The Race to Preserve Racism
At least — many of us hoped — the United States could finally move past the racial divide. Yes, we expected opposition to President Obama to be quickly equated with racism, but it seemed the broader declarations of the United States as a racist country would be ridiculous on their face. It appears, though, that racial harmony will continue to be a long, slow development:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 36% of voters now say relations between blacks and whites are getting better. That’s down from 62% in July of last year at the height of the controversy involving a black Harvard professor and a white policeman. That number had fallen only slightly to 55% in April of this year.
Twenty-seven percent (27%) now say black-white relations are getting worse, up 10 points from July 2009, while 33% think they’re staying about the same.
African-Americans are much more pessimistic than whites. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of whites think black-white race relations are getting better, but just 13% of blacks agree.
It’s impossible to know, now, but I’d speculate that, had President Obama been a more conventional president — more modest in his ambitions and moderate in his ideology — the trends of opinion on race would be heading in the other direction. Of course, it’s not but so partisan to wonder whether the Democrats actually see that as a desirable opportunity lost.