How much has America's first black president changed race relations?
May 7th, 2012
03:35 PM ET

How much has America's first black president changed race relations?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite the election of America's first black president more than three years ago, the nation still has a long road to travel when it comes to race relations.

The New York Times reports that race remains a powerful factor among a small minority of voters - particularly in poor areas with a lot of white working-class people.

That includes places in the battleground state of Ohio, where a few votes could make a big difference.

In 50 interviews in one such Ohio county, five people raised race directly as a reason they will not vote for President Obama. Some of them said the only reason the president won in 2008 is because many blacks voted for the first time.

Others didn't mention race directly, but indirectly hinted at suspicions of Obama's background and faith.

The president recently described race in America as still "complicated." He says he never bought into the idea that the country was entering a post-racial period by electing him.

Maybe so - but a lot of people did. More than half of Americans in 2008 said that race relations would improve as a result of Obama's election.

Fast forward to 2012 and that view has changed dramatically.

A recent Newsweek poll shows only 32% believe race relations have improved under President Obama, while nearly 60% say race relations have either stayed the same or gotten worse. Whites are especially critical of Obama in this department.

Some suggest racism surfaces during tough times like the recession, high unemployment or the wars overseas - and can serve as an excuse for social anxieties.

Here’s my question to you: How much has America's first black president changed race relations?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Pete in Florida:
As a 68-year old white male living in the South, I have never before heard such a constant, daily stream of ugly and overt racist remarks as what I now hear every day from other whites. It is scary just how much so many whites just flat out HATE Obama and his family, and by extension, virtually all other blacks.

Richard in Texas:
Actually with some of the things he has said and done Obama has hurt race relations more then he has helped them. Saying that the white police officers "Acted stupidly" when they arrested his friend Professor Gates at Cambridge. After all the racial tension over the shooting in Florida, Obama makes a comment like, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon Martin" which helped to create even more tension. When the president speaks some people listen and if he says something inflammatory he can spark flames.

The president can not change race relations as long as there are the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Whenever there is any type of race controversy in the news, they can't get to the microphones fast enough to spew the racial hate they are so famous for. Before relations can improve, the microphones must be taken away from them.

S. in Florida:
Living in the south, Jack, I'd have to say that in the long run, Obama's presidency may speed up the natural evolution and improvement of race relations. But in the short run, it's been just plain ugly here in the Deep South. The open racism since 2008 has been jaw-dropping. Almost like it came back into vogue. It's eased up a bit, but I've lost a lot of respect for a lot of lifetime friends.

John in Watertown, Massachusetts:
I really don't believe that they have changed that much. Black people were thrilled that Obama was elected along with an obvious majority of whites. Unfortunately, there are still many in this country who claim they despise the president because of his policies when, in fact, it's a pigment of their imagination.

soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Obama who is 50% white has made no difference in race relations. It is have proven that 99% of blacks will tolerate anything a black president does just because he is black on the outside. I think it makes it impossible for a white candidate to get even 1% of the black vote.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  2. Russ in PA

    Certainly made it worse, and the MSM helps by distorting the facts to their own ends. So what else is new in such a "free" and "prosperous" country?

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    May 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  3. Pete in Georgia

    Our esteemed leader has worsened race relations beyond compare. He has blatently set a course in every area of government to "Get even with Whitey". There isn't a news agency that will admit this or go anywhere near it but most Americans know what they see with there eyes. Obama knows full well that he has unlimited protection in the media on this delicate subject and he uses this "Shield" to his full advantage.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  4. Randy

    Not one bit. The rich, corporations and politicians will roll out wedge issues like race, abortion, gay marriage, and religion anytime they think the middle class and poor have caught onto the game of rob and pillage that they engage in. It's the ignorant masses that keep believing this nonsense from corporate media that's the real problem.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Gary in San Jose, California

    I don't see much change in race relations. The bigots I know are still bigots. The African American's I know do seem to have more confidence since Obama's election and that's a good thing. Don't we all want a better future for our children?

    May 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  6. patricia, Detroit

    His election by alot of white people indicates race relations were good. His welcome mat for illegal criminals and their votes did not help race relations, and Michelle's Spanish trip with a planefull of friends, at taxpayer expense did even more harm.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  7. John from Alabama

    Jack: The conversation about race relations has changed, because President Obama is an Africian-American. The fact that his mother was white and stressed education is profound. He is a black man with an excellent education who is likeable personality. His wife and children are a big plus in his life, and in his political life. His family is very important to him, and the role model for young black men is outstanding. Yes, President Obama has changed the conversation on race relations for the better.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  8. Bill of New Mexico

    I haven't noticed Obama doing much for race relations. I think because Obama considers himself black that Obama bends over backwards to avoid standing up for minorities.

    Obama burned all of his so-called "political capital" up early in his first administration when Obama decided on a troop surge in Afghanistan.

    You have to go a long ways back to find a president quieter about helping minorities than Obama.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  9. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    For those who were prejudice before president Obama took office, are more prejudice and hateful now that Obama is our president. But for me and many others we don't see a black man as our president. We see a very smart man as our president who is fighting hard for the average citizen, while the Republicans in Congress do everything they can by setting on their back sides doing nothing to make Obama look bad, not because they are racists but because they favor the 1% and will do everything in their power to protect the 1%.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  10. Colleen in Omaha Nebraska

    The racists have come crawling out of the woodwork since President Obama was elected. Due to their irrational fear and hatred of anything not them, their campaign of hatred has increased.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  11. tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    90%. White America is proud to live up to the promise that a man is judged by the content of his character and not the color of his skin. Black America is proud because the darkest president we've ever had is looking like the greatest president we've ever had. The shades between are proud to see that anyone can run for president, if during our Second Great Depression a vulture capitalist can. What a country!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Doug Ericson

    On a National basis, I don't know how you would measure it. Are predominately white suburban neighborhoods becoming more integrated? I don't know. But that would be a clue. If Blacks were rising in income class that would mean more exposure to the white community. My guess is the trend is positive but slow. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  13. Jerome, Burlingame CA

    I don't think it has done much of anything positive. I myself am a biracial male in my late 20's and I live in an affluent neighborhood. About once or twice a week I get some type of reminder of my non-white status. Weather the police who look at me twice, people locking their cars, or even random shouts out of windows. Keep in mind I live in the SF bay area where we are supposed to be "tolerant"

    May 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  14. JIM

    The president can not change race relations as long as there is the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. These two individuals have done more to harm race relations, through their hate speeches whenever there is any type of race controversy in the news, than all of the race riots of the last 45 years. Both can't seem to get to the microphones fast enough to spew the racial hate they are so famous for. Before relations can improve greatly, the microphones must be taken away from them. When that happens, then we can begin to come together as a people.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  15. Gerry

    Obama has had a profound impact on race relations and all of it negative. While several of my black friends totally supported him it was only for his color not his values or agenda. Unfortunately we will still be playing catch up on race relations long after he is out of office.

    Ash Fork, Az.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  16. Dave R

    Since Obama has not focused on race issues, the impact has been mainly indirect. He should inspire people of minorities by example. You may disagree with his politics, but no one can argue that he isn't successful.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  17. Joe Johnson from Eustis Fl

    It has changed alot but not for the better. They have used and I believe will use the race card in the extreme in this campaign season. It is the race and class war strategy to conquer is to divide is to distract from there failed policies. They will continue to blame Bush for the economy and claim the things he set in order that have succeeded as there own!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  18. Ed from California

    Has it? Has his election change anything? His election has made the crazies come out of the woodwork....and it seems that we have a lot of crazies, too!! Everything at FOX"News" is all about hate. Rush-bo was and still is about hate. Look at Ted "The Poacher" Nugent, he's all about hate (possible cause,too much "medicinal" marijuana). All the Wrong-wing talks about is hate. I've never seen anything like this before. Perhaps, the blame is lack of education....but who's fault is that? We have to keep our eye on the ball and stop buying into what the 1% is trying to sell us......that we are all going to be rich!! It's never going to happen.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  19. Gerry Iowa

    Not at all. And is it up to him. I receive on my email the most hateful racist remarks against President Obama. Picturing him and his parents as monkeys. At Easter the email had him by Jesus on cross as a the lying thieve. I go to a senior center where racist remarks are common. And all most half are "birthers". My only hope is the younger generation, by watching President Obama,., learns to not judge people by the color of their skin.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  20. Gary H. Boyd

    Realistically, and sadly, he's widened the gap between blacks and whites. His Robin Hood "take from the rich and give to the poor" attitude doesn't improve race relations, it highlights the disparity between those that have a strong work ethic and those that do not.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  21. Richard Texas

    Actually with some of the things he has said and done Obama has hurt race relations more then he has helped them. Saying that the White Police Officers "Acted stupidly" when they arrested his friend Professor Gates at Cambridge. After all the racial tension over the shooting in Florida Obama makes a comment like, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon Martin" which helped to create even more tension. When the president speaks some people listen and if he says something inflammatory he can spark flames. These are real peoples lives he is speaking out about not his political foes.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  22. Phyllis G. Williams

    How much has America's first black president changed race relations?

    They realize that they have a white lady's son as President
    and "dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3: 19).
    We are 1 Body, 1 Spirit, 1 Hope, 1 Lord, 1 Faith, 1 Baptism, 1 God
    and Father of All, above All, through All, and in us/You All (Ephesians 4: 4-6).

    May 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  23. Gary Batha

    Martin Luther King if he were only alive today. He would see more discrimination created by the black leaders such as Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and of course Obama. All of them take a situation and amplify the it out of proportion from reality creating more discrimination between blacks and whites. Obama listens to Sharpton would loves listening to himself talk. Making decisions without consideration of the truth. We need to get true leaders in this country that look out for the people rather than themselves.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  24. calaurore9

    On the one hand, not so much. It has brought out all the crazies who were hiding under rocks. On the other, it must give kids of color a lot more inspiration and dare I say hope for their prospects.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    May 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  25. JM from DFW

    Only God can change race relations, if we live in the spirit.
    We need to look in the mirror and ask ... are we one nation under God?

    Barack Obama mother is reported to be Caucasian, father African, he happens to be a brother with a tan and
    in spirit a child of the most high God. He has done nothing to damage race relations.

    On the other hand the foul spirit of america's past continue to encourage and control the uneducated with promises of returning to the good old days (when economics separated America).

    Only when people are born again and accept Jesus, and apply the word of God in all they do for life, then race relations will change.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  26. Brad, Portland, OR

    Having a black President certainly gave the racists the opportunity to climb out from underneath their rocks and gather en masse to spew their bile. Think Tea Partiers, who have some legitimate grievances about how things work, but couldn't be bothered to organize while Bush was President, but immediately organized once Obama became President.

    Even professional politicians like Mitch McConnell said right after Obama was elected that their main job in life was to make Obama a one-term President. Not to fix the economy or create jobs. Just to get the black guy out of the White House.

    When Obama was elected President, a lot of us thought racism was a thing of the past, and we had achieved a post-racial society. But it turned out that the racists weren't really gone, but had just gone underground.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  27. Mark in BC NV

    Remember when Obama was running for the presidency and he said "she's just your typical white person" about his grandmother? Well Obama is your typical black person who doesn't take responsibility for anything. Look at all the black unwed mothers out their who aren't getting any child support from their children's fathers. And yet, JJ and Sharpton will blame the "man" for all the dysfunctional happenings to the black community in America.
    When will all blacks, and I'm sterotyping here, own up to their responsibilities in society? Shameless and yet, we have one as our president. Allen West or Herman Cain are above all this, they would have made great presidents!

    May 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  28. Kim , Dodge City, Ks

    Having a president of mixed race has exposed the level of hate and racisim that exists in this country, especially on the conservative right. Race relations are not worse than they have been, it's just that now the racists have come out in the open to declare their hatred of anyone who is not like them. If Obama fails to be elected to a second term, then I fear we will be sent back to the tensions of the fifties or sixties among non-white communities. Racisim will return ten-fold with a conservative administration.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  29. clephas

    The sad thing is, it hasn't significantly changed racial relations... in actual fact, it could be said that some of the problems that were hidden before have come the surface as racist groups have aligned themselves more or less with the GOP under the banner of the 'Tea Party' and 'conservatism'.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  30. John J. Grimes Watertown, Ma.

    I really don't believe that they have changed that much. Black people were thrilled that Obama was elected along with an obvious majority of whites. Unfortunately, there are still many in this country who claim they despise the President because of his policies when, in fact, it's a pigment of their imagination

    May 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  31. Mel - Houston

    It has just pulled the scab off an old wound.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  32. R.A.Charles

    The question is unclear. Are you asking what the president has done himself, or what the presence of the president done within American society? If it is the former, then I would have to ask why is this a question that is important to ask of this president? While a few previous president's may have addressed race relations during their presidency, if they had not no one would have asked this question. Asking this question without context only minimizes the need for understanding the burden that "minorities" must carry into everything they do. They are the only people that have the unwritten line on any job description of being the ambassador to race relations. Now, If it is the latter question, I would have to point to the veiled hatred that has moved from the quiet conversations of those who take issue with the rise of African Americans or any other "minority," to the overt, illogical, adversarial, and often unfounded rhetoric that is being called news (from certain stations). While the election of the first African American president is a laudable step in the torrid racial history of our country, it sadly must be acknowledged that it has flipped the country over and exposed the ugly underbelly that lies on the very foundation of racial intolerance that was present from the first non-indigenous visitor to the shores of the Americas. There has been progress, but there is still a long way to go.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  33. Bob in Florida

    The fact that he was elected shows the country has progressed in recent years.

    Unfortunately, his liberal agenda has rubbed many the wrong way and that allows the racists to rant about his politics without admitting they're against him for racial reasons as much as for what he has (or hasn't) done.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  34. s in fl

    Living in the south, Jack, I'd have to say that in the long run, Obama's presidency may speed up the natural evolution and improvement of race relations, but in the short run, it's been just plain ugly here in the deep south. Apparently the "closet" racists just "weren't ready". The open racism since 2008 has been jaw-dropping. Almost like it came back into vogue. It's eased up a bit, but I've lost a lot of respect a lot of lifetime friends.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  35. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    I'd like to be able to say that people are more receptive to others regardless of race but that is not the case. Just watch the news in any major city and most crimes are being committed by people who happen to be black. There is a tremendous fear of most minorities and to some degree rightfully so. He can't change others.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  36. Pete in Florida, formerly Georgia

    OBAMA has not changed race relations at all, but having a black President and a black family in the White House has set back race relations 100 years. As a 68-year old white male living in the South, I have never before heard such a constant, daily stream of ugly and overt racist remarks as what I now hear every day from other whites. It is scary just how much so many whites just flat out HATE Obama and his family, and by extension, virtually all other blacks.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  37. Bert in Los Angeles

    Hi Jack, change is incremental. A runaway slave named Crispus Attucks made change as the first to die in the American Revolution at the Boston Massacre. The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry and the Tuskegee Airmen made change too. Charley Pride and Michael Jackson made change uniting Americans on their common ground of the dance floor. Children learn what they live and Obama has taught our kids that anyone can be President. That’s change you can believe in!

    May 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  38. Tyrone Pettway

    Race matters are worse due to having a black president. Now everyone cries " There is no way there could be racism in America they have a black president"! SMH

    May 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  39. Evinia Bruce

    ....It has succeeded in bringing our the ugly under-belly of American racism and bigotry that most of the world knew was there ....when we read that on the night Obama was declared winner of the presdency ..plans were underfoot to make sure he was a one-term president ...Why?? they didn't even know what his four years would bring ...you guessed it ..the color of his skin ..Americans were at one time admired and envied ...they are now depised by the educated ,informed and intelligent free thinkers around the world ...here in Canada the worst insult you can call anyone is to say .."He's so ignorant and stupid ..as bad as an American ."..Obama's election has caused the twisted face of hatred to surface and become unfortunately the image most people carry with them when asked about the USA... .....B.C.Canada ..

    May 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  40. Martha Brooks

    OK...he's not actually "black" but half-and-half, and mirrors the dichotomy in modern American Society. And in some ways it seems we are more divided AFTER Obama's election, seeing "racism" even where none exists. Most of us like to think that we are unbiased and strive to remain fair. But from what I have seen/heard in my 69 years, subtle racism creeps in no matter how careful we may be. And I truly wonder whether it will ever be any "different."
    Martha, Rew, PA

    May 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  41. Loren, Chicago

    I wanted to ask "we have a black President", but then thought no one would get the joke. President Obama is only half black and he used the black half to get elected and then behaved like the white half, doing whatever was convenient to work toward reelection. He has done nothing for race relations because he has followed the knee jerk reactions of people like Al Sharpton (the President's reaction to the incident with the Black college professor, blaming the cop automatically). Until our President acts color blind, whatever color he is won't make a difference.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  42. Pat in Michigan

    There are those in this country who still blame another mans skin color for their lack of success in their own lives. The rest of us have grown up and are smart enough to see racism for what it is. A tool for "TOOLS"!

    May 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  43. Dan in Albuquerque

    It's not really any change caused by the president. He hasn't really promoted anything new in race relations. But, there has been a polarization because of a significant element of the new radical right GOP that despises ANY black person running our country. They are the same people that say he's not an American, that he's a Muslim and a socialist, even when all have been proved false. They have been working to make him fail at everything he tries to do. Fortunately, he's a lot smater than they are and will rescue the economy in a second term.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  44. Noel Sivertson Roswell NM

    I don't think it has changed race relations much at all, at least not in my circle of acquaintences. In fact, some are even more vocal about their predujices. Since you can say anything you want about a president the biases have become more open.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  45. jk in MN

    The racism that is going to exist in that small part of the population no matter what seems to be louder than normal. I also feel the billionaire Super-PACS like the American Crossroad, the ones funded by the Koch Brothers, etc) use this racial bias to whip up voters to support candidates who will further the agenda they want. The younger generations by and large do not seem to have the racial issues that the older generations do – thankfully.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  46. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    It stuck a finger in the eyes of bigots who do not think a black man deserves a turn that they have not been able to take themselves. Much of the visceral reaction to him is all about his race.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  47. Leta

    A negative effect on race relations! On Pres. Obama's inauguration there was so much excitement, hope for the
    future. But then some GOP leaders backed by Rove, Kochs, Norquist and etc. couldn't accept having a black
    person occupying the white house, their ultimate goal is making sure Pres. Obama will be a one-time president
    ignoring the struggling Americans. And they call themselves Christians. The media, the likes of Beck, Limbaugh,
    Arpaio, Palin, Brewer, fox news spewing hatred and no respect to the president – sadly the American voters who
    are uninformed on political and social issues, unknowingly are being brainwashed by these people.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  48. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack, race may play a part in this,but, his track record will kill him. Didn't he also promise "Not to Run" if he showed that he couldn't deliver on his promises? I bought in to "Crock of Hope" and I voted for him. But you know, I won't this time. As far as anyone play the race game, it's the President. If I remember correctly, his mother was white.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  49. Ron WPAFB

    Well, I don't know , Jack. This is the worst thing for Good ole white boys since Tiger won the Masters! It has brought hate up front and center in our Congress! The Far Right, when it pleases them, in Congress has made a goal and nothing else matters, to get him out! This Congress has been stalemated for four years, and yes just because he's Black! Racism has no place in our Government and I blame those who elected these close minded old fools. Racism is alive and thriving in the GOP.
    I grew up in a rural town in Southwest VA. I didn't see a Black person until I was 17. Then I found out why there weren't Black people in my town, the town didn't want any, racism was alive and well there to. 20 years, two months and two days in the United States Air Force and during that time I learned the art of Supervision an Management. I had 22 military and 16 Civilians working for me. I didn't get all 4.0 College Grads in perfect physical condition and with no families. I had 38 human beings. I brought each one of them from where ever they were on the ladder and helped them be better. I did it fairly and professionally and if the needed more help they got it. All ages, all nationalities and races. I took one of the most hated sections known throughout the Air Force in our speciality, and turned it into place where people now wanted to come and work instead of leave. That's supervision, Jack. And if people don't understand the different cultures and backgrounds of their people, then they don't understand the people. My father taught me a wonderful life tool once when he had to learn it.
    And it's the same way with Racism, " It takes far more work and time to work against someone than it does to work with them"! Just takes some understanding.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  50. naturalbud

    Jack, race relations are now worse than ever, but to know this one must observe the undercurrents that are boiling towards some sort of major conflict/resolution. Blacks demand more of their definition of "equality". Whites are rapidly becoming deeply fed up with special treatment of blacks. This is the main influence upon the American sociology. But the Muslim question and the illegal alien question are also in line for answers.

    To your question of how much America's first (half) black President has (himself) changed race relations, that would be hard to accurately say. There is no doubt that having a (half) black President has empowered blacks in both bad and good ways. To measure, or guess at, the real effect the President Obama has had on race relations, one must measure against the overall and continuing level of harmony or disharmony of our society. How does one objectively do that? Beware of anyone who professes to know the correct answer to your specific question.

    Keep the questions coming, Jack. The worst case scenario would be that we don't ask and don’t try as a people to find peaceful and fair answers.

    Bud in Jax, FL

    May 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  51. Wm in PA

    It is sad but true, racial prejudice is rampant. Just read some of the comments made against the President. There is some real hate there.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  52. Karl from Flint, MI

    When Mitch McConnell announced the day after President Obama's inauguration that the GOP's primary purpose was to make him a one-term president, with no logical reasons given, I knew race relations were only going to go down hill. He has been called everything from Communist to Socialist to Marxist and yet no fact exist to justify these labels. He's killed the person responsible for 911, is ending Bush's wars, saved the auto industry and is doing the best he can with the economy without GOP help and yet no one will admit it's all because he's black and that is not acceptable to the Grand Old White Party.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  53. Nate NC

    It has proved that blacks and whites still do not understand one another. Comments about the President are misinterpreted or indirectly point out suspicions. America is no longer a "melting pot" of races, instead it's a repressed group of races tolerating each other's existence.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  54. Jayne in NH

    The election of the first black president has brought the racists we didn't know about out from under their sheets. The racist garbage that has made its way around the Internet should make all Americans ashamed.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  55. cnspot

    for many, it has even gotten worse. Racial dispute over whether or not President Obama was chosen only to make history is an argument that is recently brought up everywhere. Without facts and evidence, you cannot say what is true.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  56. Jim, Denver CO

    President Obama has had an effect. As you mentioned there has been a big shift, but in a negative way. This isn't something he did, but what other people have done to make it such an issue. For such an advanced country and culture we really do seem to still have a lot of backwards people in it.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  57. mycroft lake travis texas

    From what I've witnessed Jack, the President has effected race relations in at least a couple of ways. He has rallied support from people like myself that hate racism and he has exposed the deep rooted racists of the GOP. The GOP has for almost four years have lied, pushed hate and obstructionism, basically anything they can do to stop our first African American President from being successful. Unfortunately in part of the GOP's efforts, I believe our country has stepped backward in race relationships in many cases. It annihilates reason how we the citizens of the greatest country in the world the (USA) continues to allow hate and racism, to thrive and flourish, in an attempt to unseat our first African American President. I don't know how the Republicans ever expect to win the Presidency again with these tactics, hate against unions, the post office, woman's rights,minorities,religions and science. I wonder how in the world Republican's can do all these un- Christian deeds and still garner support from the religious right(better labeled the religious wrong). The Republicans and their supporters are showing the world, there is a huge problem in the USA and the problem is them.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  58. Tom in Desoto, TX

    It's quite apparent to me things have gotten worse. As long as there has been a white guy in the White House a lot as been said. Now, people see him as something else. What I don't know. Just look around, the governor of Arizona wouldn't have been pointing fingers if he were white, the Congressman calls him a liar while giving a speech. With a black president, you don't even get lip service anymore. (I voted for Obama and will again and I'm Caucasian, and a Vietnam vet. McCain/Palin was not a better choice by far)

    May 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  59. Joi Gibson

    Jack, Jack, Jack,
    You make it sound like because President Obama is the first black president it is somehow his responsibility to change race relations. Must the man do everything? I tell you one thing, latent racism has surfaced; i.e., he's not American, he's a Muslim, his birth certificate is a forgery because you know he was born in Kenya, etc. Simply because he is black some folks want to de-legitimize the person that is President Obama.. Seems to me the problem lies elsewhere and not with President Obama. And shame on you for advancing the notion that it is somehow his problem to change and no one else's.

    Joi Gibson
    West Palm Beach, FL

    May 7, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  60. Willy in Las Vegas

    Obama's election has changed race relations a LOT. unfortunately it's been for the WORSE because it's brought out every closet RACIST in the country. I'm hearing the same old discredited "He's only sucessful because he was handed everything because he's BLACK" baloney from the right-wing squirrels I heard four decades ago about "Affirmative Action".

    I think that's why he has a problem getting support from middle aged and older white working class men. many of them think they were "passed over" for some educational or job opportunity in their past in favor of a "less qualified" minority or woman and they are VERY resentful.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  61. Mike Scarpelli

    Our first Black President (Who is 1/2 WHITE or MORE) looks Black, ACTS White and has been more detrimental to race relations than any other President in my lifetime. UNBELIEVABLE! He may have set relations back 30 years.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  62. Nancy, Tennessee

    Race relations are improving slowly and some people need to get over the fact that we have a diverse population. No one here can claim royalty. The last time I looked the only blue bloods around live across the pond. Americans need to remember that our blood is red, white, and blule and we live in the land of the free.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  63. Al - Orlando

    He won one race and should win another.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  64. Jeff In Minnesota

    If anything, race relations are more sensitive now than before the President was elected.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  65. Paul in NC

    I think race relations have changed for the worst; not because of anything Obama has said or done, but because of who he is.There are still a lot of people in this country who have never excepted the concept of racial equality. Due to social pressures many of them hid their prejudices in public. After Obama was elected the pretense ended and all the old racist rhetoric came to the surface. What do you suppose really spawned the tea party movement? Now states with Republicans in power are passing thinly veiled Jim Crow (voter ID) laws and gerrymandering voting districts to negate the black vote. Can seperate but equal be far behind?

    May 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  66. Ralph Nelson

    Not much. You have to remember he grew up a white guy in Hawaii, Chicago, and Indonesia. Compare that to Lyndon Johnson who grew up and lived the racist South. What has happened is the Far Right has worked to restore racism and bigotry and used him as a symbol, a reason why to do it. I often wonder how much of the Far Right's hatred of him is just plain old racism? It sure isn't his politics, he is very conservative (especially on Economics)..

    May 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  67. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: I'm always perplex when someone says, "the first black President." First, he is bi-racial--and has it changed the race relationship in America? No change,--it just remains the same and more hidden from recognizition.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  68. John from Santa Maria, CA

    On TV a black man can be a hero, on the streets he'll get profiled and arrested

    May 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

    As an African American, I was shocked and hurt when I saw the likes of the Tea Party's protests and awful signs directed towards President Obama. Unfortunately, and sadly, I grew used to it.

    That being said, there's nothing at all that President Obama can do as far as the "Let's take our country back" crowd goes. He's tried compromising, he's tried being president to ALL, but some just won't have any part of President Obama.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  70. wayne, va beach, va

    Quite a bit, and none of it for the good.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  71. Richard Lavin

    It is difficult, maybe impossible, to quantify changes in attitude about race. But we know we've come a long way since Selma. It seems to me that we've witnessed a growth spurt in the number of young, gifted, and black men and women who have risen to prominence in the Obama age. We hear a lot less about The Bell Curve, thank goodness. The irony is that an earlier stereotype of black people being uninformed or erratic, as with Herman Cain or Allen West, goes unremarked when they share the platform with Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, or Rick Perry.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  72. Cee.La

    I dont think it has altered race relations much...... those who were racist before Obama's election, are still racist, maybe even more so.......

    May 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  73. Gigi Oregon

    The parts of the country who are anti black are not the whole picture. I know many conservatives who will not vote for Romney. I feel the only thing that has handicapped President Obama is the Religious right who are anti Mormon, anti democrat as well as anti black... So good luck with the polls.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  74. It's May, Wyoming

    The changes in race relations so far have been very gradual. That's the way it will be. No one person or thing will be the defining force of change. President Obama is a class act, which will add to the gradual acceptance of different races. Many years ago Ann Landers said that the skin color of the future will be cafe au lait -- coffee with milk. Hasn't happened yet but we may get there eventually.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  75. Carole

    Depends on whether someone lumps all black people in one category or not. To judge people for who they are and what they do (or not do), and also to not judge by the color of their skin is the ideal. I know that he has probably tried, but due to to his leadership abilities (or lack there of?) no I do not think it has helped to change race relations.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  76. James (Florence,New Jersey)

    Why do we expect President Obama to have the cure for racism just because he is black? Were the Presidents before him required to deliver the same cure because they were white? If they were then they have failed miserably. Racist attitudes and beliefs require an individual change by oneself looking in the mirror and a President can't be held guilty of the arrogant mindset of some.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  77. Stella-Northern New York

    Hello Jack. It isn' President Obama that needs to work on race relations. It's the Republican/Teaparty that has lost its soul to Satin and now worships hatred and greed. They sponsor and promote hatred of blacks,hispanics,jews,gay people,democrates,independents,the poor, the middle class,independent /intelligent women,unwed mothers,contraception,student aid,food stamps,social security medicare/medicaid,and decent wages just to mention a few. What they cherish and love is $$$$ and WAR!!! My Repulican friends will be voting for President Obama this time around because they are ashamed of what their Party has become. They are not voting for anyone in the Republican Party until they become and decent and honorable party that they once were.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  78. Paul - Georgia

    Not so much changed, perhaps, as inspired. We're all still created equal, to pusue happiness as we wish, but now we know for sure, having elected our first balck president, that theory can become reality. In theory.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  79. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, white southerners worse nightmare came true in 2008 when a black man was elected president. That event didn't change race relations, but it did bring out into the open that racism is still alive and well in this country. It's sad, but true.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  80. Ted

    Obama will get 90 to 95 percent of the black vote again no matter what he does ( but this is not raciesm ) Now if Romney got the same percentage of the white vote because he is white...guess what would happen...

    May 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  81. JB from Nashville

    This President is the most decisive in all categories, including race relations. He has had a
    " Label" for anyone who has disagreed with him on any subject or any policy...his " Name Calling"
    rhetoric is appalling and unprofessional. It will be a better day for America when we don't have to call him
    President anymore.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  82. 2011 Eyes

    It's pretty obvious from the Republican Congress that they have certainly not changed their minds about race. We had eight years of a white president that drove this country right into the ditch. Casting a vote because of racism will require an excavator and 20 years to dig us out of the depths of the previous administration's atrocities.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  83. 1grasshopper

    It hasn't changed it much for the whites but for the blacks it shows that they can achieve the same as any other person and they can stop the whoa is me and my great grandparents were slaves.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  84. Joe in Missouri

    President Obama election has done a lot to further the cause of race relations. His elections reveals some people are much more racist than we thought they were. We still have a lot to work on in regard to human rights, whether in regard to race, gay issues, women's rights, or religious prejudice.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  85. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    Obama hasn't changed "race relations'. Racism has always been here. From the 60's to 2008 it was mostly keep off the front pages unless some extreme was act commited, ala, Rodney King. Read the political blogs. They're loaded with racist vitriol behind the anonymity of the internet.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  86. lynnej in nc

    His election didn't do anything for race relations. If anything it made baby steps forward, some that others still don't want to take because of fear.

    Just look at some of the vittriol during the health care debate and afterwards; the signs, the emails, etc. There is also some of the comments on sites such as this with 'black folk only vote for him because he's black.' If that isn't racist and condescending I don't know what is.

    Then there are the celebs and politicians spouting vile stuff.

    How can we all get past the racial issue when these people are afraid of change and sharing power? So not President Obamas fault. Only theirs.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  87. Bob T - Southfield, MI

    The president has been an excellent role model of a classy person with a supurb education, talking in complete sentences without using eubonics or inventing words that don't exist. He has done much to improve race relations for well educated minorities but he hasn't done anything to improve race relations for poverty inner city youths who are stuck in a society of illiteracy, drugs and violence. Education and social values are the key and many don't get it or want it. There is little hope for them.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  88. Andrew- Regina,Saskatchewan, Canada

    Truth be told, I think it actually made things worse; since many white nationalists tend to be very conservative, they percieve Obama to be the socialist from some alien country that threatens to destroy America's ideals and values, and they have been very vocal about it for the past couple of years. If Obama were to have been white though, I don't think that these people would be so adament; but now that a black man is leading the country, the right will likely be more determined and feel more comfortable to bring forth a revolution on changing the country from the ground up and weed out any leftist socialists that still walk among the average Americans.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  89. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    How can one man get rid of racism ... not possible! Racism is an individual choice and the whites have got to make that change in themselves. Racism for the blacks in American has been around since the dawn of time and no one man, not even the first black President, is going to be able to 'fix' it.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  90. RickFromDetroit

    92% of the Blacks support President Obama because he is black, and the same holds true for all blacks regardless of what their occupation is, so I am not sure who the real racists are.

    I can say this much, it isn't me that's a racist!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  91. Brian in TX

    Jack, you need only look to the tea party for an answer to your question. Do you honestly believe that the would have arisen and become such a power if he had been white? Simply stated NO!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  92. JD

    Obama had a chance to bring people together. But like most Marxists, his goal is to divide, vilify and blame, in order to create divisiveness and tension between race and class. It is the only way that he can will re election He has a terrible track record on governing and only through dividing can he win again.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  93. Mike

    None. Obama simply proves that a man of any race can be a PURE politician!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  94. Suz from Seattle

    I thought when President Obama was elected that we would finally become a more united country racially. We have become even more polarized than ever before. Alas, I failed to realize that the white-red-neck mentality in this country would explode into the open! They want their bible, their guns & a white President even though Mitt Romney may be their worst nightmare.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  95. Warren in Ohio

    Ironically, his election has made race relations worse. In fact, when it comes to racial segregation and mass incarceration of Blacks, we are are a deeply divided nation and it's only getting worse because racism is written into our national DNA. The problem is much greater than a half-black/half-white POTUS could ever solve.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  96. Jeff

    It has nothing to do with race relations. The fact that he got elected was statement enough.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  97. Lisa Bee

    Race relations have gotten worse under Obama, I didn't vote for him but was hoping of all things race relations would be better, We were all duped by Obamas false promises and assumptions,

    May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  98. joe butcher

    Obama panders to the populous but always seems to focus his attention to black issues like Trayvon Martin. There were much worse atrocities commited by blacks on whites but he ignores them

    May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  99. Joyce Grissom, Marshall, TX

    Race relations have changed in that we are now eroding toward a policy of regression by the GOP as unspoken bigotry has now been given a face. Seems bigots have the learned bigotry and perceived taking away of their bigotry by electing the POTUS have just opened up the discussion yet again. A lack of the discussion prior to POTUS election was just a showing, many thought it would never happen. I guess it shows how the women's rights issues are coming back just like race relations. Regression is not progress.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  100. Angela

    Not at all Jack. People will look for any reason to hate each other even when it is as stupid of a stance as skin color or heritage. We like to think we are progressive in the States, but since the 60s we have slowed and halted in civil rights. Just because we have a black President doesn't mean race relations are any better. In many cases I think they are worse.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  101. Bob in Texas

    Well, not much Jack. About all it's done is mobilize a few bigots at the bottom of the food chain. But the fact that Obama was elected at all says a lot of progress has been made since the 1960s. To expect a single election to have a dramatic impact is absurd. Progress comes in inches.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  102. DC -BAR 2012

    It has only exposed the ugliness that had been there all along. Nothing new to those of us of color, but possibly unexpected to people of reason and intelligence who were simply unaware of the racism all around them.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  103. Patrick

    As we continue to inquire about color, how invisible the humanity.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

    I am a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. I have served 21 years and serverd 4 1/2 tours to Iraq. I lost a lot of respect for a lot pf people after Obama was elected, even after serving side by side with them in a war zone. From my experiences, we all bleed red.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  105. R.Colon

    Race relations changed from the moment President Obama became president. I've traveled the world on a regular basis since I was 15 yrs old. SO i've heard many opinions by people from other countries about our presidents. France has never really been nice to me on many occasions. But the day Obama won and I had landed in Paris, I was greeted in a much better way by many people and they went out of their way to pat me on the back, just because Obama had become President Of the United States. A few years later I brought my girlfriend to Paris for her dream vacation.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  106. Nancy from Iowa

    Jack, your question implies that President Obama has caused the deterioration of race relations. Not so. It is the undercurrent of unrecognized racism in American that has led to the racism that seems to have been increased. How? Well, I am a Christian; however, shortly after he became President, my emails were filled with hate filled emails forwarded to me by Conservative Christians I know. I was shocked! From the beginning he has been attacked and discredited like no other President and I can only believe it is because of his race. Jack, I keep asking myself whether maybe that is the source of YOUR obvious disdain for President Obama. I keep trying to hear you share a reason for this, but none are forthcoming. Racism by white America is alive and well, albeit hidden and unrecognized.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  107. SteveK in CA

    As a white guy in my late 40's it has revealed the racists that are/were some of my friends. It seems that some just can't handle a black man in charge. They may have friends that are black, but they just can't seem to think a black man could have obtained such a position without it be some sort of conspiracy. I have found it disheartening.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  108. curtis in philadelphia

    A certain white senator from Kentucky is on record that his number one job these past few years of recession/depression, is to make sure that Obama is a one-term president, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with race.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  109. Joyce Grissom, Marshall, TX

    Bigotry has now evolved into it's own party. In the South, after LBJ, we call them the GOP

    May 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  110. Tomi

    while am black as a black person can be. I think white people elected him and they will do it again. Not because of his race but because they have passion.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  111. Jay D. - Harrison,NY

    The President showed his racial bias when he attacked the whiteCambridge police officer without knowing any of the facts. Earlier, he threw his white grandmother under the bus calling her a racist because "she would cross the street if a black man was on her side". He definitely has made race relations worse because his actions prove he is racist.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  112. Gladys IL

    I think it made things worse because it made some of the "fears" of racists people more real

    May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  113. Frank McElroy

    I wonder why nobody asked this question about GWB? Most amusing is the people the NYTimes didn't query in their survey – wealthy people in places like St. Louis, Phoenix, and really all over the US, who would never vote for a black man. Racism isn't limited to poor or working class whites. It is an institution in the US.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  114. Bettina

    It has changed for the worst, because fear of another race dominating the governing of america has grown to the worst level i have seen since i became old enough to participate in politics. (my age is 66)

    May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  115. Lu Blackman

    Race relations have changed very little. It is the responsibility of every american to look at their own issue with race relations. By and large america still live in segregated communities across this country. We will never learn about each other that way.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  116. Dianne, Deming, NM

    His election has shown us how the Republican party is so bigotedand racist that they have refused at all costs to work across the asile for this country and the people. So racist that it appears they choose Sara Palin as a guarantee they would not win in order to blame the whole financial crash on "the black man"

    May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  117. Jayson in Somerset, KY

    Living in a small town in the rural South, I can attest that President Obama's election and subsequent presidency has not improved race relations whatsoever. In fact, they appear to have gotten worse. Many people oppose President Obama simply and solely because he is black. This is a problem that I think will take another generation to change. My generation, the ones now in college, will be the ones that usher in a new era of race relations. The current older generations are too stubborn to change. Especially in the South.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  118. Laith F. Gulli

    Hi Jack:

    No change at all Jack. Bigotry, Religion, Racism. Gay Issues, Abortion, are all intimately tangled with politics, especially Conservative politics–this will never change because the redneck born born in Pohdunk, USA, into a broken home with no religion or guidance takes his morality and way of life from what the Republicans preach.
    Laith F. Gulli, Columbus, IN

    May 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  119. Cary

    I lost alot of Black Friends after President Obama was elected President. Co-workers were jubilious, now unemployed. Blacks are still today, walking waroudn with their noses in the air, and they do not even discuss that President Obama is Half White and Half Black. Just like Tiger Woods, that weird lady on MSNBC for 2 hours on the weekends, and other interracial folks, they all declare BLACK, instead of multiracial. Blacks became more racial after President Obama, the Blamer in Chief that I voted for, took office.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  120. Nikki/san diego

    Jack not much has changed! I tell you the President does understand that America is full of "racial landmines" and he can't control everyone everytime those devices are set off!! Come on, he is the President , not the Superman that you Media folks think that we think he is!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  121. Laurel Gilligan

    Whether for good or bad, it has brought race relations to a head. This President's election has exposed the underbelly of the Country's racial bias. I choose to think that this will lead to a rethinking of our own part in these bias's and a move away from the small percentage of Americans who hold those beliefs.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  122. Bill McGee

    It just showed blacks how many bigots are still in America. Jim Crow is now James Crow, LLC. Now we see the REAL America.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  123. Eric in Philadelphia, PA

    What has been President Obama's effect on race relations? Nothing. The President has been utterly ineffectual, just like his policies.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  124. Lenny Schleiss

    President Obama's presidency has made it clear to me who among my neighbors are brainless racists by the shocking and terrible bumper stickers on their cars.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  125. Mary

    Having a well educated, articulate, great personality as our first African American President, this simply gave the racist and bigoted people an excuse to come out from underneath their rock. I moved to South Carolina 22 months ago, I am trying very hard to get out of here. I cannot condone nor tolerate the racism that I have experienced since I have lived here. There is no reasoning with these people in South Carolina, they are still fighting the Civil War, the politicans are from the eighteenth century and think as such. I am sure they are laughing themselves to sleep each night as they pander to a group of people that will not drag themselves into the 21st century, and politicans cash in on their ignorance. So has race changed in America, the simple answer is NO, NO. What a pity, I am an elderly, white woman and sometimes, very rare I feel sorry for the Southern People who cannot accept, progress, change and forward thinking. ie,; Mitch McConnell, Jim DiMint, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck just to name a few.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  126. Stuart Byrd

    Your discussion of racism was rather myopic in that it only addressed the racist behavior of whites toward blacks and President Obama in particular. Racism as an issue is based in an individual's beliefs and their behavior as a result. You did not mention Asians' racism toward blacks or whites, for example, or a black voter's motivation to vote for Obama based solely upon his race and not upon the quality of his character or his record or even his political inclinations. The fact that a black person was elected to the highest office in the nation, and one of the most powerful political positions in the world, is a significant and laudable milestone in race relations, but should not be viewed as a final accomplishment in ending the ignorance and fear that is the basis of this debilitating condition. Let us pat each other on the back, but remain vigilant, patient and open in our dealings with our fellow man.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  127. Margot

    When it became okay for the whack job birthers to behave openly with ignorance and anger, I knew this country had actually become MORE racist. but, I don't believe it is President Obama's job to fix that. It's always been OUR job. And, yet, we continue to harass Muslims, Hispanics and Blacks. Making that the responsibility of any one person just doesn't solve this problem...........Margot in Washington state

    May 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  128. Nathan J. In Dallas, TX

    Race relations has worsen since the election of President Obama. Unfortunately, America has not matured enough to see past the color barrier, blacks included. As a young, independent black voter, It is very difficult to engage in a meaningful healty political debate without race playing a factor. I take pride in getting to know the candidates by what their platforms are and what they believe in, and whomever I vote for, race doesn't play a factor. I wish I could say the same about my black friends, hispanic / latino friends and my white friends. Healthy debate is needed.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  129. Mary

    Obama's presidency has changed race relations. It has brought it out in the open. Racism occasionally showed itself as a subtle rejection during the past few decades. But when the Tea Party walked with sighs saying, " Go back to Africa", it told me all I needed to know about who there are and where our country is at this time. Never has a president been so disrespected. If we could just remove the hate, America could heal its wounds..............

    May 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  130. Mark

    I'm not sure if the right question about race is being asked in regards to Presidential elections post President Obama. President Obama is of mixed race having also being raised in a white culture with white role models. Is the race card being raised because white American and yes you Mr Caferty cannot accept that a person can be human with a black exterior. Clearly he just a human as is all blacks and whites in this country. So cant you please stop using the race card. Besides, dont even you so called Christians beleive in the bible. we all come from the same place. People like you just love to promote division amongst the races...it's called racisim! It's 2012, just let it go. We have more pressing things to debate and to overcome.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  131. dfrit

    he might be black / mixed race, and he might have inspired a nice % of turnout to be elected, but there's no doubt he's done NOTHING to improve racial impressions within his own country. that would be notta, zilch, zero. way too many facts / figures nationwide, which SHOW – he's done nothing to improve "life" whether socially, economically, spiritually, or physically. he promised "change you can believe in".., and we've seen his "change". now.., we know by what he SHOWS – integrity is not part of his toolbelt.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  132. Ray Victory

    Vero Beach, FL
    My personal observation of my neighbors is that those who were virulently racist before the President's election are now, if anything, more so. Although I find this sad, I am gladdened by a few individuals who have indicated that though they did NOT vote for the President in 2008 feel that he has done as well as or better than could be expected considering the deep trough we found ourselves in. Overall I would say that his influence on race considerations has been positive to a degree. At least it has brought out the most racist so that their prejudices are clear to see and not masked. We still have a very long way to go.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  133. Leon

    He hasn't done anything to change it but then again that's not his job. Racism starts in the home and the community in which you live. If you're a racist it's because that's what you were taught. Having a president that's bi-racial, although most people look at him as only black, take office in such turbulent times only fuels the racism of those that are already racist. Leon from St.Louis Mo.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  134. Quanzale McMath

    I think President Obama is setting a good example for the race factor; he even has different races in his Administration. Actually, it's the Republicans that’s making this country seems divided instead of being united.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  135. Bertha

    No one can get rid of racism, not even Barack. Racism is a persona choice that people make of their own or taught . The 2008 campaign by the republican canidate made it clear that he was not one of therm , which was code word for him being black. Racism

    May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  136. Walter Hargrove

    Didn't Americans elect Pres. Obama? pres. Obama can't win as far as this question goes. If he had pushed for programs that benefit Black Americans only,"they" would say he wasn't president of THE UNITED STATES"AND THUSLY NOT PRESIDENT for ALL AMERICANS.

    FOR allaMERICANS!!!!!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  137. Guy

    We continue to struggle with the need to havie an ongoing national dialogue regarding race/cultural relations. The election of President Obama is a significant event in the history of this country because it demonstrates the country's willingness to progress. However, his elction does not represent the missing and in depth discussion that needs to take place about equality, fairness, racial and cultural nepotism that continues to prevent America from the full fledge greatness that it can someday achieve. -Guy, of Santa Ynez, CA-

    May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  138. mike sey, Ottawa

    On one hand it has solidified the belief among the majority of Americans that they have moved beyond the worst of race relations. On the other Obama's election has intensified the feelings and ferocity of America's losers or those who fear that they may be losers soo; mostly they fear losing their privilege and innate sense of superiority. The less they have the more ferocious they become in defence of it, and there is always some opportunist willing to pander and stoke their fears.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  139. Joe ENGROBAUM

    Before race relations can be equal in this country there is probably gonna be another civil war. There are just too many ethnic differences that neither side can continue to tolerate about the other. It has been more that a half a century since the Supreme Court ruled. There has been some progress in the top intellectuals of both races, but very few in normal range down.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  140. WR Jones

    Jack, Obama won the election of 2008 based on old vs young, not black vs white, this time it's different, race plays a huge role, no longer can Obama divide us on age, he can't use late night comics to assist him in insulting the republican choice, he is forced to run on issues and this is where he loses. .

    May 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  141. Kathy Smith

    The change in race relations has been about as miniscule as the brains of the racists.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  142. Angela from KS

    Not at all. I believe race relations have gotten worse especially in states like mine where its common to be racist. It's sad. Since the 60s civil rights movements have stalled and puttered out. We like to think we are progressive in the States, the land of the free, when really we are the land of the "if you're white, you're free."

    May 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  143. Mike

    The election of Rock Obama to the office of POTUS should have and would have been extremely positive for race relations and for America's image in the world. But the ugly disgusting hatred shown by right wing extremists in America have destoyed every good thing that should have resulted from this historic event.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  144. C.L. Garrison

    The election of a black president has brought the undercurrent of America's unsealed race relations out into the open. Because we have never healed the "rift" created by the abolition of slavery, we cannot seem to move beyond the race question. Economics fuels the flames of intolerance and the media places the issues in full view every opportunity it gets!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  145. Dr. John Craddock

    The President, (wisely in my estimation) has gone out of his way to be neutral and not come across as a "Black" president, just the same as President Kennedy did not want to be seen as a "Catholic" president. Both saw themselves and behaved as "presidents of all Americans"...

    The problem it seems is the profound racial antagonism history and racism in the southern culturally grounded Republican Party ( of which I was a member for 46 years ) and the dislike they have for being beaten in 2008 by "One of them". Just listen to Senator McConnell after the 2008 election and you can hear the anger and hatred. It breaks my centrist heart. I will definitely vote for the President as Mr Romney hasn't the backbone or courage to even call out a woman accusing the president of treason this morning.

    And I used to think that Dick Nixon was a "bad guy"...


    May 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  146. Xavier Johnson

    If anyone thought the election of Barack Obama was some sort of antidote to racism in America, then they were lost in utopian non-sense land. Let's face it, many African-Americans did come to vote for him and so did many White people who saw it a cathartic moment for themselves. However, even before he was sworn in, the GOP and their minions ruthlessly set out to paint him as foreign, anti-gun rights, a secret Muslim, a closet socialist, a Kenyan Mau-Mau, a leftwing radical, a racist, etc. I can go on Jack, but you get the point. There was a real chance that Obama's election could have been a turning point for progress on race relations and racial unity in America: the GOP had other ideas, however because racial unity is bad for their brand.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  147. Jason

    Jack, Its pretty obvious that things have gotten worse. I don't think its Obamas fault. Just look at the House, they will not work with him. I believe that is directly related to the fact that Obama is black. What a shame on the House to display racism at the highest level. What kind of example are they setting? They themselves have said from the start all they want to do is beat Obama. For the record I am white and I can see it so clearly. When will we evolve as a species? There is only one race on this Earth. The Human race.
    West chester

    May 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  148. John l

    It may be true that some people in Ohio and other places will not support the predident based on his race, but on balance more people vote for him than against him for that reason.  Its no going to be a valid excuse come november if he loses.  It will be because of his economic record.

    Dartmouth, ma.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  149. Made As Heck

    Are you kidding me!!! After the election of the first African American President, race has grown ten folds since then. Not only in society but in what is suppose to be our highest level of laws in this country....Congress. Thus the reason for the gridlock. Our credit downgrade, etc, need I say more. Why no laws can get pass to better the country/economic and to move it forward after the worst recession known to mankind. They rather see the US fall off the cliff and everyone with it, before they work with the president, because the color of his skin. If race isn't driving our law markers, the tea parties, GOP and others--can someone tell me what is.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  150. R Gates

    You cant be serious Jack with that question, are you going to act like you dont see the flat out hate. Thats a lot of pressure for any one person.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  151. geogia tee

    Because of the economy, it's made it worse. Now the worse of this countries citizens think it's OK, to be aggressively disrespectfull to the office ot the POTUS. Why, because our 44th POTUS has an African background. They are made at McCain for losing to Obama, and made at Obama for winning.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  152. John P.

    I feel President Obamam has greatly increaces the acceptance of blacks and hispanics into modernday society,. Look at the acceptance of major league sports.. the lack of the word that tharts wit the letter afer m is no a dirty word. There was the reaction of the 17 year old negro kid shot and killed by the the white male who was simply trying (in his own words) just to protect himself. There are many other states that have the same state of law including my own of Texs.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  153. Sherman in Austin, Texas

    I have several relatives in Texas who would have voted for Hillary Clinton in 2008. Since Obama and Clinton agreed on most major policies, it is amazing how many of my relatives and their friends have left the Democratic party and now circulate very-right-wing Tea Party ads that question Obama's birth, religion, and legitimacy. Whether they recognize it or not, this is racism at work since they would have supported Hillary if she had been elected President.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  154. Sean - Edmonton AB

    I say they have gotten worse as Obama's election has freaked out the racists out there. African Americans could now become President of the USA. While many people were celebrating a racial milestone, lots of people were cowering in their white, eye-holed hooded suits. Now the racists are upping their anti-govt militia activity, increasing the FBI budget and taking funds away from education which could help us all to get along. Maybe a second term will get people used to the racial harmony idea. Rose colored glasses anyone??

    May 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  155. J. R California

    Jack its simple white people are mean... take from me I live the experience everyday... Overt look how many racial issues have been addressed since Obama has been in the presidency. From judges forwarding emails, The hate charged rhetoric from the right, and ther endless negative actions and language directed and our president and those African Americans who live this perspective everyday. Trust me I feel it to ,,,, its gotten worst and more blatant

    May 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  156. John from St. Louis

    Among our friends and family there is little discussion of racism. We associate with a very diverse group. I think all this talk of racism is more about what can be accomplished politically by taking sides on the issue, than it is a real social problem. I understand there will always be those who will hold a man's color against him, but we don't abide that in our lives and we make sure others are aware of it.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  157. Art

    You have have framed the question and pretty much the answer as well. Abosolutely nothing! The issue of racism has deep roots in the psyche of white america and we thought South Africa had it bad.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  158. Allen

    Jack, race relationship has not changed. Why do people question the president's birth. Only one reason these people are racist.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  159. Sean

    America's first bi-racial president has not changed race relations. It's the people of the United States who have. The president is for all the people. I can say that since the president has been elected, there have been an increase is racial bigotry. For example, the tea party movement was sparked not by the presidents policy's, but because he is part africain american. Other examples are the birther movement, people questioning his religion, the president being compared to hitler, or of being a socialist. All of these examples are race driven. Race relations in this country have gotten much worse. Every time someone criticizes the president I always wonder if its becasue of his policies, or is it becasue he is black. This is very unfortunate becasue he has not show the least bit of bias for one race over another.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  160. Stan Smith

    We need more reverends like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to help continue to spread love amongst the races.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  161. Larry InHouston

    Race relations has gotten worse – since obama took office. The only reason the president won in 2008 is because many blacks voted for the first time, and a lot of them are planning on Voting him Out – in 2012, even though they will go against their Own Religion, and Vote for a Mormon.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  162. John

    America's First Black President has made race relations a lot worse. There seems to be a lot bigger divide with both black and white being much more unhappy.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  163. Desmond Turner

    I respect President Obama, but he has made no change to race relations. He just enabled the racial tensions to be brought to the front of everything and not stay behind the scene. Anybody who thought he would "magically" improve race relations was very ignorant of the conditions of this country.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  164. Elizabeth From Toronto

    Not at all. Until most Americans not just black Americans but white, arabic, jewish, chinese, indian etc. accept that a black person has a right to make decisions about their livelihoods and that this is a benefit and not a disgrace nothing will change.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  165. Larry InHouston

    Race relations has gotten worse – since obama took office. The only reason the president won in 2008 is because many blacks voted for the first time, and a lot of them are planning on Voting him Out – in 2012, even though they will go against their Own Religion, and Vote for a Mormon.

    Vote Democrat – 2012

    May 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  166. Jake in Omaha

    How much has America's first black president changed race relations?

    No change at all.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  167. Boo

    Sadly, I think race relations have worsened since Obama became president. A perfect example of this is the Tea Party. They claim that they are upset with Obama because of his "spending" but when asked where they were when George Bush was spending money like a drunken sailor, none of them give an intelligent response. The only thing I can deduce from this is that it was okay to spend and increase the deficit when Bush was president because he is white. If anyone has another explanation I would love to hear it.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  168. Sabrina

    For those who comment that blacks vote for him because President Obama is black – you are oh so wrong. Those of us who vote for him, vote because Republic party candidates could care less about issues many of us face everyday. In fact, if the Republican party had it's way, millions of people (black, white and all the colors in between) would suffer horribly. So while many of you have chosen to take this subject and make it seem as though blacks vote for anyone who is black, remember Jesse Jackson. He never won an election. We are voting as everyone should vote, for someone who can relate to my issues and have my interest at heart.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  169. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I never expected the election of a black President to change race relationships but I did expect black people to change the perception of who we are and what our children can become.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  170. Jim

    For the worse but it is because he is a black President and and there are just too many whites including in my own family that simply can't stand have a black President. It is uncalled for and makes me sick to my stomach that I have it in my own family. All you have to do is look at the huge increse in gun sales and hate/anti-government groups that have sprang up in the past 3 years to get your anser of how many really ignorant people and racist/homophobic persons in our country.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  171. Larry Shedrack

    Has anything change in rece relations? Absolutely not! African Americans are still murdered by the Police, racist whites and the NRA in Florida, New york, Alabama and the rest of the Country.Personally I do not want to see any African American run for President, it hurts when your read and hear sll the racial slurs poured on this first African American president.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  172. tony

    It's President Obama that is so many say they hate or automatically criticize. Not the other way round. That's the problem with the sayers, not the President. Being far more intelligent, educated and successful than them obviously has struck nerve in their personal insecurities.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  173. michael

    It is very simple Jack, can you say that he said this Mess could be fixed overnite?NO! What happened happened on another mans watch .Im sure he said that this would be a ten year thing to get turned around,along with alot of other people.We where at the brink!Play footage of the day we found out what a mess the great country was in!And what a former president looked like when he told this President the day they got together.That would be classic of you.Or let the american people here the conversation.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  174. Carmen

    Unfortunately, Obama has made race relations worse. If I had a son he would not look not like Obama.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  175. Luv Daniels, Gary,Indiana

    The president no matter what color, mixed, etc. can change years of hatred and bigotry in evil individuals and institutions, Impossible, just as it is to clean up Washington's mess in four years and change the minds of older white racists and young skin heads, kkk, and most who call themselves tea party and some members in congress, mostly those whites who harbor backward feelings and there has been 43 white presidents, why haven't they pushed to change racism themselves. The president is not responsible for those few who remain ignorant. luv, gary, Indiana.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  176. Kelly

    Simple answer. NONE.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  177. Clement

    Many, many years to come race will still remain an issue in the United States. Until the whole nation comes together and tackle this problem, it will not go away and will continue to pose a problem to this country. The election of President Obama helped to showcase the dept of racism in this country. For example, the Rebulican saying that they want to take their country back. I think that tells it all. So what are they insuniating, that President Obama is not American or what? Until this issue is addressed it will continue to set this great nation back.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  178. Johnny America

    If blacks would not harp on race as much as they do, there would be not much of a problem. Most white people wouldn't bring up race if they were not pestered about it. Having lived, worked, and played with people of every race, its not really discussed until some outside force brings it in. Ive never had a fight about it, and ive never put anyone down because of their race. The people who make it an issue are the ones who are to blame. History is important, but you have to recognize it, not live in its wake if you want to move forward.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  179. Duke from the Crowbar Saloon

    The Republican's unwillingness to work with Obama on any issue is a mirror of how much racism is still in our countries veins.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  180. Renee, Illinois

    It has 'outed' all the closet racists.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  181. Gail, Plano TX.

    Jack: I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, not because of his race, but because he was the most qualified to lead this country. I will vote for him again this November. I am 72 years old & white. I have never witnessed such disrespect for a President in all my years on this planer. The hate & vitriole spewed at this good man by the right, is unprecedented. And yes, Jack, it is solely based in his race. Anyone who says differently is lying. We are hardly the USA. Tolerance for minorities is obvious & repugnant. Grow up America! It is time to act like adults, not cry babies!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  182. Joseph

    Since President Obama has taken office race relations has intensified, particularly on the the right. For example, the 'Tea Party' movement and how the expressed their distasteful racial rhetoric while protesting Obama healthcare bill in 2009, spitting on an African American congressman as he walked through a hostel crowd. But overall, it's the hidden evil of the house and senate that refuses to help this president clean up the mess they made (Republicans) by nearly driving this country off a cliff under 8 years of George W. Bush. This is where we're at with race relations today?

    May 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  183. TonyInNYC

    Race relations are improving, but it's too soon to see the real effects. The real effects will be visible over the next generation as the proportions of nonwhite groups increase and young people care less and less about race. The people who are young enough that having a black president is not strange for them will make the real difference over the next 20 years.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  184. Chitima

    I lost m post without finishing.
    Basically, an African President should not be expected to cure a century of racism.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  185. Bribarian

    Trying to shove multiculturalism down people's throats that simply dont want it is bound to backfire soon

    May 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  186. Mark Boyett, Tulsa OK

    Jack, it hasn't changed one whit. Until we as a society come to the realization that skin color is merely a decoration as opposed to a definition, then nothing will ever change.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  187. Sun

    The existence of President Obama has made it difficult for our country to continuly delude ourselves that we have progressed in race relations. Many Americans, especially white Americans, have become more aggressive with their racism. Since his inauguration, there is a large percentage of white Americans who adopted the attitude of, "You have a black President, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?" As if his existence has made their disgusting behavior and words less disgusting. As if people of color should be grateful that a POC became president, 1 out of 44 in all of US history. They've fine-tuned and increased their skills in covert racism – unreasonably criticizing non-white Americans under the guise of criticizing the person and not their skin color, but refusing to acknowledge their history of significantly differing in amount of criticism towards whites vs persons of color. Not asking themselves why they would question the birth certificate of THIS president. Young Americans increasing their acts of microaggression and racism under the guise of "but I'm enlightened! I'm young and voted for Obama, you can't be offended! I'm on YOUR side." Obama should not be a "black president" he should be a "president who happens to be black". And until the loud white Americans understand that, no one should use him as a symbol that our nation has progressed.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  188. tivolieclipse

    America's first bi-racial president confirmed how racist white America is. Yes, white Americans enslaved black Americans and conducted pogroms on Native Americans. Those are the facts! Why white Americans should be indignant is incredible. When Statesmen make statements that getting Obama out of office is the main objective at anyone's expense - there is nothing else to say or do. This is our 'leadership' - white American leadership run amok. It's felonious and ungodly! Too many white Americans care about nothing except their imaginary, fabricated, and sick superiority complex.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  189. RC Davis

    As a black man, I was thrilled with the idea that Obama would be President. I had high expectations that he, Obama, would help bring the races together Into a more perfect union. NO such luck. Obama has been so busy running from the issue of race-his race, that he has all but let the greater issues of race relations fall to the side. How much help would Obama be in bringing together the races, when he as abandoned his own. His record is so bad that some of us (Black Americans) are either going to stay home this election day, or, if you can imagine, vote for Romney. This is the state of relations between Obama and his own race. If he has dropped the ball with us, do you think that he has made a bit od difference in the relation between the races....The thrill is gone with this President, as is my support of him.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  190. lou in new york

    why south african white excepted a black president and the white american don't, hey jack done that tell you something.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  191. captleon51

    Jack I graduated from a Calif. high school in 1969 and college in 1973, at the height of the racial tensions, the Viet Nam War protests, Woodstock, and Kent State. I am a child of the 60's!

    As I grew older I thought that we had learned our lessons and progressed from those dark days. But I now realize that it is not so!

    It is my belief that the racial climate in this country is no better than it was in the 60's. One would think that in the last 50 years we would have learned some very valuable lessons. Unfortunately, I think that is wishful thinking on my part.

    The president cannot alone change our views on race. That comes from within ourselves, and it is quite apparent that we have not changed much in the last fifty years!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  192. Michael

    "If I had a son, he would look like him(Treyvon Martin)." This may be the RACIST comment of the highest degree ever pronounced by a sitting president.
    Prof Gates incident brought out his racism. However he managed to cover it.
    Also the memoirs of Obama's ex-girlfriend suggest to the dark truth.
    Attending the Black Liberation Theology believing church is another proof of the president's racism.
    Obama is hateful of the whites. He is trying to divide and rule now.
    Though he tried to hide it, when occasion comes his hate for white comes out.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  193. Bob

    Bob, Ohio
    He has been a super role model for ALL citizens. His handling of issues, working with an uncooperative congress, maintaining equilibrium while working through some of the most challenging times in our Nation's history, developing greater cooperations with most other countries of the world(countries, not gangs). exhibiting tempered steal when the very tough decisions need to be made, knowing that he is a President of ALL US citizens, willing to take on those that are motivated by greed and self centered objectives for the gain of a selected few. For those reasons, in particular, he has ben a major factor in showing ALL races that while politics can be very nasty, we all need to be involved, no matter the race of a person.
    He is an excellent example for any race but I will have to say that I have observed many of those that have stayed back in the woodwork coming forward with vile statements, a coming out of the closet...sad to see.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  194. Alex in Wisconsin

    Considering the number of people who blame the President for being racist, I say nothing has changed at all. The President hasn't said or done anything to exclude or put down any particular race. Health Care, National defense, economic and educational policies, they have been color neutral from this administration. The true racists are blaming the president for their poor feeling on race instead of taking responsibility and owning their bias. I will vote for President Obama because of his policies, not because he's black. Has anyone claimed that Allen West won because of black people only voting for his color?

    May 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  195. gene in centerport new york

    it looks like it hasn't changed in the red states. i've got an idea they can keep their guns and religion we'll take the nukes.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  196. malcolm

    iit's brought out what's always been there...now we can address it?

    May 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  197. Ric Z.

    Obama made a choice to call himself black when in fact he is half black and half white. He was suppose to be a bridge builder but it turns out he build a moat and the bridge is most deffinately up. There is more seperation of races then in recent times under his watch. He could have done more to foster race relations but instead race relations became more frosty. The New York Times like to say "a samll minority of white working class people" suggesting that small minority makes this a topic of debate and the your question of the day, Jack. It is not a small minority who has suspicions about this president. If it was, we wouldn't be having this conversation. In the end, it is President Obama himself who has made huge contributions to the strains of race in how he has handled such issues and appointments with race being the number one issue of qualification and whether or not an honest investigation is performed in such major controversies like Fast and Furious. If this was a white Attorney General under Bush, Obama would be one of the most vocal in calling for contempt of congress charges in the way Attorney General Holder has handled the inquiry by congress with respect to Fast and Furious.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  198. marybeth, massachusetts

    You would think that what should matter is that we have an intelligent, educated, thoughtful and deliberative man as President regardless of his race, but from what I see on Fox News and hear from Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Hannity, and others, you'd think slavery was still in existence, that blacks aren't citizens, etc. for all of the hatred. I think the election of President Obama has brought racism out even stronger–it seemed to give a green light to all of the bigots out there, and there are still a lot of ignorant, hateful bigots who judge a man solely on the color of his skin. It is as if they can't believe an African-American, even one who is half white as the current president, could be elected, and that has given them license to spew even more racist comments and acts and hatred. I see that they'd rather have a C student, someone who got by on his daddy's connections, money, and power, who shoots first then asks questions, if he even thought to ask questions at all.

    I don't understand it, and will never understand it. But it seems we still have a very, very long way to go before blacks and whites are equal and have equal opportunities in this country. I don't blame the President; the haters will hate him no matter what he does. You just can't fix stupid.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  199. Leonard

    I dont see how any president can have a impact on race relations. I'm a white male and I listen to folks that will not vote for him because his family takes trips like all the families of past presidents. It is true that we are in hard times and I personally believe he should not do as much as those in the past. The press did not follow the other familes like they do his family and I believe it is done to bring out the deep feelings that hear all the time. I hate to hear I can not vote for a black man even though he has done a fairly good job with what he walked into. I have never seen home prices drop, money loans so scarce, and two wars that all started before he took office. We also have to worry about the crashing world market place, has anyone seen a mess like this before and we are doing better than the rest of the world under this adminstration. No one has ever dealt with anything like this before and he has my vote in 2012.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  200. Chitima

    The question should not be, whether the election of Obama changed race relations in this country.. A more honest question should be, how has race relations changed under other Presidents and other influential individuals in this society? It is the responsibility of persons who hold the highest office in this country to work toward the fair treatment of all individuals in this country; not just President Obama. Knowing what you know about the attitudes of some Americans, the questions should not have been aked.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  201. WachetAuf

    Race, among many other things by which people can be classified or distinguished, will always divide us. Why? Because people, all of us, are born with primitive herding instincts. The greatest force in the world, the core element of the herding instinct, is fear. There will always be someone, be it a politician, religious zealot or bigot, who will be sure to insert it into the discussion when it serves his/her purpose. As members of the race of human beings we must be on guard to protect against it in our own lives and speak up about it when we see it affecting the lives of others. President Obama has surely been targeted by many only because of his race. This is not a criticism of every one who speaks against him. But, it surely has affected his tenure as president.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  202. Jim

    Obama's becoming (POTUS) has made no difference in race relations because racism remains alive from the halls of congress to main street. Many of us voted for him 4 years ago because we wanted to make history. Now that history has been made, we are back to reality. The reality is that the Republican machine has been temporarily usurped by the Tea Party who has eroded republican values.However, I don't like Romney. We would be better off with who we have than elect him.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  203. Shawn

    The answer: NO. The presidents race, not the president himself, has only been the conduit for racism and bigotry to rise to the surface. I do feel the majority of people are of the belief that we are all human beings. If we were all blind and only believed in a persons character, think how different this nation, this world would be.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  204. Dennis Jones in Memphis, Tennessee

    Skin color and cultural differences alike are the basis of racism. Throughout the world and its history racism has been a major problem that hinders human relations. People just tend to like their own. It doesn't matter if a black person is a rocket scientist or an opera singer, he's always going to be hated because of his skin color. Trying to end this hate is fighting a losing battle. White people just feel they are superior and better. When that attitude ends- tolerance, at least, will have a chance.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  205. jeff czarneski

    Race relations will never change. Tolerance levels may change. All people are racist, not just in America but all over the world. The more we talk about people and there differences the more racism is in all peoples mind. Keep talking about cupcakes and I will want cupcakes. Now ask me what kind I want and then we will find differences. We like to be different and will let you know about it. Look at the world and you will see.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  206. Brenda

    I am in Washington DC where the Afro-American pulse soared during the presidential elections of 2008 because Barak Obama would be, if elected, the first Black U.S. president. His election would set a precedence–a Black man can lead the United States and successfully. Obama has set that precedence. I did not, however, expect his election to improve race relations. One man cannot do that. Each and every Afro-American has to become on a positive basis, in his own community, a forerunner in improving race relations. Each white American has to judge each Afro-American, based on his actions, as to if the Black community is actively contributing to the American Establishment. The benchmark for that judgement must remain equal for Black and white.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  207. Greg Rockford, IL

    Obama's presidency has exposed a lot of people, from those who overtly tell you they won't vote for him simply because he is black, to the more subtle and nuanced racists like the birthers. However, this is a small price to pay for the simple truth we learned in 2008 – Americans will elect a black person over a white person if he/she offers a better vision for America. I think that truth still exists today and in that sense, race relations have improved.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  208. skarphace

    Jack: while it may seem that the election of a minority as President set the US back in terms of race relations, the reverse is actually true. In order to cleanse an infected wound, you first need to cut it open, let it bleed, and then cauterize it in hopes the infection was cured.

    We are in the 'bleed' phase now. Barack Obama was the knife.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |