There's some interesting new polling out from Gallup showing that, despite the election of the first African-American president, there hasn't been a big shift in racial attitudes. I suppose at some level that shouldn't be surprising. The election of Obama himself represented a thaw in racial attitudes, certainly since the civil rights era, but also since the 80s and 90s--the L.A. Riots, O.J. Simpson trial, etc. It's probably wrong to expect that after 10 months in office it would be much different. And the questions that Gallup poses are pretty crude measures: Do you expect America's race problems will end? That percentage is about the same as it was in 1963--55%--after dipping at the end of the O.J. trial to 29 %. Not surprisingly, African-Americans are more likely to say that racism exists now than whites. The more supple measures of race relations--intermarriage, friends of a different race, interaction, neighborhood and school integration--probably haven't changed perceptibly in the last year either, but those metrics will be interesting to watch in the coming years.
"It's outrageous what's on TV. It looks like that man is in charge of the country."