Friday, July 18, 2008

The Race Divide

The “race divide” has been a subject in this Presidential election, regarding not only Senators John McCain and Barack Obama themselves, but their voters. While politics in American have generally been divide don partisanship, with perhaps some unique voting blocks, a recent New York Times poll highlighted a racial discord for this season.

Perceptions of cultural pluralism significantly differed by different races in the poll. While Obama had support from about 80% of the black respondents, he had only 30% of the white support. McCain conversely had 35% white support and only 5% support from black respondents. The negative view on race relations in the US had in fact increased since the NY Times extensively researched it in 2000.

The poll is indicative of our nation’s social and political climate. Issues stemming from prejudice about race, faith, and other social characteristics are rampant. The Presidential candidates have been struggling to appeal to a diverse group of voters, as Obama increasingly gains support from Latino voters - most of which are concerned about immigration, as McCain recently spoke to the NAACP and called for educational improvements in black districts, and as Native-American voters are mobilized as large blocs in states like New Mexico.

As African-American and Latino-American communities are greatly engaged, it remains to be seen how other ethnic communities are engaged as well, like Asian-Americans. The inclusion of this nation’s diversity is important, and the candidates should be more careful in how they address certain issues that would exclude an entire community, remain aware of the diverse groups that are waiting in line, and recognize that every community holds sway in the pluralistic fabric of this country.


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