Help me settle a Thanksgiving weekend quandary. The topic of race relations under Obama came up–namely, have they gotten better or worse.
Admittedly, the question itself is poorly defined. That said, does anyone know of any running polling that would indicate changes in attitudes (whites toward blacks or vice versa) from before Obama came into office? I know that there are plenty of polls showing that Americans think race relations have worsened since Obama took office, but that’s not really the question.
I’ve put this in GQ because I’m really just interested in knowing what data sources are out there, not so much in debating Obama’s role in race relations per se.
Race relations vary from city to city, neighborhood to neighborhood, household to household. There is no way to quantify (much less define) it as a national issue with any metric that would stand up to statistical scrutiny.
One thing that might be measurable is the media representation of racial relations, according to the media’s editorial judgment about what to report and what not to report, but the profit-driven media is the cause (not the effect) of social change.
Wow – I am really surprised at the data kunilou cited. Because I’ve always felt that, since Obama’s election, racial stress has been reduced in Oakland. I was speaking to one of my black friends about it, and he said that having a black man in office was important symbolically and ideologically – it represents a tangible symbol of a fuller participation in the power structure of the nation.
Racial tensions have been made more visible since Obama took office. I know that I really thought things were better and getting even better prior to the 2008 campaigns. But both right-wing and (some lesser but not zero amount of) left-wing reactions tended to be just racially appalling. Thing that hadn’t been getting any national attention for decades (like witch-doctor images and watermelon patch images, etc) suddenly popped up all over the place. I was shocked and appalled.
That said, I don’t think it’s Obama’s FAULT as such…he was the catalyst for all of the doors to all of those closets with white pointy sheets hanging up in the back to open wide.