A great number of Americans still have "feelings of superiority to people of color," former President Carter says.
In a wide-ranging interview
with AARP Bulletin, the 90-year-old Carter said recent stories about "mistreatment of black people in the judicial and police realm has been a reminder that the dreams of the civil rights movement have not been realized."
"Many Americans still have racist tendencies or feelings of superiority to people of color," Carter tells AARP.
The 39th president, who has remained active in humanitarian efforts – and outspoken
about Israel and the Palestinian Authority – also warned against the influence wealthy special interests in politics, saying over-the-top campaign spending has chained presidential elections since he launched his own in 1976.
"I don’t think anybody now can hope to be the nominee of the Democratic or Republican Party if they can’t raise like a quarter of a billion dollars," Carter tells AARP. "This massive infusion of money automatically polarizes our country."
"When hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent tearing down the reputation of an opponent in order to get elected, animosity and negativism carries on into Washington," he adds.
Carter says he wouldn't get far in today's political climate.
"There was harmony among Congressmen when I was there, and I got just as much support from Republicans as I did from Democrats," Carter says. "I can’t imagine myself as a successful candidate today."
He also admits "I was a little upset at the time" when he wasn't asked to speak at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
"But now I've gotten over it," he says.
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