Tags: Barack Obama | race | obama | moderation | law | trayvon martin | blacks

Wash Post: On Race Relations, Obama Toes a Moderate Line

By    |   Monday, 19 January 2015 07:32 AM

President Barack Obama has adhered to a consistent line on race relations since he published his first book "Dreams of my Father" in 1995, The Washington Post reported.

Obama has argued that African-Americans should not surrender to anger, should renounce violence, and work to reform, not destroy, the system. They should also concede that while change has been happening too slowly, life is improving, according to the Post.

While the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whose legacy is commemorated Monday, preached non-violent civil disobedience from outside the system, Obama sits astride the system and counsels moderation, lawful demonstrations, and the use of the legal system to advance civil rights and reform, the Post reported.

Obama speaks comparatively little about race issues. When he does it is usually to herald how much progress minorities have made and promote moderation.

In his first book, "Dreams From My Father," Obama cautioned that collecting grievances would not promote equality or black interests.

In his second book, "The Audacity of Hope," published in 2006 when he was a U.S. senator, he acknowledged that black politicians have to struggle to strike "the right tone" on race — neither too angry, nor not angry enough, the Post reported.

Obama has spoken most frankly — and controversially — about race in extemporaneous remarks.

For example, referring to the actions of a white police officer who handcuffed Henry Louis Gates Jr. outside his own home as stupid. He said of the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting by George Zimmerman of Trayvon Martin, "You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son." The president continued, "Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," the Post reported.

Obama has welcomed a reinvented Al Sharpton to the White House, but continues to distance himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

King emphasized the racial nature of economic disparities, and advocated radical redistribution of economic power. Obama is said to believe that the best way to help disadvantaged blacks is to help all less well-off Americans.

In "The Audacity of Hope," Obama argued that reforming healthcare "would do more to eliminate health disparities between whites and minorities than any race-specific programs we might design," according to the Post.

In an interview with NPR in December, Obama said he disagreed with polls that showed race relations as having deteriorated. He said "day-to-day interactions" were probably less racially divided.

"I assure you, from the perspective of African-Americans or Latinos in poor communities who have been dealing with this all their lives, they wouldn't suggest somehow that it's worse now than it was 10, 15 or 20 years ago."

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President Barack Obama has adhered to a consistent line on race relations since he published his first book "Dreams of my Father" in 1995, The Washington Post reported.
race, obama, moderation, law, trayvon martin, blacks
Monday, 19 January 2015 07:32 AM
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