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Obama and race

Posted: July 15, 2014 3:01 p.m.
Updated: July 16, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent statement that race plays a part in some Americans’ opposition to President Obama’s policies has stirred strong reaction from both liberals and conservatives, and reaction has highlighted the fact -- no surprise here -- that blacks and whites often look at issues of race differently. We suspect that Kershaw County would mirror the national opinions of a recent Gallup poll in which people were asked whether this country’s criminal justice system is biased against blacks. More than two-thirds of whites said no, while about the same percentage of blacks said yes.

While we think most opposition to the president is based on his policies and not his race, there certainly is some credence to Holder’s opinion. As one law professor noted in an editorial piece, blacks generally talk to blacks about racial issues, and whites generally talk to whites. There’s a lack of interaction in such discussions, and that breeds a scarcity of understanding from both perspectives.

Of course, some of Holder’s comments -- and the reaction from conservatives --  revolves around politics. Liberals want their voters to turn out at the polls in November, and conservatives want theirs to show up. So yes, Holder’s probably stirring the pot a bit to create interest for the fall elections. But there’s nothing wrong with that; conservatives do the same thing. The important thing is that rational discussions take place about race in this country; that’s a part of the equation that has always been missing.


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