When Obama took office, his supporters were very optimistic about what having the first black President would do for our country. We could finally get past racism, and prove it to the world. But it hasn’t turned out like they said.
Having a black President promised to make things fair and equal for everyone. In his campaign, Obama said the U.S. had been “stuck” in “a racial stalemate… for years,” and he wanted to help the country “move beyond some of our old racial wounds.”
Obama himself thinks he’s done a pretty good job at that — he recently said that even though racism is “deeply rooted” in our society, we’ve made progress as a country.
However, most Americans don’t agree with him. A poll by Bloomberg Politics says that 53% of Americans think race relations have gotten worse since Obama took office — 56% of whites and 45% of blacks.
Only 9 percent of the people in the poll said race relations had gotten better under Obama.Another poll by Wall Street Journal and NBC discovered only 40% of white people and 35% of black people thought race relations were “good” in the US. It’s the lowest those numbers have been in almost 20 years.
Instead of becoming less charged, conversations about race have become more controversial. People’s reactions to the decision in Ferguson and NYC are recent examples. The country is much more divided on race now than it was when Obama took office.
Why is that the case?
I’m not here to analyze politics. But I sure do think that if we could look past color instead of constantly pointing out our differences, that would go a long ways toward making relationships between races better instead of worse. Sometimes it seems like the President and the people he appoints are more interested in pointing out the bad, instead of pointing people towards the better America that they say they want.
Photo Credit: Pete Souza, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.