I just heard the announcement on my local NPR station. They will be interviewing President Obama on the question of whether racism has gotten worse during his term.
Presumably, the interview is on tape. They have not yet played it at my local station. But, from the announcement, it looks as if Obama will be saying that actually things have been improving.
I look at this partly from the vantage of a university professor (now retired), and partly as a member of the community. From what I have seen, there is more interracial friendship, more mingling. Overall, I agree that things have been getting better. This has been particularly noticeable over the last 15-20 years and the improvement of racial relations continues.
So why are we hearing so much about racial issues on the news? I believe that to be a backlash from the more racist members of our society. Racism is deeply engrained among some groups. Others have been trying to overcome their racism. But, for people raised during a racist era, that can be difficult.
Our younger folk have grown up in an era of change. And we are seeing that change. There is now far more recognition of the unfairness that minorities often face. And that increasing consciousness of the problem is also part of why we are hearing so many news reports on racial issues.
I’ll ask those of minority groups to be heartened by these changes. I don’t ask them to be patient. I understand their impatience. Change has been far too slow. I naively thought that racism would end with the civil rights legislation of the 1960. But changing laws is easy, compared to changing people and changing cultures. Yet there is ongoing change. Your children will experience less racism than you experienced.