Monday, June 23, 2008

Race Relations in plezWorld

Over the past six months, race relations and attitudes towards race in the US has been front and center with the candidacy of the presumptive Democratic Party nominee Sen. Barack H. Obama, the first Black American to head a major party's ticket in the country's 232 year history. From comfortable wins in states like Iowa, North Dakota, and Montana that have few Black voters; to close losses in states like Indiana, Pennsylvania, and California that have sizable Black numbers; to big wins in states that have large numbers of Blacks; to apparent race-based losses in states like Kentucky and West Virginia, this country has run the gamut in support (and lack in support) of Sen. Obama.

The Washington Post released the results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll (published June 18, 2008) that shows the attitudes towards on race in the United States. The poll shows that 3 in 10 of all Americans admit to at least some racial bias. Overall, 51 percent call the current state of race relations "excellent" or "good." More than six in 10 African Americans now rate race relations as "not so good" or "poor," while 53 percent of whites hold more positive views. Opinions are also divided along racial lines, though less so, on whether blacks face discrimination. There is more similarity on feelings of personal racial prejudice: 30 percent of whites and 34 percent of blacks admit such sentiments.

At the same time, there is an overwhelming public openness to the idea of electing an African American to the presidency. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month, nearly nine in 10 whites said they would be comfortable with a black president. While fewer whites, about two-thirds, said they would be "entirely comfortable" with it, that was more than double the percentage of all adults who said they would be so at ease with someone entering office for the first time at age 72, which McCain (R-Ariz.) would do should he prevail in November.

Read the entire Washington Post article about race here.

plez sez: in this past, i recently wrote about what i saw as the unintended consequences of an Obama presidency in terms of its affect on affirmative action in america. another unintended consequence may be the eventual post-racialism in this country. John McWhorter writes eloquently of how little racism affects america on a day-to-day basis, could it be that a President Obama will finally throw that last shovels full of dirt on the casket of racism?

there will always be those who see black and brown skin as inferior - hell, there are those in the Black community who view darker skin as inferior - but this election may give america its first opportunity to see past race. the poll results show that 30 percent of all americans have some racial bias, but more than 50 percent are comfortable with a Black president. when this country doesn't slide into a moral abyss after Obama's inauguration and when he begins to actually accomplish something during his presidency, we may see these numbers improve dramatically. racism is a sickness of ignorance (demographically, Obama does better with better educated white folk). maybe even a sizable portion of whites who only know Black people from what they see on the evening news will come to see the folly of their racial bias.

on the flip side, i'm in Michelle Obama's camp on this one: this election cycle has for the first time in my adult life given me reason to be truly proud of this country! Barack Obama's candidacy has completely re-written my thoughts on race relations in this country. plezWorld has an Obama '08 bumper sticker on the SUV, i received it from two white Obama campaigners who were eating in a restaurant in my neighborhood; they were returning to Atlanta from the South Carolina primaries that weekend. when i went canvassing on Super Tuesday, my riding partner was an older white lady, Dreaming Bear, from the north georgia mountains who had made the two hour drive to South DeKalb to canvass for Obama!

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