Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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July 28, 2013

ED VASICEK: U.S. racial disparities no better under Obama

Challenges need secular, sacred strategies

During the 2008 election, several friends and relatives (all white) commented they were supporting Barack Obama partly because an African-American president would inspire the African-American community to achieve new heights — and prove that racial barriers could be overcome.

Conservatives (most of them white) were eager to support Herman Cain with his 9-9-9 tax plan. If Cain had kept his record clean, he probably would have been the next president of our nation.

Years ago, the idea of an African-American president seemed impossible. Even more remote would be a conservative surge of support for an African-American presidential candidate.

But has the Obama presidency really helped the average African-American? How can we measure qualities like aspiration? Can we chart the goal-setting trends of today’s youth? Whatever the future, it is obvious the benefit is not showing up now.

Cortney O’Brien, in a recent column, said the majority of Floridians polled (mostly Democrats) believe the Trayvon Martin case verdict was correct —and the president has consistently bungled race relations during his time in office.

O’Brien writes, “Also intriguing was Question #5, which read, ‘In your opinion, have race relations in the United States gotten better or worse since Barack Obama took office almost 5 years ago, or have they stayed about the same?’ Fifty-three percent answered that race relations have deteriorated since Obama’s inauguration, with only 10 percent saying they’ve improved.”

Progress with impoverished communities — often populated by African-Americans — seems slow. The Kokomo Tribune recently carried an article about the mayor of Gary requesting Gov. Mike Pence to send in state troopers to help bolster the local police force; a surge in the murder rate is behind the request.

The city of Detroit — the former automobile manufacturing capital of the world — is trying to file bankruptcy. The city likewise is noted for its large, impoverished African-American population.

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