April 29th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

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



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


February 19th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

U.S. a “nation of cowards” when it comes to race?


Nearly 46 years after the March on Washington, the Attorney General says Americans remain in their "race-protected cocoons." (PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some tough words from the nation's first African-American attorney general.

Eric Holder says the U.S. is "essentially a nation of cowards" when it comes to openly talking about race relations.

Holder was speaking to Justice Department employees celebrating Black History Month. He says that although the workplace has become mostly integrated, Americans still self-segregate themselves on the weekends and in their free time. "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," said Holder.

Holder says race is often a political discussion, but not one among average Americans. He says he was motivated by President Barack Obama's speech on race last fall. At the time, then-
candidate Obama called on the nation to break "a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years." He delivered that landmark speech to try to distance himself from the hateful sermons of his former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Holder echoed Obama's words in saying there's still so much work to be done in this area. He called on people to be more honest with one another and open to criticism. The attorney general described Americans as being stuck in what he calls their "race-protected cocoons" and said that when it comes to how most of us spend our free time the country in some ways isn't so different from 50 years ago.

Here’s my question to you: Do you agree with Attorney General Eric Holder that the U.S. is a "nation of cowards" when it comes to race?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Eric Holder • Race Relations
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