This must be among the most tragic failures of President Obama’s administration. He was elected with the expectation that America’s troubled racial past would assume its proper proportion in our spotty but real history of expanded liberties. Instead, he has presided over an irrational, pointless antagonism of racial animosity in America. Even those who didn’t vote for him were glad that America had shown itself flexible enough to elect a black president. Even if one disagreed violently with his politics, one could still be culturally proud that America had taken another step forward in our national agenda to affirm the dignity of all persons. Now many simply don’t want to be bothered dealing with race discussion. In the aftermath of so many bizarre incidents of violence, real police brutality, some exaggerated or even false allegations and reactionary behavior, they feel that it is an irrational discussion impervious to evidence and lacking the necessary preconditions of goodwill to be effective.
– Al Kresta
A significant reversal since President Obama’s election
When Americans elected the first black president in 2008, two-thirds thought race relations were generally good. But that’s not the case anymore.
According to a new New YorkTimes/CBS poll, six in 10 Americans now think race relations are poor, and four in 10 think they are getting worse. The reversal comes in the wake of the June killing of nine black people in a historically black church in South Carolina and amidst ongoing, racially charged protests concerning police killings of black people around the country.
Blacks in particular have had a dramatic shift in their view of race relations during the Obama era. Six in 10 said race relations were bad in 2008, but that figure dropped to around 30% just after President Obama was elected. Today more than two-thirds of blacks say race relations are poor, which is close to the figures seen in the aftermath of Rodney King’s beating by police officers in the early 1990s.
A majority of white respondents also said race relations were poor, but for them it was the first acknowledgement of that fact in a long time. In 2008, before Obama’s election, nearly 60% of whites said race relations were good in the U.S.