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April 29th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Pres. Obama's effect on race relations in first 100 days?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

100 days into office, the history Barack Obama made in becoming this country's first African-American president hasn't been lost.

It's something that Mr. Obama rarely talked about on the campaign trail - or since he's taken office - but it is a subtle part of his larger message of change; and may have already improved race relations in this country.

A new New York Times/CBS poll shows 66 percent of those surveyed say race relations are "generally good" in the U.S.; that's up from 53 percent who felt that way in July. 22 percent say they're "generally bad," and that number is down from 37 percent. When it comes to black Americans, the percentage who say race relations are good has doubled since the summer.

When asked a question about his historic presidency at his last press conference, Mr. Obama said that at the inauguration there was "justifiable pride on the part of the country that we had taken a step to move us beyond some of the searing legacies of racial discrimination," but then added, "that lasted about a day."

But these poll numbers suggest otherwise. One white woman polled in Indiana - a Democrat - says since the election she's noticed "people of different races being kinder to each other." A Republican white woman in Kansas City says Mr. Obama's openness and acceptance has helped others act the same way. A black Democratic woman in Ohio says with Obama as president, whites and blacks seem to be working toward the same goals.

Here’s my question to you: How has President Obama affected race relations 100 days into office?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Anthony from Swedesboro, New Jersey writes:
I've spent my whole life wondering what all the fuss was about racial divisions. I see a person as someone who contributes or someone who is parasitic. These people cover every spectrum of the rainbow. The whole problem is stereotyping, the weapon of the ignorant. President Obama broke the wall of ignorance and provided an example to other blacks that education is cool. I want to see more black children thirsting for knowledge and less black children ridiculing them for "acting white."

John from Virginia writes:
Not a bit, except to make it obvious that it's ok for the left to say "What a wonderful president and he's a black man!" while it's racist for the right to say "What an awful president and he's a black man!” This only shows that race relations haven't budged one bit, namely because we are still talking about it and there is a double standard.

Michael from Slidell, Louisiana writes:
People of all races now feel part of the system, not just along for the ride. That makes people more concerned and more involved.

Denny from Tacoma, Washington writes:
Truthfully I think it is still too early to tell. If Obama succeeds then he will help racial relations tremendously; if not, his failure will only enforce the irrational thinking of the prejudiced. His election was truly an uplifting event to the oppressed, but his success is much more important.

Stephanie from Pittsburgh writes:
For the vast majority of Americans, the Obama presidency has been a breath of fresh air for race relations. For those who have been "quiet" racists, it is forcing them out from under their rocks so that the rest of us can confront them head on with a united front.

Pablo from Arlington, Texas writes:
Jack, It seems nothing overt or dramatic has happened in race relations. But, if you could look into the hearts of the children here and around the world who identify personally with Barack Obama, I think you would find the fires of hope and change burning more strongly and more brightly than any of us old codgers thought would happen in our lifetime.

soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    He has brought the racists out in the open while also bringing the rest of us closer together.

    April 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  2. Pugas-AZ

    His election has been a good thing for race relations , at least in the short term. It remains to be seen if his policies are such that he can keep the momentum going. With the economic problems we are experiencing, this will be a tough job. The distribution of wealth will play a large role in determing the outcome.

    April 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  3. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    He has managed to bring out the worst of the worst and the best of the best.

    April 29, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  4. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    He made the racists show their true colors and has also brought out the best in the rest of us.

    April 29, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  5. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    As a white woman, with a black son-in-law and bi-racial grandchildren, I can say that President Obama's election and presidency have had a very positive effect on race relations. There is palapable pride in my house when we discuss the Obamas. It is wonderful for all Americans to put aside racial issues and work together for a better country and world.

    April 29, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  6. Rod

    The polls show that 21% of Americans still call themselves Republican. Which means he has much more work to do within the Hillbilly crowd of the South.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  7. Alistair

    President Obama has had a huge impact on race relations and we're moving forward but we still have a small group who still wants to live in the past, most notable, wingnut talk radio show host who wants to see a President fail. The good news is he's doing a good job of kick out open minded moderates who wants to see the President succeed and America become out of many one.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  8. Sharon in Virginia

    Jack, from what I can see race relations have not changed a great deal. My workplace has not changed at all, if fact I see some are bitter and make nasty remarks from time to time regarding President Obama 's Healthcare Bill for Cobra participants.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  9. Peg

    Good Lord I hope so! We should not even be asking this question in this day and age! I have heard that there are some very real haters out there~because of his skin color. Unbelievable to me that people are still so ignorant. That is just sad and pathetic. Maybe that can explain, in part, why schools are doing so badly!

    Wake up~it is a new day, a new way and we of all race, color and creed are HERE TO STAY!
    Peg~Saratoga Springs~NY

    April 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  10. Charles Illinois

    I don't know if ANY human being can effectively change race relations in this country because thats up to each individual BUT what the electorate realized is GREEN is the only color that matters and the average John & Jane Doe was left out of that equation for 8 yrs under the Bush/Cheney Administration.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  11. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    when people respect people and their dignity they give back to each other a sense of our human dignity towards ourselves and towards others! Treat others like you want to be treated at all times!

    April 29, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  12. John Webster, Aldergrove BC Canada

    Obama’s election was the true emancipation of his people. The world didn’t come to an end 100 days ago and today blacks are recognized for their worth and not complexion. Keeping the republicans at bay gives all colours of humans a new day.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  13. Ken in NC

    Jack, I feel that more Americans are working better together than prior to his election and this is good. Now, I have also seen an amazing rise in the number of people that are expressing open hate at the idea of our country having an African American at it’s helm. I was told one morning by a young White shopper in a grocery store as I held a magazine with his picture on the cover that it’s OK for Africa to have a Black leader because it’s a Black Country but the US should be led by “Real Americans”.
    Ya Think?
    Her implication was that Blacks are not “Real Americans”. I wonder if this lady has a clue to the fact that the only “Real Americans” here were the Indians. They were here first. Maybe more history needs to taught in schools.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  14. texanseabrook from Austin texas

    It should encourage people to not judge a book by it's cover, we ALL have something to offer to this country no matter what color we are if we work together.
    I feel proud to have someone that looks like me in the white house. Hopefully it will encourage our men to be better fathers to their children and love their wives more. Just a little kindness goes a long way.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  15. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Did everyone forget that Barack Obama's mother was caucasian? |What's the big deal? Let's get busy on all the huge problems facing this nation and not start another one that isn't one now.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  16. K

    The only ones who seem preoccupied with race is the news media. Otherwise it is a nonissue!

    April 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  17. Ron from SF

    The greatest thing that could be accomplished is that we stop talking about him being black. We're in trouble boys and girls and need a new FDR. Not a black FDR, but another FDR. Black, White or purple, I pray for leadership that can get us out of the mess that Bush and his fellow Republicans, put us in.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  18. Dan from Alliance, OH

    I hope we have come closer together. I don't get out much so I can't answer this question with any insight. I wish the race question would just go away..WE ARE AMERICANS..PERIOD.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  19. Kate

    President Obama has had a remarkable effect on race relations, both in the US and the world. He honors both sides of his own heritage, and consequently honors both himself and people of all colors. Thank you.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  20. Helen Canada

    We had a Company in Florida 15 years ago,when we hired a black lady a white worker told us if you hired her I am out of here>Guess what? we show him the door where to go. I am glad that things have changed a little but is going to take years for people to accept it.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  21. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    Now that the majority of Americans have recognized that a black man is capable of becoming president it has driven home the equality of all men. Only the most bigoted could claim otherwise.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  22. Matt

    Who cares about race when no one can get a job or pay rent. Race simply doesn't matter when all are struggling. A bad economy in my book is the great equalizer. A bad economy doesn't see race, it sees another American unemployed and struggling.

    Matt, Ohio

    April 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  23. Kerry Diehl

    So far, so good...

    If his approval ratings go further South or drop off the table like Bush's due to failure of his radical actions – the harm will be disastrous to future blacks (and dems) seeking a Presidential nomination.

    Let's face it, his performance will be closely linked to the acceptance of those who wish to follow him.

    If you look closely at the numbers to date after these 100 days, his are second lowest for the past 40 years ....second only to Clinton who came in behind him.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  24. Art

    He's commanded our focus as a people by transcending race. I often sense he's telling us by his, and Michelle's example that none of us have arrived at the destination unless all of us have arrived at the destination. His message is a welcome sojourn. Art- Hastings, Mi.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  25. DJ - Elkhart Iowa

    While I believe the President has had a hand is shaping the tone of how people relate to each other, – I think the larger picture is the Obama Movement and its success. His campaign was grass roots oriented and people involved felt a sense of accomplishment in the process.

    I think it is that process that has help race relations; helped the conversation about same sex marriage; stronger communities.

    I know I feel empowered as a result of my involvement with his campaign and I am doing more and speaking to many more people who are "not like me" as a result of that experience.

    Have a great evening!

    April 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  26. mitchell, arkansas

    well, where I'm from , he's had the affect of making the racists more racist, and the rest us mad as hell that they still exist in this day and age. I would like to call for a National Holiday ,in which all non-racists dye themselves blue, like those blueguys. Anybody not blue should be deported and have their citizenship revoked.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  27. Annie, Atlanta

    Since I'm on the left, and there were no issues for me, nothing there to see other than I'm proud of us. However, he's raised the hackles of some on the extreme right, to the point where I'm a little nervous for all of us.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  28. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    He has made race almost as irrelevant as the Republican Party.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  29. Karl from SF, CA

    Has anyone polled white congressional Republicans? Any problems would seem to be with them, since the rest of the country is apparently good with it.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  30. joe m

    the news media needs to get past this issue of race. while the president outwardly appears african-american, he is equally of caucasian heritage. the president's legacy should not simply hinge upon the perception of his ethnicity, but rather how effectively he has led.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  31. Annie, Atlanta

    @ Rod: I wish it was just the hillbilly crowd from the south we had to worry about. Their ignorance feeds their fears. It's those rich white "christian(-not)" types that scare the heck out of me here in GA.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  32. Linda in Arizona

    It may have improved relations with those people who are reasonably free of racial prejudice already, but it has galvanized the 21% who make up the far right Republican base to come out of their closets and speak openly in a racist way. The ones who already were racists are even more virulent in their hatred for blacks since having to accept an African American as president. Racism is not going away in this country any more than sexism is. They are both still facts of life in America.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  33. robert hill

    I think many in the country will tell you that the feel of the country is different. People are being nicer to each other,and more hopeful and helpful to each other. But its only been 100 days and some people specially republicans act like it should all be fixed already, if he is that good. But look around and you will see the difference.Its on people faces,the look in there eyes,and the tone of there voices.America is getting better!

    April 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  34. Jackie in Dallas

    CNN, where did my comment go?

    Personally I think the Obama family as a whole has had a tremendous effect on race relations. Here is a "normal" core family, with smart, articulate, and educated parents raising two smart, cute kids. Both President Obama and the First Lady came from middle class or lower middle class families, and worked their way through to advanced degrees from some of the most prestigious schools in the country. They are openly affectionate with each other and with their children, support each other, and in everyway are the antithesis of the bigoted view of the one-parent, welfare black family living in poverty, ignorance, and violence.

    As someone who spent the 60s and 70s working toward civil rights and women's rights, I am proud to see that my contribution, however small and humble, has led to such an accomplishment!

    April 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  35. Bob D of Morristown, NJ

    Jack,

    Obama was elected because he is articulate, personable, intelligent, likeable and on the propicious side of most issues. He also happens to be black, and as such as helped to overcome some of the black stereotypes held by some white Americans. The fact that he was elected by a mostly white electorate, despite his skin color, has helped some blacks overcome their opinions about the attitudes of whites towards blacks. It's all to the good, but we still have a long way to travel in this direction.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  36. Angela Tacoma Washington

    ACTUALLY... He proved himself during the election on race relations. The rest is up to us.He brought us together in ways that have never been done before. Simply we are living in in different times, with different ways and different people. It is no longer a black and white print, issue term,or people...

    April 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  37. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    President Obama has passed probation. His successes have been many. It is not what has been accomplished so far but rather the trajectory of what will be achieved in the near future. By fully implementing his plans for education, health-care, and energy, President Obama will do more to help race relations than any other President in U.S. history.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  38. Jane (Minnesota)

    big steps forward. He's not going to be able to please everyone, but I like the improvement that seems to have occurred.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  39. NYC REPUB Bx., NY

    Jack,
    God has a funny sense of humor.....he gave us a President who is the son of a black immigrant, and a white mother. with a splash of irish blood. He respects Muslims, and honors Jews (the sader he had on passover, the speech at the holocaust memorial). This man is so cultured, and has taught all races indirectly how to treat each other. No one race can claim him. We must all learn how to tolerate and appreciate our differences, as the human race. By the way I'm a 29 yr. old black guy from NYC.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  40. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    Those that have hated blacks now hate ever more virulently. The 99% of us that are normal have come to an understanding that we are one people; we are Americans and the only race on this planet is the human race.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  41. Jason, Koloa, HI

    President Obama hasn't done anything other than to be who he is. It's more the public reacting to the situation of being led by a black president that makes people feel warm and fuzzy. Most of the changes are merely superficial as proud as it makes minorities. Eric Holder was much more accurate in his comments.Until we are willing to delve into a deeper discussion of the racail issues of the past and present change will remain slow on racial progress.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  42. Donald in CA

    There seem to be inprovement, but the right wingers remind us that there are still a lot of folks who cant come to grips with a black president.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  43. vern livingston- anaheim,ca

    i think it has helped race relations alot but not with the hard line religous republican conservatives who continue to critisize him such as hannity beck and limbaugh anf fox news who say they are fair and balanced,thats not true they are unfair and unbalanced and never give president obama credit for anything.i watch cnn where i get much more fair and balanced news

    April 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  44. Betty---IN.

    In my area of town & work, I haven't seen any changes. I've lived in the same mixed neighborhood for 20 yrs. & the same good & bad apples are still here, regardless of skin color. I was taught all my life to not judge anyone by their race/nationally, but by ones actions.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  45. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    Obama is what happens when people, rightfully, look for the best person to represent them. He has never brought up race, because he wants to be able to stand on his own. He does it the right way and is a great example for all other minorities. He doesn't use race as an excuse, he doesn't use it as an entitlement, he presents himself as an American. He is a symbol of the changing times and that people are able to look past the trivial and inconsequential differences we have, and get to the core of the person.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  46. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I haven't seen any change for better or worse in race relations because personally I haven't been looking for any and don't intend to start looking. But if there is anyone who has a magic wand to improve this economy, race doesn't matter, just fix it.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  47. ken

    to Rod, being a white male from the south who voted for Obama, I don't think we are the one's that you have to worry about. It is those that still want to live in the 19th century all over the country that we need to bring up to date. most of the south voted democrat in the last election or don't you remember the election map.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  48. Conor in Chicago

    He's not black. His is malado (sp?). Either way I don't care. I'm from Chicago-arguably the most ethnically segregated place in the country. I don't think I know a single person around here that gave a damn about his race. And the ones I ran into who didn't like him would point out race but only in the context that he was also a left leaning communist Marxist anti-Christ blah blah blah. His being half black only made all of the other nonsense more believable to these people for some reason.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  49. jm for sc

    Jack,
    The election of President Obama has brought the hatred out of many who were hiding in all along. Many whites in the south ignored the results of the election. As we returned to work on November 5th 2008, there was a dead silence in regards to the election. Many pretended that it did not occur. Therefore, I would say his election has allowed many people who were fooled by their job title that they had made great advancement toward equality, to realize they were considered unequal all along.

    He is a great president and all who elects to look the other side, I say to them: "It's your loss."

    April 29, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  50. Tony IL

    Jack,
    I really don't see any change except that he is our first African-American President. The one thing that I don't understand is why the use of African-American President. Why not just say our first black American President. After all, he is a US citizen, not an African citizen. When other races are referred to, we don't use Irish Americans, German Americans,etc...we just use the word American. If the US Americans (black, white, Asian,etc) are to get past this whole race thing, then we as Americans need to use the one term, Americans to describe ourselves and leave out the individual ethnicities.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  51. Conor in Chicago

    I think for the most extreme he has actually made things worse. Being half black is bad enough to these people. But the name? Barrack Hussein Obama? As President? This guy is a white supremacists' dream come true. And it only takes a few extremists to do a lot of damage to a lot of innocent people

    April 29, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  52. Bill - St Louis MO

    Barack has never played the "race card", and this is a good thing, but I believe the older generation will need to die off before we start to see the progress being made. The younger generation are much wiser and don't seem to notice the difference in the ethnicity of folks, and this is a very good thing since the world is now a level playing field.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  53. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    People seem to be more accepting of eachother and finally are starting to get it that we are all human and children of God.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  54. Dave Smith, Oklahoma

    Personally, Im feelin more African everyday.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  55. Remo .............. Austin, TX

    Jack,
    Let's see:
    .
    Caucasian mother / Black father
    .
    Has everyone forgotten that?
    .
    Yet he's only thought of as black?
    .
    Now I'm not a racist, I'm just thinking he's a good politician spinning things to his advantage.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  56. don (in naples, florida)

    I don't see any change in race relations. Really i don't think the issue is an prevalent as it used to be. We have other more pressing issues that transcend race.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  57. Isabelle from Washington State

    Good Bless President Obama. He is an excellent representation of a sincere heart. We all benefit from his actions, no matter what skin color we are. He has touched the minds and hearts of all of us, and we are better for it.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  58. Beth - Waco, TX

    As Ken told Rod, I am an older while woman in the deep south who voted for President Obama, and the color of his skin was not an issue with me. He was simply the most qualified candidate for the job. Color has never been an issue with me; the way people behave is. The far right, "white supremists", who not only live in the south, are much more dangerous to our country's well being than the color of President Obama's skin.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  59. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    It continues to be a factor due to the fact that you media types keep it in the forefront! My question to the liberals and their media is. Why do you keep playing the race card? It;s old news to us except you for some reason want it ti be an issue! My opinion of President Obama has nothing to do with his RACE!

    April 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  60. Rich Monk

    Hey Jack,
    I know that our new President Obama and his family show not only all Americans, but the entire World exactly what Dr Martin Luther King had in mind when he said " Judge me not by the color of my skin but by the content of my character". President Obama shows us that real strength comes from knowledge, understanding, compassion and listening. I know that he is and will become a Great President to lead all Americans into the 21st Century.

    Rich Monk,
    Carlsbad, CA

    April 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  61. Alice

    !Yes and Yes ! We are in this race, The human race! Give him a chance ! President Obama has had the book trown at him. Who can catch better let me know?

    April 29, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  62. Jeff...Sarasota, Florida

    Jack,

    I'm not sure how much actual effect he has had to be honest... I guess the biggest thing is that he has deffinately shown me the people in my little world who are racist and who arn't by the way they refer to him... As far as I go, we are still mainly a racest country on the overall whole of things... When a healthy white male is the most discriminated against person in the work force because of the sheer fact he isn't considered a minority then that is a racest thing again white males... We went from black white segragation to ethnic segragation... African American, Hispanic American, Asian American etc...

    I am American... Born and raised in this country and have been around the world in the military and on my own travels and vacations, yet we are the only nation that segragates by ethinticity for the most part and that is what truly bothers me... UNTIL WE ARE ALL JUST AMERICANS there will always be a racist problem in this country... The biggest ptroblem I have with President Obama is that he is considered an African American... Why, why is he an African first and then an American... I believe if people feel they need to state they are another nationality before American, they need to leave and go the their FIRST CHOICE... I am sure this will get killed, but it is the truth and that is what usually happens with the truth, it gets suppressed by the masses in charge... I feel if we could all just be Americans, "by the people, for the people, of the people" and stick with "all men (and women) are created equal" this country would straighten out in no time......

    April 29, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  63. lynne from NC

    His effect on race relations has been good. I am not snurled over as much when I go out in public which is a good thing. It has brought about an openness that has not been seen before. But we're not there yet, like some of these people think. Yes it is better, but we're not at Dr. King's Promise Land yet. Heck, we're barely on the road.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  64. Emily-worcester ma

    I feel like America had only been long waiting for this time.....Judged by your own character not by your color of your skin!

    April 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  65. Jean

    President Obama only sees human beings – not colors or nationalities. This is what we should all be doing!! As for the people who are racist, they are two groups, 1. those who have been raised to hate from the beginning of their life on earth, 2 nd group are those who use it as an excuse because he is a Democrat President. I was raised for a very long time to treat another regardless of color, religiion or nationality the way I want to be treated and have many dear friends in all those catagories. Not surprisingly you'll find it makes a huge difference plus, you'll find great friendships on the whole with marvelous people who only want the same from you. OK

    April 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  66. Fay Tx

    1ST off I am a black woman that worked For a large firm for 25 yrs....we were like one big Family .....White, Black and Hispanic ,We had 2 or 3 maybe were set in their ways, I personally think the world would be a much better place without Sean Hannity,Rush, Ingraham and Coulter (Hate Mongers)...God Bless America and President Obama

    April 29, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  67. Luis in Phoenix, AZ

    It's given hope to the hopeless and disenfranchised minority community. He's proven that anything is possible, and everyone has a chance to succeed.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  68. Michael Fagan

    People of all races now feel part of the system, not just along for the ride. That makes people more concerned and more involved.

    Michael Fagan
    Slidell, LA

    April 29, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  69. T.D. Bolton

    Jack, I'm not so sure President Obama gets all of the credit for improving race relations. The people of the United States have spoken, by electing the first black president, thus, setting the ball in motion. Kudos to the people, they've spoken. Let's go U.S.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  70. Christian Haerle

    Hello Mr. Cafferty,

    I think it is almost a "chicken and egg" question.

    Sure, I think that the election of President Obama has improved race relations.

    But I also think that integration, voting rights acts, and other parts of "history" that improved race relations led to the possibility for this very qualified individual to become president.

    Race relations were improving before Obama became president. Perhaps they will improve more. It is all good.

    Christian Haerle
    Zurich Switzerland

    April 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  71. Arthur

    He has transformed race relations in the US, Jack. And he has done
    it with grace, wit, and charm. If the next 100 days is even close to the first 100 days we will be healing faster than I ever thought we could after the tragedy of the Bushies.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  72. james St. Petersburg, Florida

    As the first mulatto President I think race relations may improve under the equally white equally black man.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  73. Stephanie in Pittsburgh

    For the vast majority of Americans the Obama presidency has been a breath of fresh air in race relations in the country. For those who have been "quiet" racists, it is forcing them out from under their rocks so that the rest of us can confront them head on with a united front.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  74. BRUCE PALMER

    HI JACK!

    I honestly believe President Obama has IMPROVED race relations 100% in his first100 days...

    Bruce
    Rancho Mirage, CA.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  75. Lesley Yaniv

    What? He's black? All I can see is someone moving so fast to change things that my head is whipping back, forward and all the way round!

    I was brought up in apartheid S. Africa. I was super proud and happy when a black man became the President of the U.S.
    Now, all I see is a MAN (as opposed to the wimp who is no longer in the White House), doing his best to make things better!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  76. TOMMY A

    Liberal races seem to reach out more towards conservatives on a common goal for the country. However, the conservative loudmouths are damaging this effort.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  77. Terri - Tulsa

    I don't that President Obama has done anything specifically to affect race relations in this country. Sure, his father was African, but wasn't his mother white? That is probably the only thing SPECIFIC he has done, and that wasn't his choice! I know a lot of African Americans who would not consider him to be a member of their culture. And that is since his election. I personally have always felt that race relations would be better in our country if people simply looked at the heart of each other instead of the skin color.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  78. Ami

    Well for the Democratic Party it's been wonderful, but for Republicans, it's riled up animosity and in some cases have made deep seeded feelings of racism come to surface!

    When you take a look at FOX, I get the feeling that the likes of Glen Beck, Hannity and Company are trying to incite a race war. This is what I think Obama's presidency has done to those who hate seeing him in such a high office. However, I believe that there are more good people than bad, and Obama inspires the good to unite everyone, and open minded people can feel that and tend to embrace it!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  79. Big Red

    From the "red state" perspective, I see positive coinciding day to day contact with day to day fast food and other young people in jobs that were all white before. Maybe things are changing, at least here in my neck of the woods. Or is it just me?

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  80. Laurene

    As a middle age black women I have never had a problem with race until I moved to Southern Where there is so much hatered and racisim

    April 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  81. Jagan

    Before we get to race relations, has anyone cared to ask what the creation of this nation did to the Native Americans population ? An entire race was decimated and we are talking about White-Black relations? The blacks have gained everything this country has to offer – meanwhile, the original Blacks in Africa, with no stigma or cross to bear – where are they on the map ?

    J

    April 29, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  82. Ayoub Ghazanfari

    In general, I believe that race relations are improving. If Obama had lost in the presidential race, things would be very different. Having another white man as president beating an African American, we would have seen an increase in tension among the many ethnicities of the U.S. and who knows what might have happened. I am sure African Americans would have been heartbroken and things might have escalated negatively if there was a belief that something was afoul.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  83. Wendy

    I think this was a big step in race relations in this country. We voted for a President not based on the color of his skin. I am a black woman from Las Vegas and I have noticed a difference in white people; they let me know that they really like the first family.

    I think they see black families more positively now. Which was always there, they just didn't see it before.

    Las Vegas, NV

    April 29, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  84. Eric

    I agree that President Obama being elected was a historic day, but i have not seen a widespread change in race relations. Maybe because everyone is struggling with the economy, which should be the focus.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  85. Jack, Hinsdale, IL

    For many black & whites, it gives hope for improved relationships. It will of course never end, especially due to numerous black leaders that make a living at keeping racism alive with the NAACP, Miss Black USA, Black Pagents, Black American Idiol, etc. These people make a living at keeping America seperated. It may never end!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  86. javaar v.

    More and more we are learning to judge by the content of our character...led by our president

    April 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  87. Brittany

    Race... it exists yet is all too overrated. President Obama is the new symbol of change from the short-comings of our ancestors and parents. He has publicly shown the world that minorities are no longer less, yet equal and in publicly establishing as so, beckons an age of hope for a colorblind future.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  88. MarieinDelaware

    I feel as though President Obama has eased the relationship between the different races but not completely banish the barrier of people standing out for looking different. Let's hope the "honeymoon" going on in Washington, DC rubs off as long as it can on the race relations all over the country.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  89. David A Whitaker

    Jack this is David from Martinsburg, WV the day after the election there were a lot of tension at school. I think a lot of people was in shock from the results, however when reality set in people seem to come around. Well it doesn't seem that bad for President Obama, criticism to approval slowly.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  90. Patricia

    I believe Obama has driven a wedge between whites & blacks deeper than it has ever been. Any negative comment on him becomes an immediate comment from media that this is racism rearing it's head. I personally don't give a darn if he's purple, but I do give a darn that he thinks anyone expressing disapproval of him is "clinging to their guns & bibles". That says it all.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  91. Jean

    As an African American, I think that President Obama has managed to put the issue of race in our faces and force us to confront them head-on. Its hard to maintain negative stereotypes about African Americans when the President and the first family are African Americans. Finally, we are beginning to be seen as individuals rather than a monolithic group.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  92. Eric

    While the election has shown us that the U.S. is on it's way up the evolutionary ladder, I am reminded every day that Americans still have a long way to go. One day, I was walking through a parking lot while on my way to the train station when I walked past a white woman sitting in her car. True to her training, I heard the car doors lock as I walked by.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  93. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    Eracism. Don"t sell America short.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  94. Chikwe

    I am a black male from Chicago, the Presidents home city. I believe the only change which has taken place has been symbolic i.e. there is great symbolism that comes with President Obama in the Oval office. However, nothing has changed regarding the disparity between whites and blacks in terms of income, quality of neighborhoods, education etc...It is foolish to even imply that centuries institutionalized racism would even be marginally affected after only 100 days in office.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  95. Raymond Vallejo

    maybe your asking the wrong pepole.ask the 80%+ of or prison population who just happen to be Black.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  96. Nick E. from NY

    I believe that his election has thrown the issue of race out into the open. We have seen both an improvement in tolerance, and an increase in racism. This question in itself shows that people are racist. If racism was truly on the decline, would this question really be on here. Racism is something that is deeply rooted in American culture. Obviously, race relations have not improved to the extent as expected by the public. I think that time is the largest force that will improve race relations in this Country.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  97. RAjr

    In Texas an At my Company whites are very unhappy, An Voicing their opinion about having a Black Man as ARE president. I heard a co-worker talking About the good old white Days... Welcome to The LONE star state.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  98. John Lorrence

    The blacks are still killing white cops in Philly, still committing crimes at an alarming rate. i am sure the illegitimacy and illiteracy rates re still sky high amongst blacks. Difference? NONE.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  99. Brittany E - California Bay Area

    Race… it exists yet is all too overrated. President Obama is the new symbol of change from the short-comings of our ancestors and parents. He has publicly shown the world that minorities are no longer less, yet equal and in publicly establishing as so, beckons an age of hope for a colorblind future.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  100. RON

    Jack,

    I am a black man 62years old. I travel a lot and have seen a big difference in attitudes towards me from whites. I must admit that since the election my attitude towards whites have also changed.
    Wow, what a difference an election makes !!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  101. Bazz

    I believe that people of a moderate temperment see President Obama as a positve effect on race relations. Those people stuck in the outer edges of society that only want equality for their own kind will only see hate for anyone of different color, race or creed.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  102. Amit in San Francisco

    I think that black people in America are now unable to blame socioeconomic problems on American society. While it is true that black people face some challenges because of negative stereotypes, many black people further these stereotypes by committing crimes and disrespecting others. Since President Obama was elected, black people can no longer say that it is impossible for a black person to accomplish anything. They can no longer justify resentment, and that's why race relations are now improved. Just the fact that a black man is the president of the US proves wrong every black person who claims that society and the government are against them.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  103. Laurene

    Not in southern Il.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  104. george

    yesserrreeee the president being of color has helped greatly to improve race relations in this country. it couldent have occured at a better time.
    i still believe there is a long way to go but at least were moving in the rite direction wich had seemed to stall for the longest time.

    things have become so economicaly bad,now a pandemic it dosent matter if your white,black or brown or in between most of us know that we are all in this mess together and these issues are not sparing anyone................there is bigger fish to fry here..........and your neighbor shouldent be one of them.
    george
    chester,ct.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  105. Bill McGee

    His election has restored in ALL PEOPLE OF COLOR faith in America and symbolizes that MOST Americans really do believe the Constitution when it said ".. all men are created equal..." those on both sides who are dye hard racist have been relegated to the fringes of American society and are to be ignored like an obnoxious relative at a family reunion.. We the American family are moving on...

    April 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  106. Kal silver spring, md

    His greatest impact on this issues so far is that education, enlightenment and simple common sense can help to overcome even the most entrenched racial prejudices.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  107. Elizabeth from Pittsburgh, PA

    As a white person, I never looked at a black person or other minority and consciously thought "they'll never be president," but for some reason every time I see a child that belongs to an ethnic minority I imagine them growing up to be President. Same goes for young adults as well. Having talked to other people about this new outlook of mine, I sincerely believe that I'm one of many people who now consider that it's not just possible but entirely likely for nearly anyone to break barriers and go far in life. I don't believe the cause for this is simply Obama's race though - his story demonstrates that intellect is stronger than circumstance and anyone, no matter what socioeconomic OR ethnic classification they belong to, can achieve excellence.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  108. Karen

    Writing from Oklahoma.

    How thrilling to see equal rights and human rights make
    a comeback! It's about time this nation was run as a united
    nation for all, instead of one for those with their heads in 15th
    century sand.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  109. Ron from va

    I pray for the sake of this great country... that it has brought us all closer to one another

    April 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  110. Andy

    I think it's great that obama is black. He can use that as his excuse when this country goes down the toilet. It's a joke how much propaganda is going on with this guy right now. The posts on these blogs are getting deleted or censored left and right. Wake Up People.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  111. Johnny Martin

    I think Obama being president has brought us closer as a people. It could be because he's black or it could be because we finally have a president who gets the whole "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" thing. Either way, it's good to feel like an American again! God bless America!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  112. Emma O'Hearn

    Hello Jack,

    I think without a doubt, the President has changed the way America views race relations. By virtue of his being of African descent, he symbolically represents a new age for America, where the color of a person's skin remains just that... a color, a beauty in diversity.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  113. Joann Disher

    The President has demonstrated that differences and characterizations align along socio-economic-ethical lines, not race.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  114. Ken in Florida

    I have not seen any change whatsoever in race relationship, the racist are still here, some voted for Obama only because they had too due to the economy. Have you read the blogs lately, the racist are still here and proud, Fox News and republicans are still here. Hatred of others can not just wash away by one clean, my apologies for being so pessimistic...

    April 29, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  115. Dave in Savannah

    For most Americans this has been a liberating experience. Centuries of intolerance and ignorance have been stripped away. At least for most of us. There is no doubt in my mind that racism is at the very core of some of the far right's knee jerk rejection to everything our president tries to accomplish.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  116. Kathy McKenna

    Just his presence has affected us. Obama becoming president has opened many eyes, ears, and hearts. The fact that he' is our president has changed many point of views, the world becomes a stronger, better place.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  117. Kevin, Newark, Delaware

    Obamas message on Race Relations maybe subtle, but that hasnt been in the case in most places. As a college students, I have noticed more livelier debates and class participation from students in the past that never contributed. However, In the long run, In the 21st Centruy Obama willbe judged on his policies and how many are better economically as a result of his policies; In the same manner LBJ did with the Great Society.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  118. Dennis Garrison

    Mr. Cafferty,

    The nation as a whole was looking for a reason to let go of this prejudice. Both blacks and whites. Mr Obama is a wonderful facilitator. We are maturing as a nation albeit slowly.

    Dennis

    Sherman Oaks, Ca.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  119. rebecca lankeit

    In 100 days Obama did for the people of the world what every religious and or political doctrine has tried for THOUSANDS of years. This will become a new era for Western/ World civilization. Pax Obama!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  120. Stephen R. Collier

    I'd say one measure of how racism affects our national system is how that system works for each race. There are at least two important components for how an individual works within the system. The first is opportunity. The second is how individuals buy into and appreciate the system. I'd say that the election of President Obama really helps with minorities being willing to buy into the US system. It shows that there aren't impossible racial barriers at the highest level of our system. This translates into confidence in the system and minorities might not see so many obstacles when it comes to joining in with the system and aspiring to becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. The election of the President just washes away some of the doubts.

    Stephen
    Virginia Beach

    April 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  121. Kaitlyn McKenna from Neversink, NY

    Just his presence has affected us. Obama becoming president has opened many eyes, ears, and hearts. The fact that he’ is our president has changed many point of views, the world becomes a stronger, better place.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  122. Lawrence Devine

    President Obama has definitely improved race relations in our country. He and his wonderful family have set a wonderful example of acceptance and inclusion. I am proud of my country for having elected such an outstanding individual to the office of President. We can all take credit for bringing the promise of America to all people everywhere in the world. Freedom and justice for all.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  123. Ruben in Oregon

    Coincidence is that the percentage of people that say race relations since Obama's election is worse stands at 22%. The percentage of people that claim to be Republican is 21%. Many of the signs at the tea parties were Obama hate statements rather then policy statements.

    Race is still an issue with the same people that did not vote for Obama because he is black. The rest of us 75%-80% know this is a new day and better day! Make that a new and better 100 days!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  124. Charles Davis

    President Obama has helped put blacks and whites on an equal footing by ignoring the issue of race. This is a refreshing change from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who nearly embody the old joke about being a disgrace to the Negro profession. Those two don't have any other visible means of financial support.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  125. Cecil Lopez/Portland,Oregon

    He will be considered one of the "Giants" that future generations will refer to as one of many along the way to giving people of all races equal footing. Generation by generation things are changing for the better, but the journey is still a work in progress. I suppose when the generations that have experienced deep prejudice/racism, whichever end they were on are gone, things will change in earnest.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  126. Ed from Montana

    Because he gets so much TV time I think a lot of americans seeing such an example of an articulate, value-based, and intelligent representative of the African American male has go to have helped negate some of the Hollywood based sterotypical view of all blacks as criminals and drug dealers. It's unfortunate, but too many people form their opinions based on characters in 24 and CSI and the like, rather than real people.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  127. Marilyn L.

    In my heart, I am certain he was predestined to be exactly where he is at this point in time. We are blessed to have him as our leader

    April 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  128. Yvette in New Jersey

    Yes, I used to feel at times when I visited certain places that some communities had never come in contact with minorities. I now feel that with an African American president everyone knows we are relevant and should be recognized and treated equally in all areas, especially in the hiring and promoting in corporations, college coaching;, politics and helping the the desperate state of education for low income kids in urban areas.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  129. Kimberley from Texas

    President Obama's election renewed the spirit of the country with regard to race relations. Hope has been restored for African Americans and optimism is spreading throughout America. After being virtually ignored for the last 8 years, most Americans feel that we are all in this mess together. It's going to take a collaborative effort, engaging everyone, in order to achieve the American dream. Together we stand divided we fall.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  130. Teronda

    As a black woman I feel the races have become less afraid of each other and are ready to put the past behind us so we can ALL move forward as AMERICANS, who love this country dearly...except of course the fraction of Amer-republicans who may never embrace change in their world.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  131. Nancy from Houston TX

    Jack – All my life I have never judged people by the color of their skin, which as a child growing up in central Texas during the 50's was difficult to do. I admire and applaude President Obama for his open attitude and his kindness in reaching out to others, not only in our country but around the world. One of my first opinions of our President was he has very kind eyes. My grandmother used to say you could tell a person's temperment by the eyes. This man reaches out to everyone as a human being first, in kindness and with a willingness to extend a hand of friendship and understanding. The world could use a lot more of his kind. BTW... I read the exerts from your new book. Cant wait to get it!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  132. Kristie, SC

    President Obama has clearly made a statement by being elected as the first African-American president. Just by doing this he has brung all of us closer. To me he has been effective in race relations because he has related to everyone just by being who he is. His mother is white and his father is African and his sister is of Asian heritage. He does succeed in reaching out to every race just by being him. He shows respect to everyone.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  133. Sandra Gilpin

    Obama has helped this nation have an open conversation about race. I am 76 years old and I thought I had dropped all my bigotry. I voted for Obama, and he has been able to show me that I have some more growing to do.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  134. Shirley Marshall

    Obama transcends race....he is a transforming figure that sets an example for humanity at large. He is raising the bar...for a new, high standard of political leadership. It is the antithesis of the gutter politics that has been the status quo and made "politician" a dirty word..

    April 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  135. Johnny Martin

    I think Obama being president has brought us closer as a people. It could be because he’s black or it could be because we finally have a president who gets the whole “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” thing. Either way, it’s good to feel like an American again. God bless America!
    Johnny Martin
    Cincinnati OH

    April 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  136. Roger B

    As a person of color,I submit that Pres. Obama's actions have set blacks back in their fight for progress. Obama's lack of backbone, his double-speak on many issues and his less than presidential profile, will insure that he will be the last person of color to be elected for a hundred years or more. As bad a G. W. Bush may have been, he at least knew how to behave in a dignified manner. Obama should read Miss Manners of MS Post. From me he gets a "D".

    April 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  137. John Wright

    Whoa Jack slow down,

    I think things have the potential to improve but corporate America was particularly harsh towards African American men during the Bush years. It seemed as though white men, in particular, were emboldened to slight minorities, particularly the ones that were bright, smart (degreed), well spoken, and ambitious. Luckily we have reverted to stage where people actually have to work and earn their way so I think things will get better.

    There’s no better remedy for race relations than a deep, indiscriminate recession.

    John Wright

    April 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  138. robin

    Absolutely! Thank God it's about time.
    I was lucky enough to go to mixed schools in Alexandria, Va and my parents never used nasty words, they always had different ethnic friends. I learned not everyone is going to like you or you I may not care for someone but it's not about your race

    April 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  139. Mandy, TX

    Jack, President Obama has made older people stop thinking and looking at people because of their race. Our parents use to always ask, what race is the person, the teacher, or the coach when we tell them about something that happened. Today, they don't let that be their focused. POTUS is bringing everybody together but the GOPs.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  140. K.A

    Dear Cafferty,

    My name is K.A. and I really don't think that President Obama has made a differeence in race relations. About 3 weeks agao, I went to Utah and what I saw there was unbelievable. It was like living during the sixties because of the racism I saw there. For example, the police in Provo use racial profiling and kids calling other kids the "n" in the streets and school grounds. Moreover, they have more young black men in the jails than any state I know. That's not the idea of racial harmony in this country.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  141. Buz/UK

    Jack, President Obama has done what needed to be done, he has been able to lift America above the receding tide of racism, not by legeislation but by inspiration. You cannot legislate unity, you cannot legislate harmony, respect or the whole concept of brotherhood but you can inspire it. Obama has done just that!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  142. DAVID RICHARD, Houston, TX

    Jack, where do you get your questions from? As far as I know, The President has improved race relations since his inauguration. Iam very confident now as an african american.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  143. Hector Huertas

    Jack, it seems that when talking about Pres. Obama everybody keep labeling him as "African-American", especially the media. Somehow his white side (mother) is left out of the equation. Why can it be said "the first President of mixed race"?, that's what he is. Not long ago in the Oprah Winfrey show Tiger Woods refused to say that he is black. He felt that in doing so he would be leaving his mother out, and that he will never do that. And that's what the media is doing to President Obama.

    Hector
    Texas

    April 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  144. Gerry Walsh

    It's very interesting to me that so much emphasis has been given to the fact that President Obama is black. If there were equal emphasis on his being of mixed parentage, maybe the polarization over this would be even lower. Here we have a man who equally represents both races and by our interest in that, we could, perhaps, influence more whites who may have chosen to pay attention only to his African parentage. He brings to all of us the the kindness and wisdom that gives us a chance to identify with him-not because of his race but because of his humanity.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  145. Norm Greenstein

    When I see a black teenager I now think that he or she can someday be President.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  146. John from Alaska

    President Obama has proved that Dr. King was right. We must judge others not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  147. Joseph

    Jack, in one respect it has. It has been made clear to all people, finally, that hard work can get you anywhere in this country. Obama's victory was in many ways the ultimate victory of the civil rights movement, and its meaning is still hard to comprehend in the context of wider American history. On a less positive note, however, there are still plenty of racists out there, as the Tea Parties revealed. If you were dumb enough to be a racist before November 4th of '08, you're probably not much smarter today. Things have gotten better, but plenty of people in this country still need to grow up.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  148. Wanjohi, Delaware

    President Obamas effect on Race Relations will be felt in a greater impact down the line, for now we are sowing th seeds. Minorities have the lowest graduation rates among high school and college students. In the 20th Centruy it was about race, in the 21st Century its about the economics and how many people are better as a result of Obamas Policies towards cancer, education, environment and competitive education system.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  149. Bianca

    Being a young African-American woman i feel as though for the first time i'm not looked up as a stereotype as being a black woman who happens to be a angry, lazy, loud-mouth, argumentive flousy. Not only that but also for the first time of my life not only do i see myself as a proud american but i'm also starting to look at myself as just a american instead of a black american. Also surprisingly a lot of people are actually taking me seriously and there will even be a lot of non-black men starting to approach me, jack if you think about it i'm not getting a obama effect , what i'm really getting is a michelle obama effect.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  150. Phyl

    There is a flood of TV Commercials featuring black actors. A sign of grabbing the black business trade or giving the black actors and even field???

    April 29, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  151. glenn , southeast-texas

    Jack , it's a good news bad news scenario . good news in that this country made it possible for the " change " with the vote-before the President was elected-it wouldn't have happened if the country wasn't ready . bad news : could it be that the Bush-Cheney organization made this country think " anything would be better " than what we've been dealing with . by the way , i voted for this president because he appears to be the closest person to a statesman i've seen since Kennedy and Carter . Glenn–Southeast , Texas

    April 29, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  152. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I can't say I've noticed any difference here in GA.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  153. Chas Hardy

    I feel that race relations are not better. Americans need to understand that President Obama is not 100 % African American. I don't think it's fair that the media refers to him as African American when he is 50% Cauacasian and 50 % African . How can race relations be better when this is so. Americans need to understand that just because his skin is brown he is not African American when his mother is Caucasian. The one drop rule dose not exist anymore ! Until Americans see this maybe race relations will get better.

    Chas

    April 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  154. William Brown

    We have to realize that Obama isn't the only reason we've become closer as races, it's been coming for a long time. If you will notice, whites have made stronger strides towards equality than any other race. Some of us have been trying to abolish slavery since the 1800's, while some countries in Africa and Asia and even as close as South America have continued to subscribe to slavery, even to this day. If given a closer look, one would see that white people were the first to say that slavery is wrong. Regardless, race is only an adaptation to climate of region and the sooner people realize that, the sooner we acknowledge the fact that we are all of the same race. I'm "white" but if I go outside for a few hours, I become red... imagine a few hundred years... or a few thousand... My descendants would eventually be as "black" as Cedric the Entertainer. (I love your work Ced).

    April 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  155. Marv

    Yes it has. The Affirmative Action Program (as I understand it) was because African Americans could not rise to high positions. Now that an African American is President, this program is no longer needed.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  156. Linda Sturgeon

    I'm pinky white, and thought it was interesting that I notice people's features more – the color of skin has blended into the 'background' of my perception. I think it's because I really 'saw' Obama – his features (skinny head, funny ears, and a beautiful smile) and it's carried over to my 'seeing' others now more. I think this is very relevant in that maybe black or brown people may be 'seeing' whites more as 'a little funny looking' too – in a good way – really noting their features and looking into their eyes. I hope we all start 'seeing' each other as individuals without color with a ton of humanity in common. Obama also has beautiful sincere eyes.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  157. B Coleman

    Jack, there will always be some people who will not change. People who are excessively negative can not and will not accept any thoughts or actions that is not negative. Positive thinking people may not agree on a number of things, but we will atleast respec the opinions of others. Even the opinion of extremely negative people.
    By the way, I really enjoy you. Especially your crush on our First Lady !

    April 29, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  158. charles

    to put this question in proper context, you have to ask, what effect did the first black(N.F.L.) quarterback have on race relations, jackie robinson, the first black U.S. Senator, you get my drift. I guess the real question should be put to Caucasian-Americans,how do they feel about having a black president and, does this erase those long held perceptions that, black people are intellictually inferior.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  159. Larry Trainor

    Jack, I am a long-standing, but, former Republican. Obama is the first Democrat that for whom have ever voted. I am white and have begun attending a black church where there are only two or three other whites. All of us were very excited about his election and thrilled with the inauguration. I am from the midwest, but am now living in the South. Obama is good example of how we all should treat each other. Unfortunately, the Southern Republicans are out of touch and present a poor example of how we should treat each other. Despite my being upset with Rush and the rest of the Radical Right, I find the fact that Senator Spector was forced to switch parties due to the actions and attitudes of so many Republicans, to be indicative of the coming demise of the party. It started with Gingrich, the end as a national party may be in sight. "This" is NOT MY REPUBLICAN PARTY that I knew back in the 50's!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  160. Jo Santa Cruz, CA

    We're all learning quite a bit about racism. Especially in the reverse. It has become apparent that if you don't agree with everything Obama does, then your a racist. I like to think thats not the message the Obamas had in mind, but there it is. I'm afraid it might've been too soon for this important vote and as it stands I'm sorry to say, I regret my vote. Looking back, experience would've served us better than this kind of change

    April 29, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  161. ammy

    THe President is not Black, he is of mixed race. People tend to forget that.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  162. Larry Richards

    The hard core racists and white supremacists will never change their minds. Everyone else will probably have their minds changed in someway.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  163. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    I have only to look at my eighth grade class picture from 1958 to see the advances, albeit slow, that we've made in our racial opinions.

    Herbert stands out in the crowd of us white-skinned, upper middle-class students – and he would not have been there had not his parents come from Ethiopia for graduate studies.

    Herbert's mother gave us some of us a seminar in anthropology.

    At that time, adults feared the encroachment of minorities from the central city slums into our 'pristine' affluent neighborhood.

    Two years earlier, my family told me another friend would get the sheets dirty and refused to have me invite him to stay with us over a holiday from a private school.

    Unfortunately, there's still a 'hidden racism' that does not appear to anyone because it happens in private situations, like whenever a dark-skinned person looks for a decent home and gets told a 'white lie' – that the house has already been rented or sold.

    Racism, unfortunately, remains latent here, even after years of progress. In public, its rosy; in private, its still thorns.

    Bernie
    Lowell, MA

    April 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  164. Joe Putnam

    This country's talking about Obama's effect on race relations like he has a big red "S" on his shirt and always talk about him as being an "African"- American. Have we all forgotten that he is half white? Why isn't anybody patting THAT side of his back?!!!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  165. Lynn from Long Island

    President Obama has done for race relations what Jackie Robinson did for one of the nation's favorite pastimes- Baseball. He and Jackie Robinson broke color barriers . Both did it with class and humility. Both have made history. Both have changed the face of America by adding color to a picture which was lawfully made either black only or white only. President Obama has moved race relations forward by he himself stressing the importance of one's character and vision for America rather than the color of one's skin. In addition , his election has brought the topic of race to the forefront of American politics in a way that has not been addressed since the civil rights movement.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  166. Cheryl

    Obama could not have been elected without a large number of white votes. I think that has made blacks understand that the vast majority of whites are not racist. Yes, there still are a few white bigots ( we call them Republicans ) but they are not mainstream anymore.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  167. Brenda - NC

    While there is no delusion that things have changed overnight or overall economically and politically for minorites in general, and African American in particular...pscyhologically people of color have gotten a boost from Obama's presidency that helps us all in that we (people of color) are feeling less defensive and less angry right now. For the first time many of us feel more inclined to call ourselves "Americans" who also happen to be of African descent.... This is good for all of America because it encourages the constructive use of our energy... working together... rather than fighting.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  168. Susan - Plano, TX

    Jack,

    I think Obama inspires us to look to the flesh and blood of a person instead of the color of his or her skin.

    He helps us to focus on our common needs; black, white and yellow.

    He transforms discrimination to power that is equally shared by us all.

    Susan
    Plano, TX

    April 29, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  169. BRENDA ebonitia NERO

    A discussion I had with an AUSSIE consultant led me to rethink Obama's effect on race relations. We discussed the bi-racial community's claim to him. In the minds of some, Barak Obama is not black–he is bi-racial. The Social Studies teacher in me strongly felt the need to educate my new Australian friend. MINI LESSON: All African-Americans are bi-racial. However, the term "mulatto" is no longer politically correct. I can only assume that the "color," and status, of the uterus he issued forth from has made him "racially significant" and seriously different from say - Frederick Douglas.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  170. AndyB

    You would think having a black president, even if he has no clue what he's doing, would slow the amount of crime down but that doesn't seem to be helping. This seems to be a loose – loose situation. He is destroying this country and our economy which is going to drive crime up.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  171. Kirsten, GA

    Jack,

    I think it is the same effect he has on evertthing else. He doesn't talk the talk, he walks the walk. He doesn't have time to deal with race relations because he's living by example. If you want to know the state of Black America, look in the White House. That's your first clue.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  172. B.Greenfish66

    Obama gets an "A" ....But I been known to give A++..Best pres ever...

    C+ is a good over all balance given his stance on the issues..

    April 29, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  173. Colleen G., The Woodlands, TX

    Obama has done an OK job. It isn't the greatest, but it's not the worst either. I give him a B+ because he hasn't sparked any major firestorms. He changed the rules to his democratic standard, and that's about it for the first 100 days. Big woop!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  174. Faye

    Jack, Obama has done wonders o there's still the die hards they will always be with us.But i must say i have been getting smiles with teeth from white brothers and sisters of course i keep my pearly whites on display.........Faye SC

    April 29, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  175. Sherry, N. Calif.

    No.
    I think America has come to grips with it's own attitude of the past mistakes it has made. America is in process and has forgiven itself finally. We have moved on as a Nation. I am proud to be a part of the United States of America with or without the Republicans! I am grateful that human beings of any color or race has a chance to improve themselves in our country. There are some things we need to work on but in good time. "Rome was not built overnite."

    April 29, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  176. David in Germany

    The fact that Obama was elected at all speaks volumes for the change of race relations in the U.S. As an 11 year old I attended a segregrated school in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1960, as my father attended the military college there. I was often harrased by my schoolmates for talking to black kids and once or twice came home with a bloody nose. I think the non-blacks who defended improved relations between blacks and whites deserve an applause.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  177. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    I do not think president Obama has sensitive skin when he refers back to comments from republicans...au contraire...I think he knows he is better off addressing directly the question that stays in people's mind once they have been put out there by others!

    April 29, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  178. Ken in Florida

    Fox News is still operating, the Republican are still 21% of this country population, the Tea Party protectors are still walking around full of hate towards all thing Obama aka Black, Rush is still hating on Mexican, the right wing nuts are buying more guns because they getting ready for a civil war, and Texas is still part of the union... The Racist Are Still Alive, it is not Obama's job to fix racial problem in this country, it is a education problem,a integrity problem, a generation problem, a close minded problem, and a self hating problem ....

    April 29, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  179. Bertha in SC

    Enough bashing the South. What's the difference in prejudice based on race and prejudice based on geographical region – none. I'm a 60 year old white woman who was born and raised in SC. I don't ride around with a deer strapped to the hood of my pickup. I don't have a pickup. I drive a Cadillac. I'm an Independent. I did not vote for Bush. I am a 100% supported of Obama. I can't stand Sanford, DeMint and Graham. I didn't vote for them either. The Republicans have displayed a lack of maturity and a multitude of absurd behaviors. These comments about "the South" show a lack of maturity also. And to answer the question, yes,Obama has improved race relations by being himself. Examples speak louder than words.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  180. Louise in Alabama

    He knows he is Mulatto. I think I am Caucasian. Most Asians know they are Asian. But Africa is where it all began according to skulls found by anthropologists. So I would say all humanoids started with some common denominator, then just decided to part ways. Maybe we are all just one big family but decided one day that we just did not like each other.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  181. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Republicans are good at labelling...they should maybe reconsider their job since labelling is usually done in a grocery store...!:>)

    April 29, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  182. Jack David

    Where I work I heard a loud argument betweeen two women, one black, one white. The white lady expressed her disappointment with Obama. The black lady argued that he would need more time to undo "eight years of Bush!" In spite of this lively argument, I'd say race relations here are pretty good, overall.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:52 pm |