr. had) as a black man running for president. Rather, he was a candidate for president who happened to be black.

While Obama then may not have courted the expectation that he can (and will) bring a level of racial comity to the country, it's clear from the CNN/ORC poll that those expectations exist nonetheless.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 12, 2008; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Chris Matthews for Senate?
Next: Wag the Blog Redux: What Should Obama's First Priority Be?

Comments

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Posted by: veronica5 | November 13, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Want to get beyond race well the first thing Obama should do is END Affirmative Action. How can anyone argue that Black poeple can't get ahead without Affirmative action when a Black man was just elected President without Affirmative action? It's time to finally treat ALL Americans equally when it comes their race.. White people as well as Black people

Posted by: sovine08 | November 13, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Cultural and racial attitudes change slowly. There will always be people, white or black, who will never give up their prejudices. As an excuse for failure, race prejudice is too convenient. To the nay-sayers here: many white people voted for Barack Obama, and it wasn't "white guilt" that made them do it. That in itself is a hopeful sign, and an expectation that was met. Not high enough for some? It's far better than no expectations at all.

Posted by: rmpatera | November 13, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

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Producing the hospital records for his birth should be Obama's first priority - If he can not do that, he should gracefully yield to Biden Thanking the nation for "One Night In Grant Park." Then he should go back to Kenya and run a trailer park.


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Posted by: 37thOSt | November 12, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

[greg3 8:59 PM is correct re. the crime rates in the USA and that blacks commit by far more crimes against whites as the other way around. And it's worse. The FBI statistics are skewered against whites in the way they're counted. As journalist Charley Reese once wrote about in one of his columns, all crimes committed by Hispanics in the USA, are counted as 'white' crimes. When Hispanics are the victims of crimes however, they're counted as 'black' crimes. ]

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Arm, you Racists have to stop that. Again the Dept. of Corrections lists violent crimes and has since the beggining of time.Blacks commit 98% of all their violent crimes against other Blacks.

See, we knew your opposition to Barack Obama was Racial, we knew you were Racists, all that BS about him being too liberal and a Socialist and his associations and it was all a bunch of nonsense.

And not ONE of these other White Supremacists said one word to these Racists.

Shame on em'.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

greg3 8:59 PM is correct re. the crime rates in the USA and that blacks commit by far more crimes against whites as the other way around. And it's worse. The FBI statistics are skewered against whites in the way they're counted. As journalist Charley Reese once wrote about in one of his columns, all crimes committed by Hispanics in the USA, are counted as 'white' crimes. When Hispanics are the victims of crimes however, they're counted as 'black' crimes.

Posted by: armpeg | November 12, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

[Who owes and who is owed? Whites are just not responsible for the dysfunction in the black community. Blacks are only 13 percent of the population yet they commit more than half the muggings and murders in the country. Every year there are about 15,000 black-on-white rapes but fewer than 900 white-on-black rapes. There are more than 3,000 gang rapes of whites by blacks—but white-on-black gang rapes are so rare they do not even show up in DOJ or FBI statistics.

Posted by: greg3 | November 12, 2008 8:59 PM |]

======================================================================================

Greg your Racist rant is lame but I think its important to address it. I agree that Whites are NOT responsible for Black Self-hatred and Blacks who hate themselves and worship White people as God.

Blacks due to Self-hatred do commit far more violent crime against Blacks(98%) then do Whites against Whites. Its a LIE that Blacks dissproportionately rape White women when there are 300,000(2000 US Census) Black men MARRIED to White women.

Black men are far more apt to rape a Black women seening that 90% of Black women aren't married to or dating Black men and 90% of Black women HATE Black men and 70% of Black women are gay.

To claim that Barack Obama is raping White women is absurd and you need to quit.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

greg3 wrote, "Who owes and who is owed? Whites are just not responsible for the dysfunction in the black community. Blacks are only 13 percent of the population yet they commit more than half the muggings and murders in the country. Every year there are about 15,000 black-on-white rapes but fewer than 900 white-on-black rapes. There are more than 3,000 gang rapes of whites by blacks—but white-on-black gang rapes are so rare they do not even show up in DOJ or FBI statistics."

Challenging question, Greg, which to my mind needs to be answered on several levels.

One: personal moral responsibility. Anyone born in the USA now living ought to be held strictly accountable for any crime they commit.

Two: culture. To what extent does a culture, such as the culture which prevails among poor urban blacks in the USA, contribute to a higher rate of crime? Bill Cosby and Pat Moynihan, among others, have addressed this question, and I'll bet the person who posts here as "Realbrother" has some things to say on this topic worth listening to. The answer to this question would not, I don't think, please Jesse Jackson.

Three: history. To what extent has a population's history sowed the seeds of a toxic culture within that population? The answer to this question would not, I don't think, please Sarah Palin.

Posted by: officermancuso | November 12, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

click here donkeys to see the true colors of the election

http://images.newsmax.com/misc/2008_Election_Map.jpg

Posted by: EliPeyton | November 12, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

TKCAL - President-elect Obama is neith white, nor black.. he's both (the correct term, according to the new Oxford dictionary, is "Mulatto"). Having a bi-racial President will go for for improving our race relations.

JG

Posted by: jgbonline | November 12, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

An ode to high expectations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6V7hd1Br2M

Posted by: officermancuso | November 12, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

Officermancuso, I don't know about Vernon Jordan or Shirley Chisom, but Julian Bond is no were near Barack Obama status and the reason is clear, he was a Sellout who felt that Blacks were inferior and couldn't acheieve.

Julian Bond is married to a White woman,he didn't think enough about his Race to marry within' it.

By not embracing his Race he was limiting his ablity to advance as a Black man.

Obama showed the way and the next wave of Black leaders will follow.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Who owes and who is owed? Whites are just not responsible for the dysfunction in the black community. Blacks are only 13 percent of the population yet they commit more than half the muggings and murders in the country. Every year there are about 15,000 black-on-white rapes but fewer than 900 white-on-black rapes. There are more than 3,000 gang rapes of whites by blacks—but white-on-black gang rapes are so rare they do not even show up in DOJ or FBI statistics.

Posted by: greg3 | November 12, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

[Obama improving race relations? What a joke. Should Obama appoint his pastor and "main man" Rev. Wright to head a committee to improve race relations? His 20 year relationship with that biggot is about all we know on Obama's commitment to improve race relations. Say it with me now.."GOD DAMN AMERICA!"

Posted by: Digitalman08 | November 12, 2008 8:34 PM |]

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Wrong again Digital.

What you are suggesting is that if Barack Obama shows loyalty to his Black Race and Culture and family that this is harmful to Race relations? Please. If that's what we have to do to heal relations with you Racists and White Supremacists then I'm cool.

You can't name ONE THING that Rev. Wright said or did that was Racist towards you Racists.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here

[If he repeals Affirmative Action he could do a great deal for race relations in this country. We should not have laws in this country that discriminate based on race.

Posted by: HockeyMike351]
=====================================================================================

I disagree HockeyMike and you're being disingenuous. You have convinced yourself that you can't compete with the likes of Barack Obama because of Affirmative Action when Obama didn't get into any school based on that and you know it.

Hell, you can't compete with me on this site and Affirmative Action has nothing to do with it.

To suggest that Race relations will be better if Blacks are relegated back to 2nd class citizens is silly, stop it.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama improving race relations? What a joke. Should Obama appoint his pastor and "main man" Rev. Wright to head a committee to improve race relations? His 20 year relationship with that biggot is about all we know on Obama's commitment to improve race relations. Say it with me now.."GOD DAMN AMERICA!"

Posted by: Digitalman08 | November 12, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I was born in 1954, began becoming politically aware around 1968. I have seen change.

Leaving aside a man I consider one of the greatest orators in the history of Western Civilization - Martin Luther King Jr. - I have seen at least two black men every bit as articulate and politically savvy as Obama who, because their prime was so many years ago, never stood a chance to sit in the oval office. I mean Julian Bond and Vernon Jordan.

A black woman, Shirley Chisolm could have run circles around Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton - though Ms. Chisolm was more of a firebrand than Mr. Bond or Mr. Jordan.

Change has happened, is happening, and God willing will continue to happen, for the most part, for the good.

Expectations of a president-elect are, I think, always overblown. No man or woman is going to change human nature or the human condition, which are ultimately the roots of our suffering and our finest moments.

But can one man change the course of history?

To quote my least favorite politician, "You betcha!"

And this one just might.

Posted by: officermancuso | November 12, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"Poll suggests impossible expectation that election will fundamentally change race relations."

. . . . And who but a racist would even think of conducting such a poll? . . . .

Posted by: wardropper | November 12, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

If he repeals Affirmative Action he could do a great deal for race relations in this country. We should not have laws in this country that discriminate based on race.

Posted by: HockeyMike351 | November 12, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

As DDAWD indicated, racism will be over when we can elect a "nepotized" idiot like W, who happens to be black --- and not yet another black person over-qualified for the job.

I also agree with the wag who said racism will be over when blacks moving into white neighborhoods see home values rise.

Posted by: alsacecypr | November 12, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

[Anyone who thinks an election can heal racial divisions as a whole is ignorant about the depth of the racial divide.
However, I do think Obama's presence may change a few minds even if microscopically.

Posted by: ETSRAM |]

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Again, the notion is centered on how Whites feel about Blacks and how Blacks worship Whites and its silly. This is NOT about Whites this is about Blacks, Obmama is Black(his mother was White but not him).

If Whites will look upon and treat Blacks more favorably because Blacks no longer hate themseleves, their Race and think we are inferior to Whites then good, if Whites will resent Blacks being empowered and no longer worshipping them as God then oh well(as my girlfriend likes to say).

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Everybody is equal now and everyone should be treated the same. It's not fair to hold the past against the people of today. Today's people voted for a multiracial POTUS. All should be treated the same from here on out. Pass the chittlins and greens please.

Posted by: charlietuna6661 | November 12, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks an election can heal racial divisions as a whole is ignorant about the depth of the racial divide.
---------

BULL. Obama is the Commander in Chief of the United States Army, the controller of nuclear weapons, submarines, aircraft carriers and bombers. If that means nothing to you then you are the one who is ignorant.

Posted by: bbcrock | November 12, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

To say that someone born in 1961 is a boomer ONLY follows out-of-date theories regarding the baby boom.

In marketing and business, Generation X is thought to start in 1961. Sure, in the 1970s people used to call people born until 1964 part of the boom, but as they grew to vote and consumer in the 1980s, that idea was thrown away.

Most sociologists say that Baby Boomers come from 1940-1960 and Generation X from 1961-1980.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_X

Posted by: bbcrock | November 12, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

Officermancuso, I'm sorry, but my reasons for voting FOR Prop 8 are my reasons. If there were a way to allow White and other Races and Black gay men to marry and NOT Black man hating lesbians then fine I would have supported that, but that wasn't the way the proposition was worded.

Again, the Race and Country and Planet are simply more important then allowing gay people to marry.

Sorry.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

As a boomer myself, I think scientist1's post bears repeating (in addition to DDAWD's deliciously insightful "black George W. Bush" note):

"

Things could change quickly because there is so much reform which has been bottled up by the reactionary politics of the last 40 years. People say Obama is the first post-boomer president but this is false. He was born in 1961, making him a late boomer. But even more important, the reformist urge which came to the US with the advent of the boomers to political awareness in the 1960s was mired in reaction through Clinton's term--and Bush was a throwback to the fifties consciousness.

"My conclusion: Obama is the first President of the Boomer Age, because only now is boomer political power dominant over the forces of reaction."

Posted by: officermancuso | November 12, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks an election can heal racial divisions as a whole is ignorant about the depth of the racial divide.

However, I do think Obama's presence may change a few minds even if microscopically.

Posted by: ETSRAM | November 12, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

Well said Tomcat. Barack Obama has proven these Idiots wrong at each and every turn.

I mean even a broken clock is right twice a day.

One of the reasons Barack Obama has been so successful and will be as president is he doesn't buy into the "we can't" philsophophy of the LOSERS.

If you can concieve it, you can achieve it.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

"We elected a black JFK.
When we elect a black George W. Bush. THEN racism will be over."
Posted by: DDAWD | November 12, 2008 2:35 PM

Probably the only comment on this topic, including that in the original article, which bears repeating.

Posted by: alsacecypr | November 12, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Realbrother0003 wrote, "70% of Black women are gay and their singular goal is to destroy the Black Race one Black man at a time."

That explains everything, doesn't it?

Posted by: officermancuso | November 12, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

And as a Realbrother, I'll be honest with you White Supremacists. I don't look at Obama's presidency to affect the way White Racists and Supremacists view Black people or how Blacks get along with Whites.

Hell, many Whites will resent Blacks more, will dig in their heels more as the result of having a Black President.

No, more important to me is how Blacks think of OURSELVES. The problem is NOT what Whites think of us or how we get along with Massa'. The problem is Black Self-hatred and this belief held by 90% of Blacks in the US(99.9% of Blacks in Canada, the UK and Nazi Germany) that Blacks are inferior to Whites.

How we as Blacks feel about ourselves is simply far more pertinent then how Whites feel about us, sorry.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

I voted FOR Prop 8 because as a Realbrother I know that 70% of Black women are gay and their singular goal is to destroy the Black Race one Black man at a time.

So while I gladly voted for Barack Obama(a Black man), I couldn't vote for Black man hating Black lesbians marrying each other and further displacing BLACK MEN!!!

Sorry.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Another perfectly valid reason why no blacks in their right mind would have have voted for McCain or any other Republican was the undeniably racist "southern strategy" which the Republican party used so effectively from Nixon through Bush.

So to say that blacks are racist to vote for Obama has it exactly backwards

Posted by: jmp66 | November 12, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Impossible? WHAT is impossible?
Perfection may be impossible, but is that a REASON not to try?
It may be impossible for me to play my guitar like Jimi Hendrix, but is that a REASON not to practice every day?
If we say "Yes, we can", how much farther do we get down the road that if we said, "No, what's the point of trying?"...
You will never achieve ANYTHING until you throw aside your doubts, roll up your sleeves and get to it.
Someone will be a GREAT U.S. president. Why not Barack Obama? Why shouldn't he strive to be the BEST U.S president? You may want to make EXCUSES, but give me REASONS. Excuses are escapes. Reasons are roadblocks that CAN BE OVERCOME.
Impossible?
Hah.

Posted by: Tomcat3 | November 12, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Some body questioned about Chris's chosen timing of his post about this emotive issue. A agree, because, this is not a right time to bring this agenda of Race relation, and post election "bruising effect of great divide".
We have more serious issues in our hands which need very urgent attention, But Chris put a spanner of Distraction.
Of Course, This mandate, has brought an irreparable damage to the society. Mistrust and and racial hostility may increase and that can hurt Nation,s social structures and Economic conditions. To heal this divide, we need patience, rightful communication, Social contact and dialogues; that should come from the heads of various sections of the society. Rhetoric and politicization of these issues will make things worse.
Liberals, and secularists may gloat on their recent gain, but at the end they will be losers.

Posted by: dsar | November 12, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

MoCoPride wrote,in part,"Hope those who voted for him are happy because now that a black man has reached this pinnacle, all Affirmative Action laws should be repealed."

Is that supposed to be a serious argument? I wouldn't want a doctor who said, "We know of one case of a person who recovered from an attack of the flesh-eating bacteria without benefit of antibiotics, so we should now stop treating such infections."

I carry no brief for affirmative action (nor any animus against it), but that's just a bad argument, MoCo.

Posted by: officermancuso | November 12, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

So here is Mr. Obama as the first black President taking office soon in the most powerful nation in the world. Many people didn't think this would happen so soon and so decisvely. Hope those who voted for him are happy because now that a black man has reached this pinnacle, all Affirmative Action laws should be repealed.

Posted by: MoCoPride | November 12, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

"the almost-certainly-too-high expectation that Obama's election will fundamentally change race relations in the country."

This perspective seems to overlook the fact that it already HAS fundamentally changed race relations. White people who actually cared about what their ancestors did to blacks feel a little less guilt. Blacks who have felt that their race is a barrier to accomplishment now believe, perhaps for the first time in their lives, that this is no longer true.

It's already easier to look each other in the eye as equals. It took blacks and whites, Latinos, Native Americans, new voters and even some disgruntled conservatives to put Obama in office. We all needed each other to oust the Republicans.

Things changed on election night. If you're still calling it an "impossibly high expectation," you probably don't want to see it.

Posted by: wizard2 | November 12, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I said it before...

Obama's election will change people's perception, but otherwise he will disappoint both people who think he's the greatest and those think he's the worst.

And that's primarily because the president doesn't have the kind of power. But people like to play pretend. And a segment wants to believe he will make things right for black folks. Another segment thinks he will restore some type of international prestige by looking for some weird idea of international consensus (an oxymoron).

Everybody else thinks he can fix all that's wrong economically. Others think he will make everything right in this world (I was laughing at some woman in her blog saying that "she prayed every night that this man, Obama is elected to make everything right with this country".

Just amazing how delusional people are. They really don't get it.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | November 12, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Religion is still very important in USA and many other countries. There is a reason the US motto is in God we trust and the president is sworn by using a Bible.
Most African Americans are members of religious communities even if it is more by rethoric rather than practice but this is a common desease all over the world.
Those religious communities interpret most of time the Bible in a way that doesn't favor lesbians or gays. The preachers have played a key role to end slavery and still have an impact to their descendants.
Gayism and lesbianism concern everybody not just African Americans. If whites who are more than 80 per cent of the US population support it its legislation will pass. I am not religious but do not support gay marriage. I see it as an anomaly that we are trying to normalize. I do not think that is how the nature has programmed us for normal way of human life.
African Americans have right to support or not to support gay marriage as whites do. Gays have nothing to do with being treated as private property owned by somebody who can lynch them or do whatever please him to them.
If all nations do a referendum about slavery or gay marriage the results will be similar. Do not use African Americans and antislavery movements as if they owe gays a civil rights debt.
There were slave owners and slaves supporting or not supporting gays. Why do you want African Americans to be unanimously supportive of gays when even their ancesors were not?

Posted by: mshalt | November 12, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

A Self-hating wish he were White Sellout Brother wrote an opinion piece in the Wapo that I couldn't comment on for some reason where he claimed that Obama's victory will have no effect on the Black community.

This is flawed thinking that is based on the false notion that Blacks and Whites are exactly the same and that the problems of Blacks stem from an inherent inferiority or some curse from Ham or some genetic Superiority of White people and its just plain stupid.

The problem as to why 90% of Blacks in the US hate themselves, their Race and Culture and worship and want to be White is the result of Blacks "internalizing" the 450 years of Racism, Slavery, Oppresion and Discrimination from Whites to the point to where Blacks grew to HATE being Black.

One of the justifications for Blacks HATING their Race and Culture and wishing to be White was the FACT that no Black had ascended to President of the United States.

What Idiots don't get is that even the most ardent White Racist feels justified in his Racism based in past Slavery and Oppression of Blacks. As Blacks like Barack Obama(Michelle, Rev. Wright, Tiger Woods, Colin Powell) begin to achieve BASED on their embrace of their Black Race and Culture as opposed to achieving by running from and rejecting it, the MYTH of White Supremacy/Black Inferiority begins to fade.

As the MYTH fades so does the Black Self-hatred that results in Black low achievement,(OOW births, poverty etc.).

So hell yes Obama's victory CHANGES Race relations because Blacks and Whites have LOST the justification for the Racism and Black Self-hatred which before Nov. 4, many felt was justifyable.

TKCAL

Posted by: Realbrother0003 | November 12, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Things could change quickly because there is so much reform which has been bottled up by the reactionary politics of the last 40 years. People say Obama is the first post-boomer president but this is false. He was born in 1961, making him a late boomer. But even more important, the reformist urge which came to the US with the advent of the boomers to political awareness in the 1960s was mired in reaction through Clinton's term--and Bush was a throwback to the fifties consciousness.

My conclusion: Obama is the first President of the Boomer Age, because only now is boomer political power dominant over the forces of reaction.

Posted by: scientist1 | November 12, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

FDR was demonized for wanting to distribute opportunities to (shock, horror) Irish and Catholics... JFK was scrutinized because he was a Catholic... Obama is half black.

In time, this too (the stain of racism) shall pass.

Posted by: jrob822 | November 12, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Racism is based on ignorance as we well know. This is like President-elect Obama moving into households across the nation, erasing that ignorance. What could be more effective?

Posted by: JeromeCallaghan | November 12, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Race as well as other prejudices will continue to be a serious problem until no one asks a question like this. President-elect Obama can help by showing that he and his family are no different than any other family, white, asian, hispanic, catholic, jewish, muslim, hindu, american indian, american born, european born, african born, heterosexual or homosexual.

It falls to all of us to see the world as inclusive not exclusive

Posted by: pbarnett52 | November 12, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the goals are too high to accomplish, however, these are exactly the goals that his campaign pushed. (he can unite us all). We are now watching one of the many issues that are going to have expectations reset in the permanent campaign.

Posted by: ohmd | November 12, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

What I would like someone to explain to me is how 70% of African American voters responded Yes to Prop 8 in California. Isn't it clear to our brothers and sisters that if civil rights were up to the voters, most whites would still own slaves? I can only imagine what those preachers were teaching from their pulpits when religion should have no place in the making of our laws. Shame.

Posted by: FactChecker1 | November 12, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Those 91 percent of white Americans who don't think that race is still a serious issue should simply read the comments by armpeg (whose comments explain why McCain received 46 percent of the popular vote). The Neanderthal element is alive and kicking. As for the fact that the vast majority of blacks voted for Obama, consider the hundreds of millions of votes cast by blacks over the years for whites --- simply because there were no other choices.

Posted by: tradeczar | November 12, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"The one thing this election has proven is that blacks are the most racist people in America today. Consiter: While whites split their votes roughly 50%-50% between a black candidate and a white candidate, blacks voted for their tribal member with the same skin color by 95% to 5%."

That's just an idiotic statement. African-Americans did not just simply vote for Obama because of his race. Ever since the 60's, voting African Americans have voted democrat in the 90%s every presidential election.

Posted by: mporter13 | November 12, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Only our society defines Obama as "black." The reality is that he's also white. Everyone needs to stop looking at him in such sociocentric terms... and black and whites need to come to terms with their own racial biases.

Posted by: mirwin1 | November 12, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"It is time of changes. Why don't we begin to call African Americans as just -Americans"

Blacks is fine for me. Someone like Obama would be appropriately be an African American since his father came from Africa. With someone who's ancestry goes back to the slave days in the 1600s, I feel, has lost ties with Africa. Besides, all black people don't come from Africa.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 12, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama is not only going to heal the races, he's going to heal the entire world!

Please do not sell "His Highness the Obama" short again.

Posted by: Phil6 | November 12, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"The one thing this election has proven is that blacks are the most racist people in America today. Consiter: While whites split their votes roughly 50%-50% between a black candidate and a white candidate, blacks voted for their tribal member with the same skin color by 95% to 5%."

No, its just that blacks are FAR more politically savvy than whites. It's not even close. I think Bush's approval rating among blacks is like 3%. For the country as a whole, its ten times as high. Black people understand the issues a lot more than white people do. That's why they voted for Clinton, that's why they voted for Gore, that's why they voted for Kerry, that's why they voted for Obama. It doesn't take a genius to know Bush is a shiity president, but somehow 35% of white people can't seem to pull this off.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 12, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

It is time of changes. Why don't we begin to call African Americans as just -Americans, and white Americans as pigment defficient Americans? It could help with racism...and afterall, we all come from Africa at one point...as Lucy's descendants...

Posted by: Sapiando | November 12, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

CC -- Please get off the race issue. This kind of writing tends to inflame the racial divisions that already exist, as can be noted in some of the comments from some of your readers. Let's emphasize some of Obama's other qualities. I voted for Obama, for example, not because he is biracial but because he is inelligent. Maybe someone ought to conduct a poll asking about that intelligence as a virtue among leaders, one that has been absent in so many of our leaders in the past eight years!

Posted by: marmac5 | November 12, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

where are the unreasonably high expectations in those polls? people simply said relations should get better.

What will be interesting is if Obama lasts 8 years in office, and Gary Indiana, SE DC, and Comptom are still the armpits of the country after his tenure. What will be said? What will be the excuses then?

Posted by: mockymock | November 12, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

obama won't fix anything nor will make things better...
because like it or not...
for one group to succeed, another group must suffer...
since tax codes, bankruptcy codes or penal codes and laws are not color coded...
we all will suffer...
if obama hurts one group, lets say whites, while blacks prosper...obama will be a one term president...
anyway...pelosi and reid will never vote against their own interests...
obama will however make latinos legal and voters and blacks won't like that...

Posted by: DwightCollins | November 12, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

It would be interesting to know whether the racial animosity (that is still expressed) is more prevalent among Republicans or is evenly divided. I would guess that Republicans ara a majority of the bigots and the dubious!

Posted by: dandb3 | November 12, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

First, I think the racial jokes being passed around in emails are pathetic. I refuse to laugh at them. In the past, I have had my own special way of tutoring in a process of getting over racial sensitivities on both sides of the fence. African-Americans are now more adapt at reducing sensitivity to racism.

In recent days, I have suggested that people cannot be given a desire to change. It's on them if they want to continue social behaviors which divide our nation. There is now a combination of "sore loser" and "racism" which will die down as contempt prior to investigation is replaced with professionalism.

As things progress, I think President-Elect Obama will have to earn respect in many quarters. In my personal life I have indicated to certain "authorities" demanding respect by title that respect is something that must be earned with me through actions.

Posted by: truthhurts | November 12, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama will heal and mend racial tensions. I have already seen it and appreciate the new found patriotism of African Americans and all Americans of color.

However he has poured salt into the wounds of working women and working mothers. These American daughters will carry the burden of the prejudices he promoted and reinforced for the next 10 years.

Posted by: mgd1 | November 12, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

An Obama presidency is the least likely event to heal racial tensions in America. He made certain that no one would forget he was the "black candidate," using his skin color as an excuse to cry "racism" any time one of his opponents lobbed a valid criticism at him.

If Obama isn't above using his own skin color to escape accountability, how could anyone expect him or his election to "heal" anything?

I agree with those people who say it's only going to get worse. All of the racial ugliness originating in the Obama camp throughout the primaries and the general election has prepared us for that.

Posted by: nlynnc | November 12, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"impossible expectations"?

you mean obama won't deliver on what he promised?

we tried to tell you..
in 3 years the AA community will be saying he's not African American, he doesn't know our background

and the MOve on Types will say .. he's not a liberal progressive, he's doesn't know us.

and the middle of the roaders will say, he's not a moderate, he doesn't know us.

..

Posted by: newagent99 | November 12, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

To ddnfla:
(who posted)
"I have personally been subjected to several instances when out in public where 2 or more African Americans, upon seeing me approach, will loudly and very pointedly hoop and holler about Obama's victory."

This little white grandma would be fine with meeting those guys -- cause I'd grin & give them a thumbs up & say "You bet --'cause I voted for him too.. YES we can.."

Of course the world hasn't changed in a day, but some of us enjoy tasting even a small moment: YMMV

Posted by: icyone | November 12, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

When will you people realize its the racism of blacks that is the problem, not the racial guilt of whites.

Is a 'black' President going to change the culture of American blacks? Is a 'black' President going to turn all those poor 'victimized' blacks into good free thinking citizens?

In your dreams!

Posted by: AussieJack | November 12, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

This posting, while thoughtful, exposes the limits of polling, which have in turn strangely warped the thinking here. By necessity, polls have to be limited to very short, simple questions. In addition, questions that have been asked before are rarely adapted to new realities, since it's important to keep the wording identical. That makes polling a terrible, terrible blunt tool with which to research something so complex and so laden with emotion (including positive emotion).

Let me instead give you a "qualitative" take on the subject. I am an Obama supporter and a Southern white woman in my 40s. I did not support Obama for his race, any more than I supported Kerry or Gore for theirs. Since you bring it up, however, as far as I am concerned, Obama has ALREADY changed history. In fact, he did it just by winning the nomination way back in June. He doesn't have to do a darn thing more in terms of what this particular poll is talking about, much less achieve some "ridiculously high expectation."

To me, the tears of joy on the street and on TV are all the proof you need. Where the heck did those come from if his achievement was so trivial, so tied to one politician, as you suggest? I'm actually an early example of those tears. When I voted weeks ahead of time, I suddenly and unexpectedly started crying just to see his name on the touchscreen. I felt like there were 400 years of American history weighing on my hand. (I also felt like an idiot and that nobody else would ever cry over such a thing.) For a moment, the politics, however important, fell away. I said to myself, "It doesn't even matter now if he wins or loses. All that matters is that America let his name be on that ballot." That was what I thought would never happen in my lifetime. And now it has.

Still not following me? Think about Hillary Clinton's glass ceiling analogy. She put those "18 million cracks" in the ceiling by almost getting the nomination. Falling short meant the ceiling was only cracked, not broken. So clearly, the idea was that she would have successfully broken through the ceiling by becoming the nominee, not by somehow healing all gender divisions in American society.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | November 12, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The thing we must all remember is that voting for Senator Obama is the easiest thing we will have to do. The real work will come after he is elected. Make no mistake despite the disintegration of the Republican Party right before our eyes, the corporate task masters will have no problem finding lackeys to espouse their agenda; nor will there be any shortage of proponents of the status quo. Corporate America is not going to wake up on November 5th and decide that greed and malfeasance are no longer in vogue, racism is not going to magically disappear and we will stand around the national campfire singing Kumbaya hand in hand, nor will there be reparation checks showing up in the mailboxes of all mistreated minorities.

http://thedisputedtruth.blogspot.com/2008/10/magic-negro-and-other-hollywood-myths.html

Posted by: jhawk10 | November 12, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

@Armpeg.

why self respecting black voter wouldn't vote for Obama (a much better candidate in every way) over a man who fought to deny Martin Luther King's memory?

I'm surprised McCain even got 5%.

Now go away you fool.

Posted by: jmp66 | November 12, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Read my lips: African Americans tradionally vote for the Democrat. The fact that President-elect Obama is African American had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that African Americans voted disportionately for the Democrat that just happened to be African American.

Posted by: vannw1 | November 12, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The one thing this election has proven is that blacks are the most racist people in America today. Consiter: While whites split their votes roughly 50%-50% between a black candidate and a white candidate, blacks voted for their tribal member with the same skin color by 95% to 5%. Had Americas white voters voted for McCain by a 95% to 5% margin, there'd be a massive outcry and massive recriminations against whites for still being racists and how (bring out the crying towels) "racism is alive and well in America today". When blacks prove how racist that they still are by their voting pattern however, it's no big deal. If anything, if one mentions it they'll trot out the race card and accuse YOU of being the racist!!!

Posted by: armpeg | November 12, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

If you research history, there hasn't been a single government that didn't promote race/ethnic bias... without it, there wouldn't be wars and the ability of leaders to protect or expand their sphere of influence; which is the underlying motivation to be the king anyway.
I'm sure the tribes of cavemen fought each other just like the ancient Scottish clansmen did... and so on right up to the present.
America doesn't have the patent on racial bias. And, all you have to be is someone who thinks differently than the ruling party to be the target of hate groups. People who hate just love having the friendly federal okay to slap others around... it makes them feel so superior. Sorry kids; if history teaches us anything at all, it's that we'll always have people who hate other people.

Posted by: TerrifiedAmerican | November 12, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I think it's instructive to look at this from a different perspective: that of privilege.

How on earth did George W. Bush become the nation's 43rd president?

He was a mediocre student yet got accepted to Yale (his grandfather was a senator from Connecticut and served on Yale's Board of Trustees).

He failed at every endeavor he attempted yet always got a new opportunity through his family's wealth and connections.

He finally found some measure of success as a part owner and managing general partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Then, based on little more than his family's name, he was elected governor of Texas.

We like to claim that America is a meritocracy. This is often true (Reagan, Clinton, and Obama all came from humble beginnings), but if you come from wealth and privilege, many more doors are open for you and you have many more opportunities to fail and bounce back.

If folks want to get rid of diversity considerations in college and university admissions, let's also get rid of legacy admissions as well.

After two or three centuries of slavery and another hundred of legal segregation, there isn't a lot of ancestral wealth and privilege in the African American community. Hopefully, that is starting to change, but as black folks advance, some whites feel resentment.

If you'd like to see some very clear visual examples of what I'm talking about, call all of the Fortune 500 companies and ask them to send you a copy of their latest annual reports (they'll do it for free).

Then look at the group photos of the Boards of Directors. Most are all male and all white. On occasion, there will be one woman or one black person (out of 15 or so directors). On super-rare occasions, there'll be both a woman AND a black person.

When those boards are truly diverse, THEN I'll know that America is actually fulfilling its promise as a nation, because it will mean that from preschool to grad school to the top of the corporate ladder, people are being judged mainly by their intellect, hard work, and creativity, and not by anything else.

Posted by: Bondosan | November 12, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

When one ponders the awesome confluence of circumstances (including putting Barbie on the ticket of one party) that brought America to the point that it was willing to elect candidate so far and away the better of the two candidates but who happens to be black, but who still only won by fewer than four percentage points, it is mind-boggling that so few white Americans would believe that race is still a serious problem. Even if Barack Obama finds a way to exceed George W. Bush in his ineptitude - which is hard to imagine - America has crossed a huge threshold. Progress toward greater racial harmony, which is normally measured in inches, leapt forward by a foot with the election of Barack Obama. Even if we go back to measuring in inches, we are now much farther forward.

Posted by: tradeczar | November 12, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

As it is obvious to all that president Obama has a huge task waiting for him with our financial problems not only as a country but now as a whole it seems like we may be forgetting other issues this world has as well. Global hunger is getting worse and their may be a less difficult way of looking at the problem. The solution may be the Global Poverty Act. This act will be looked at in December. This act is something that Obama has before been an advocate to. The Borgen Project an organization that is working to get this act passed as well. To learn more go to www.borgenproject.org.

Posted by: veronica5 | November 12, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

You can solve the racial problem by stop calling Obama as African American every time you mention him. Call him President Elect and move on. Talk about real issues like "jobs", "environment" they are nor black or white issue, they are everyone's problem. Stop collecting data by race, and it will begin the healing.

Posted by: yeda924 | November 12, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

All the neocons should just hide somewhere and lick their wounds. You have LOST! And the reason is that you are perceived by the majority of Americans as an out of touch minority bringing up the worst angels in us by pontificating about evolution, abortion and gay sex, while the whole country is going up in flames with 2 wars with no end in sight and a recession that has not precedents. Just turn on Faux News and pretend it's only a dream...

Posted by: BFranco | November 12, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Tony in Durham, NC said:

"Obama as President is like having Quincy Jones produce your record. It's going to be good, very good and classy!"
----
Tony, this is the most delicious statement I've read in ages. I think you're pretty classy yourself :)

I can think of variations:

"Obama as President is like having Robert Parish play center on your basketball team - very, very good, and classy"

"Obama as President is like having Spike Lee direct your movie - it's going to be good, very good, and classy"

"Obama as President is like having Stevie Wonder perform at your wedding - it's gonna be fantastic, otherworldly even, and very very classy.

etc.

Posted by: VMR1 | November 12, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

In this election we faced with the most down and dirty politics I have ever seen in recent history. Thanks to our Dem party who joined bunch of gangesters in chicago with its head of mafia, Hussien Obama, to bring our democracy down. Hussein Obama will never be my president because he never won the primary. And if it was not for media+ $$$$$$$$money , which we don't know yet where they came from, and his creepy and manipulative and deeply mean persnality using mass hypnosism , he would've not won the GE either. Pluse , his US citizenship is in question.

Posted by: nsabetus | November 12, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

personally, this is a silly column. I think these are made out of boredom....solely for kicks and wondering what's on the mind of B.O. supporters. There is no way race relations can be eased through one President because racism is institutionalized and has been for years. Everything from education, business, sociology, and various other forms of information keeps racism to the forefront in this country and it's nothing more than Malthusianism at it's best trickling down to the patrons of a society blind to what's really been going on since the late 1950's...and even before.

If anyone expects Obama alone to clean the mess up that's been made and weaved into the fabric of this world power is sadly mistaken.

Posted by: cbmuzik | November 12, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

THe idiot armpeg wrote:

"Blacks need victimhood status in order to get special treatment and special consiterations like afirmative action, quotas, set-asides, etc so they will always play the race card and use the old 'we've been discriminated against for a hundred years' bit"
----
So, by voting overwhelmingly for Obama they voted against their own best interests then?

You know, if you wanna embarrass yourself, it's fine - no one takes you seriously here anyway (or anywhere else, I suspect).
but you're embarrassing the rest of us revealing that in the 21st century America we're still have creatures like you inhabiting our midsts.

Oy vey!

Posted by: VMR1 | November 12, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Replace "Barack Obama" with "Hillary Clinton", "racism" with "misogyny", and imagine Clinton had won. How ridiculous would THAT column be? That's how ridiculous THIS column is.

Posted by: gbooksdc | November 12, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The fact is that he is mixed race, half-black and half-white. So calling him the first African-American president is a stretch that the press and the general public seems to endorse, but it is inaccurate. What you could say is that he is the first president who is only half-white.

Dude's father is from Kenya. The way I see it, that's more "African"-American than most of the black folks I know. Obama is one generation removed from Africa. I have a friend whose family is from the West Indies. How many generations removed from Africa is he? I'm not sure, but a hell of a lot more than Obama.

Posted by: billy8 | November 12, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"With rare exception PEOPLE DON'T CHANGE. There is no magic wand. There is no magic race wand. But there is social evolution."

People can also be disabused of misconceptions. Why do you think that people in rural America are the most racist and homophobic? It's because they don't have interaction with blacks and gays. They do things like rely on religious leaders and political leaders, but we all know those people are more than willing to demonize minorities in order to maintain power. The image of a black man who doesn't fit the stereotype serving as our top leader will change a lot of minds. This will especially be true of young children who will form a lot of early memories of a black man serving as President. Don't underestimate these effects. Of course you'll have racists out there trying to maintain power by whipping up racial fear, but it will be harder and harder to do simply by virtue of Obama's character.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 12, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

We elected a black JFK.

When we elect a black George W. Bush. THEN racism will be over.


That is really, really, really funny.

Posted by: billy8 | November 12, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

It's true that expectations are very high for Obama, but look at what he is replacing. It's not going to be hard for him to demonstrate improvements.

Posted by: skrut003 | November 12, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Speaking entirely from my own experience since the election, I don't believe:
A-that race relations will benefit from Obama's ascendancy, and
B-that Obama intends to address the issue in a direct manner, and
C-Black resentment and their own brand of racism, whether justifiable or not, will only increase as they see the election as reparations.
I have personally been subjected to several instances when out in public where 2 or more African Americans, upon seeing me approach, will loudly and very pointedly hoop and holler about Obama's victory. Now, you might claim I'm being overly sensitive and maybe misinterpriting their intent but I don't think so. It was quite obvious that the display of joy was for my benefit alone. It stands to reason that this kind of stuff will hardly serve to improve things. So be it! Maybe it's time to call it like it is...for both racial groups.

Posted by: ddnfla | November 12, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

In the short term, I think Obama's election is bound to increase racial tensions because it will upset the current equilibrium. Many blacks are already viewing Obama's victory in terms of political spoils, and they expect him to deliver the goods to a loyal constituency. Meanwhile, many whites believe Obama's election proves that the U.S. is no longer a racist society, and they will expect a gradual reduction in affirmative action for racial minorities. I do not see how the respective expectations of blacks and whites can be reconciled. Obama is bound to disappoint someone.

Posted by: arimathean | November 12, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

as an african american woman my 3rd of 4th reaction to this election was 'wow, maybe i'm wrong about how some white americans feel....hmmmm.

GLAD I'M WRONG! :)

Posted by: nall92 | November 12, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

To be frank, voters seem to have unrealistic expectations of any one man in relation to not just racial bias, but to a multiplicity of issues facing the country...
I think Obama hysteria is more a symptom of general agitation rather than the realistic ability he has to resolve the long list of accumulated problems...

Posted by: TerrifiedAmerican | November 12, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama's election won't make a dimes worth of difference on race relations. Blacks need victimhood status in order to get special treatment and special consiterations like afirmative action, quotas, set-asides, etc so they will always play the race card and use the old 'we've been discriminated against for a hundred years' bit. While discrimination did go on until the early 1960's or so, the black and white generations since then has had little of it used for or against them. For 50 years now blacks have had the same opportunities, the same education, and have had full protection from any discrimatory practices, and if after 5 generations they haven't made prgress, they should look within themselves for the causes. Blaming whites for everything going wrong in their lives in today's world is pure BS.

Posted by: armpeg | November 12, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I think all expectations of Obama are unreasonably high, which does not bode well for him in the long or really short run.

Posted by: bandmom22 | November 12, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse


I moved south from Long Island in 1981.

I live in a southern city that's half or more black.

I'm a middle-aged white guy.

Good, bad or indifferent, I treat all people as individuals and that's the best remedy I can offer for race relations or whatever you want to call it. I look at the person, not the color.

As for the general masses o' people, I do know that until a white person experiences a black co-worker or neighbor on a daily basis and can figure out that racism is stupid (as many people under 45 have), then, yes, we are making some progress. On the other hand, as more African-Americans start to let go of victim-hood, amazing things can happen.

Because Obama "happened to be black" makes it easier to argue both cases to both groups.

On an another note, I predict baggy trousers and wearing your underwear in public will soon go out of fashion. Obama as President is like having Quincy Jones produce your record. It's going to be good, very good and classy!


Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | November 12, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

IT'S THE CONTENT OF HIS CHARACTER...

The fact that the media continues to define Obama on racial terms is in itself a reflection of ingrained social bias.

Obama has conducted himself notably. He acknowledges and celebrates his genetic diversity (with the possible exception of his "mutt" remark, which, no doubt, was meant more as an attempt at good-natured self-deprecation than a slur against those of mixed parentage).

When he remarked that he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bill," he was articulating a stark truth: that some people will continue to define him by race, regardless of his words or deeds.

The fact that he was elected despite the media's persistence in looking at him through a racial prism demonstrates that his could turn out to be the first "post-racial" presidency.

For that to happen, pundits must resist the urge to pigeon-hole and categorize according to skin pigmentation and genetic background.

When they do, we'll all be further down the road toward a post-racial society.

"EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING" A ROOT CAUSE
OF MORTGAGE MELTDOWN AND CREDIT CRISIS?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/targeting-u-s-citizens-govt-agencies-root-cause-wall-street-financial-crisis OR
http://members.nowpublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 12, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

We elected a black JFK.

When we elect a black George W. Bush. THEN racism will be over.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 12, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Geeee you cant even point out facts anymore without being labeled a racist...

You must have been one of the barry supporters double-fisting the cool-aid

Posted by: indep2 | November 12, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

sigh...

"White people under 45 are no longer afflicted with "White Guilt" and as such, dont feel there is racism anymore. I think the biggest proof of that is simply looking to who was just elected our next president!"

Followed by a statement that begins "Blacks (in general)..."

Posted by: Section506 | November 12, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Crucialitis,

RIGHT ON!

Posted by: roxlaw | November 12, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

37th&0,

Just get over it. OBAMA is not only the President, he received an overwhelming mandate to deliver the change he promised during the campaign. It was also a TOTAL repudiation of the politics of division, the favored tool of the repub party.

So, you lost and we won and it is truly pitiful that you cannot see through your hatred to love this country and wish it well despite the fact tha a Black man has been elected to its highest and most esteemed office.

Posted by: roxlaw | November 12, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The more you talk about it, the more tensions will increase.

White people under 45 are no longer afflicted with "White Guilt" and as such, dont feel there is racism anymore. I think the biggest proof of that is simply looking to who was just elected our next president!

Blacks (in general), and WaPo article writers, simply keep looking for it where none exists... and then proceed to pontificate about it...


Posted by: indep2 | November 12, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama's election was a step forward, and it may help millions of our minority citizens feel better about the country and their chances for success here through study and hard work. But the fundamental problem of racism is not going to change that much because so many older and middle aged Americans are still prejudiced against black people. We also have two regions in the country where racism is so stroingly imbedded it may never change; Appalachia and the Deep South. However, as time passes and the relatively color blind Millennial Generation accumulates more power things will eventually improve. In the meantime, we should not expect too much in this area from the President-elect. He always said this election is about us and he is correct. Only we, as individuals, can improve race relations over the short and long-term.

Posted by: maxfli68 | November 12, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Who knows if it will heal racial relations since hatred is in the hearts of men, but it healed a lot of black peoples' hearts to know that there is a God and He loves us enough to put a black man in the "white" house. Our Forefathers/mothers sowed into this country so much that it's worth finally reaping however small since our entire country's economic system has been hijacked by greedy wall street. Seems like everyone after the election (including Fox News) wants to now call him bi-racial which is what he was all along, but it was conveniently left out when he was still a candidate. They also wanted to highlight his white grandparents and mother, which also should have been done before he became President-Elect. I just want folks to remember what was wrong BEFORE he went into office, so he is not blamed for this long, hard road to recovery:

1. RUINED financial systems/situation in mortgages/lending, war financing, debt owed (China and Saudi Arabia pretty much own us)

2. CRUMBLING job market

3. FAILED healthcare programs

4. DISPLACED homeowners due to greedy loan creators who worried more about filling their pockets than helping millions to refinance through the economic hard times, while asking Congress for our tax dollars on the other hand

REMEMBER people, he didn't cause this, he inherited it.

Posted by: roxannebs | November 12, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse


.


.

.

.


Chris:

In the middle of the Crisis in the Islamic World - in the middle of an economic crisis - this nation decided to turn away from those two issues and instead focus in on "race relations" as the most important factor in the Presidential campaign this year - NOT THE PERSON BEST ABLE TO HANDLE THE MIDDLE EAST OR THE ECONOMIC CRISIS.


Hey.


That is the STANDARD SET BY THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN AND HIS SUPPORTERS - IF OBAMA DOES NOT MEET IT HE IS A COMPLETE FAILURE.

.


.


.


.

Posted by: 37thOSt | November 12, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

With rare exception PEOPLE DON'T CHANGE. There is no magic wand. There is no magic race wand. But there is social evolution. If the Obama administration is successful (and to a lesser degree even if it isn't) what it will do is take away the excuses. Overt, institutional racism is pretty much gone. Social attitudes, or subtle, even unconscious, racism, is and will be around for quite some time to come. These social attitudes are easy excuses. Obama has just proven that while social attitudes may be real, they are not necessarily serious impediments. Plenty of racists voted against him, but did that matter? Maybe people will give you looks, maybe people will make inappropriate comments, maybe life is hard and unfair, but do not use American racism as an excuse for why you never tried. The proof of Obama's success is the same for whites as minorities. It is not the immigrants holding you down or affirmative action or anything but yourself. People will still use these excuses, but in the back of most peoples minds will be that little tickle that if a black kid with a single mother could do something only 43 other people in over two-hundred years could do....

Racial Healer, hardly, but the subtle change in attitudes that will snake through our culture in the coming decades will pay dividends.

There is one other, more practical, effect of the Obama win: black districts. Obama may have represented a black district in the state senate, but he was never a black politician. Black politicians, pandering to black voters, lock themselves in a political ghetto (wave hi to your new ghettoized Republican neighbors.) Redistricting whites and other minorities into black districts would be the best thing for minority politicians. A politician has to learn to appeal and pander to all voters if they want to eventually win a statewide office. For it is statewide office holders who become President. This had been a minority, often radical, opinion before the election. It is now fact. If you want minority politicians representing more than minority districts, you have to train them how to represent a wide variety of voters.

Posted by: caribis | November 12, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The fact is that he is mixed race, half-black and half-white. So calling him the first African-American president is a stretch that the press and the general public seems to endorse, but it is inaccurate. What you could say is that he is the first president who is only half-white.

Posted by: P522 | November 12, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

When blacks "don't have to be democrats" and are valued just as much for being conservatives they are for being liberals then race relations will have moved forward.

Posted by: leapin | November 12, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

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Obama's playing of the race card during the primaries and throughout the year was worthy of scorn - his actions were totally out of bounds - instead of being post-racial he and his people were RACIAL.


It is wrong.


What is worse is the media allowed him and his people to get away with it - destroying the idea of "post-racial" along the way.


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Posted by: 37thOSt | November 12, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Oops, Senior moment:

that's "24 years..."

Posted by: EuroAm | November 12, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD wrote, "I think simply his election has helped."

My thought as well.

Posted by: officermancuso | November 12, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I am not surprised at the results. It's sad. Given the stark difference between Obama and McCain, the election was way to close, and I can only attribute it to the neanderthals who can't bring themselves to accept that blacks are accomplished people and are more American than most of us when you consider that their ancestors were here centuries before many whites' were.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | November 12, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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Let's just see his birth certificate and hospital records for his birth.

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Posted by: 37thOSt | November 12, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

When blacks "don't have to be democrats" and are valued just as much for being conservatives they are for being liberals then race relations will have moved forward.

Posted by: leapin | November 12, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

After 8 years of GOP/Bush/Chaney ALL expectations placed upon Pres.-elect Obama are impossibly high.

However:
1984 - Geraldine Ferraro, nominated GOP VP candidate, signals "new beginning" for women in politics. (sorry about your loss)

2008 - Finally, a woman is again, after 28 years, a candidate for VP on a major political party's ticket. (not sorry about your loss)

2008 - Barack Obama is elected first Non-white/Black/African-American/multiracial/mixed-race/whatever POTUS, signals "new beginning" for race relations.

Will It? If and only if enough of us want it to be we drown-out and swamp the voices of those that do not. The sooner those young up-coming B. Obama's doing their time below the radar graduate to the radar screen...

Posted by: EuroAm | November 12, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Racism truly begins to end when you stop having cosmetic products labeled "flesh tone" that don't ever, ever match... and that will only be 1/1000th of the problem.
Everyone wants to ignore race issues, and remove affirmative action.. you know what will happen then.. racism will continue quietly, and no one will speak about it because it's considered passe. It's already begun with Al Sharpton being seen as a burden by many.. sure, he jumps in and overdoes it on many issues.. But when he actually hits on one that's truly unjust, everyone turns a blind eye and says, "Here he is again!"
You can't socially and economically devastate a people for centuries and then have a few simple feats make everything even. You can't have affirmative action legislation for half of a generation and expect everything to normalize when the previous generation only began to get normal educations halfway through their lives. Even if the new generation is better off and receiving equal treatment and opportunities, there's still a generational deficit to overcome. Off the top of my head, I would be willing to wager that the numbers on inherited wealth would show a disparity, the numbers on loan repayment rates would show a disparity.. These aren't ills you can cure in 20-some years of a half-assed leg up and the assertion that 'things are cool now, you've got your own president now, right?'
Now, if you want to change affirmative action to reflect socio-economic status instead of race, fine. But don't think that you can suddenly go lax on all equality issues. They still persist. The klan isn't performing mob lynchings (at least not as often) but that doesn't mean that your friendly neighborhood banker doesn't have his own bent that needs regulating.
If you really think that we live in a color-blind society then you need to get your eyes checked.

Posted by: Crucialitis | November 12, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama will represent all Americans when he appoints the most qualified people to assist him in the White House and in the cabinet. All this crap of people who want "equal representation" is how Bill Clinton ended up with Janet Reno, his fourth choice for Attorney General that he had to accept because she was female and he (or Hillary) wanted one of the "big four" cabinet posts to go to a female. She later sold him (and the country) down the river by siding with Starr about everything that Starr wanted in his attempt to "get" Clinton.

Posted by: Opa2 | November 12, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I just hope this election removes the "first black president" issue from further discussion. When the next black candidate comes along, perhaps he or she can be discussed on the basis of merit and qualification rather than being given an absolutely free pass by the media as Obama was.

Posted by: justme15 | November 12, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The only thing Barack Obama could possibly do to improve race relations is abolish all pro-diversity laws.

Posted by: Archarito | November 12, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Impossibly High Expectations on Race Relations?

Out of mind , out of sight. Yet, should we focus on the more critical issues to get our country off and on a better note that we the people can once again grasp the American dream, we won't have so much time to waste on such trivia matters as the possibly high expectations on race relations which have non the less largely contributed in some form , shape or fashion to the conflicting problems that we now experience in this country and world , I would say. It is time now, that we must move beyond that which is of no value in contributing positive attributes to our crisis facing nation, it's time for the change , which is a union of all, with no respecter of persons that we may on one accord warrant a better future for all Americans. This land was bless us all by the Creator and should we turn from our evil ways, then will our land be healed. Times are crucial for all and we all need change from the bottom to the top to recieve that which is rightfully ours. There is no time to continually procrastinate nor stagnate nor stunt our growth nor further delay a renewal and a receive the much needed blessings that our land needs. Obama has reiterated the fact throughtout the entirity of his campaign that we need this change to restore, to regain and to receive that which we so rightfully needs, and that is what we can do and will do, should we unite and move forward in our conquest to obtain it. There's no time for trivia factors such as race, hatred, dishonesty and the like, no one lives forever and the "time is now", because times are so "critical" now for all, not some but for "all". So "Yes We Can" and in love, unity and all efforts, "Yes We Will". God Bless America!

Cheryl

Virginia

Posted by: Nisey01 | November 12, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Aren't we all wonderful now that we have elected a Lib. and to top it all off, he's black.

the race baiters and hustlers can pack it up and go home now. America was never as racist as the angry left press said and is less racist than just about every other country on earth.

when he utterly fails at pretty much his entire agenda (which is now mysteriously missing), will the angry left press blame it on racism again? the fact is, he has not a clue. that fact has nothing to do with skin color.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | November 12, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps when we begin to not refer to Irish Americans, Latino Americans or African Americans we may have a shot at just being what most people are, Americans.
I know all the arguments for and against but having a MSM, especially WAPO and CNN who absolutely refuse to back off because they can sell more hairspray or sex pills by keeping people worked up about race might be a start.
All of us are proud of who we are and our heritage. It is universal to all races. I voted for Obama as I am sure many many other white people did but I never considered race when I voted. Further I believe WAPO and CNN et. al, contributed far more to the anxious feelings about race than do everyday peoples feelings about race.
We are Americans, one and all, and the sooner we begin to view each other as such the sooner we can significantly eliminate the barriers.
Chris, you are among the worst. Both hear and on CNN you continually push the race card. Are you so literately challenged that you have no other thoughts?

Posted by: RetCombatVet | November 12, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

What horse manure. This phony is no uniter, and you liars who try to spin that he is are just plain contemptible. No wonder newspapers are losing readers and revenue. I hope you bozos go broke. Would serve you right for abandoning your integrity and objectivity.

Posted by: LarryG62 | November 12, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I think simply his election has helped. What do you think the impression of an old black man who lived through the worst of Jim Crow was when he saw a bunch of white college students canvas for Obama through his neighborhood? I'm sure it would at least make him think. Also, any black person must realize that countless whites voted for Obama in order to make this happen. I think that at least some of the distrust and misconceptions dissipated over the last few months.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 12, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with your article entirely. I don't think Obama has "to do" anything per se. Simply the fact that he was elected should be the catalyst to help move us to a "new era". It proves that anyone in this country regardless of race or background (i.e. single parent, imigrant father) can be elected to the nations highest office. It should be inspiring to not only the black community, but to imigrants and the poor as well. It proves the job is no longer reserved for white males from affluent families. Obama is a self made man who overcame racial hurdles as well as a less than ideal childhood. (I'm not sure poverty is accurate, but he certainly didn't come from a wealthy family.) That should be an inspiration to us all and serve as proof that anyone in this country can achieve anything they put there mind to.

I think he has to maintain his current stance as a president who happens to be black. If he tries to push a "black agenda", as some think he should, I think it will do far more harm than good and cause more division. Pushing a "black agenda" will create cries of favortism by whites and create unnecessary backlash.

The economy affects all, health care affects all, equal opportunity affects all. Those are the issues he ran on that got him elected, and he should stick to that. If he sticks to his promises and successfully achieves the "American Agenda", that is how he is going to usher in the "new era" and help remove the divisions of "white america" vs. "black america".

Posted by: crue241 | November 12, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to deliver on his campaign promises for peace, prosperity, health care, education, and energy independence.

The prosperity piece is going to be the trickiest, and will require some good luck.
The peace part has its own difficulties too.

If Obama is a great President, then 8 years from now everyone will realize that the color of his skin didn't matter a bit in relation to the execution of his duties as POTUS. He is, as of Jan 19th, our political Jackie Robinson.

As for the effect on race relations. Black kids can now look at themselves in the mirror and *know* that the bs rappers are wrong and that they can achieve whatever their talents and ambition allow. That's the big get here.

Posted by: jrob822 | November 12, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Impossibly High Expectations on Race Relations?

There would be impossibly high expectations on race relations should the people continue in their past mindsets in regards to how racism manifested and not grasp the change that is prevelant today to look beyond it to secure a better future for our country including all with no respecter of person, race or nationality. This change is one that every individual would need to deal with within their own mindsets and not one that one will make happen except you agree to change within. I highly commend Obama on his intereacting with this subject and to make note that he has no doubt shed light and opened the door on such a critical matter that seriously needs focus in the midst of making and uniting our country on one accord to warrant a better future for all. Obama in my sense has acted as a catalyst and we together can expediate this concern and accommodate it's vanishing affect should we all unite and focus on the reality of the issue and manuever in an effective protocol with higher priorities to secure and restore our nation for all whom presently inherits it and the future generations to come. So to place a high emphasis on this concern in regards to what Obama will have to deal with is a bit far fetched and unbalanced to say that he alone will have high expectations when in restrospect, we the people all will have high expextations should this really make any difference at all. We the people needs to turn from our evil ways that our land may be healed, bottom line, with no respecter of persons is this statement targeted towards except we ALL needs to help make change manifest, as it is what Obama has stated throughout the entirity of his campaign-we need change and apparently it is true, we the majority of our country have voted him President Barack Obama for the United States of America in which I conclude we made the right and wisest choice possible. God Bless America!

Posted by: Nisey01 | November 12, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

That fact that he won without ever defining himself as a black man running for President is evidence that he has the potential to unite and heal racial divisions. The election Tuesday night showed he has this potential as well. He won some of the least diverse states in the country. And he won them handily.
The good news, according to those numbers, is that he seems to have the backing and support of most of the country in this area.
I suspect that in the coming years when many discriminatory minds see that a black man is not only capable of doing this job, but doing it well, it will reflect in the election in four years.
This election was a great sign of progress for our country. I believe that race only cost him West Virginia, Kentucky, and maybe Arkansas in this election. But it helped him in North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. This is a moment many have fought for, and some lost their lives for--an indescribable one for most African-Americans I'm sure. Congratulations to all responsible for this election.

Posted by: jdunph1 | November 12, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza spins for BHO: "Rather, he was a candidate for president who happened to be black."

Nice attempted rewrite of history. BHO played the race card a few times, and his surrogates were constantly playing the race card. BHO never once made them stop.

And, the supposedly "post-racial candidate" was actually more like a Balkan politician, even appealing to white solidarity. Here's a satire about that:

http://24ahead.com/blog/archives/008332.html

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | November 12, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The front-page blurb for this story speaks of "impossibe" expectations.

Typos galore on the Post this week. Never seen it this bad.

Posted by: DupontJay | November 12, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

While Obama's election may not erase the social and economic inequality by race in this country, it does weaken the argument that racial bias is the primary cause of the disparity. If racial prejudice was the primary factor in most people's minds when it came time to vote, we would have a President elect McCain.

We can only hope that the feeling of solidarity permeating the African American population from seeing a black man elected will continue in their own neighborhoods and they can reflect on actions they can take to help themselves.

Posted by: edbyronadams | November 12, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I am convinced that this election proves something much bigger than ourselves.

Posted by: bbcrock | November 12, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

When is Barack's grandmother going to be funeralized? I didn't see our new President making any trans-Pacific travel plans recently.

Posted by: forgetthis | November 12, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the connection between the picture and the topic.

At the risk of sounding like I Know More Than You, this isn't just a white or black issue. While knocking on doors wearing an Obama sticker - a very generous Latino family invited me into their apartment to discuss the election. Against all the rules I joined them. (I was is no physical danger, and wasn't about to risk offending a supporting familiy by turning down their hospitality.)

I will put this in far harsher terms than was the reality - but the sensitive nuance would require far too much writing to accurately describe here. But a summary of the dyamic between a white volunteer - two middle aged parents four-square behind Obama - two voting age children far less certain. While Obama isn't one of 'them', if the white population can accept a black president - then it should make it easier for the white population to accept a Latino president. Or to put it another way: While an African-American can't be expected to understand issues specific to the Latino community - it's step in the right direction.

Posted by: DonJasper | November 12, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

He'll improve race relations by simply doing the best job he can as President. I don't think it's fair to expect him to single-handedly improve race relations overnight. His election reveals that many are able to put the person first and race second. (It was the same with Hillary with many able to put the person before the gender.)

Posted by: RickJ | November 12, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Counter-intuitively, Obama's best move for repairing race relations is to not focus on race relations. His stated plan to address issues of poverty in this country will go a long way towards mooting race-related tensions in our society.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 12, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

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