*Like similar national polls before it, the Washington Post Monday released the results of a public opinion survey addressing the issue of whether the presidency of Barack Obama has improved race relations in America.
The answer was generally “no!” Indeed, only 35 percent of those polled felt that Obama’s election and presidency had improved relations between Blacks and whites.
The poll reflected a declining optimism regarding the nation’s first African American president. When the same question was asked in a January 2009 poll, 58 percent felt the Obama presidency had improved race relations in America. In addition, the survey results suggest that some whites may be using the Obama election to argue that racial discrimination no longer exists in America.
Nearly half of all whites polled say that African Americans have achieved racial parity with whites. Meanwhile, only 19 percent of Blacks feel racial parity has been achieved.
However, like previous public opinion surveys, the Washington Post-ABC News poll avoids raising a possibly more pertinent and defining question: For African Americans will the true test of the Obama presidency be whether it improved race relations in America or whether it improved social and economic conditions for Blacks in America.
What is the true test (or tests) of the success or failure of the Obama presidency? Share your views for possible inclusion in a future article by emailing your thoughts to [email protected] or write Robert N. Taylor at 1517 T Street, SE, Washington, D.C. 20020.