How Some Americans View Race Relations 4 Years After Election First Black President

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Barack Obama,America’s first Black president

How some in the U.S. view race relations nearly four years after the nation elected its first Black president, Barack Obama:“I don’t know that his election made me feel differently about America because I have always believed that America is a place of great promise. However, his election did show me, and probably more importantly my daughter, that she really could grow up to be president like we often tell her.” — Karl Douglass, Columbus, Ga.
___“I think it helped Americans get over their anxiety about race on the one hand, but since race has been declining in significance for decades, I’m not sure that it did anything more than confirm an established trend. … Race just isn’t what it once was a factor in determining life’s chances.” — Linda Chavez, chairman, Center for Equal Opportunity.___

“The lasting change is that the possible has become tangible. The question is whether we can follow it up with other candidates that can perform. But we can never, ever be told we can’t do it again, or that it’s an impossible dream.” — Rev. Al Sharpton.

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“A lot of people I talk to can’t understand why a man who’s half-White and half-Black is so anti-White.” Ed Cattaneo, Cape May, N.J.

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“It just seems that people in general — some friends and family, a lot of people online — have begun saying more blatantly racist things since Obama became a real contender for the presidency. Even beyond that, I’ve heard people become more vocal about frustrations they have with issues we tend to link to race — immigration, welfare, hate crimes. His presidency seems to have pushed us all into talking about race and racism more. I see that as a good thing because we need to talk about it to solve it, but I know quite a few people who are sick of those discussions and blame him for all of it.” — Ashley Ray, Chicago

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“It’s the power of being. It’s the power of his presence and the fact that you look and you see a person with brown skin in the White House.” — William Smith, executive director, Center for Race Amity