Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, says some people “really dislike” him because they don’t like the idea of a black man in the White House. But, he admits, there’s more to the story.
“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president,” Obama told The New Yorker.
Some pointed to Obama’s election in 2008 as evidence of an end to the racial divide in the United States, but the nation has become more divided during his presidency. The New Yorker notes that his margin of white support in 2012 was the worst of any presidential victor in U.S. history.
“The popular opposition to the administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country,” David Remnick wrote in the article.
The article continues to say that Obama’s advisers are convinced that Republicans may lose the White House for two or three more election cycles if they don’t attract more non-white voters, particularly Hispanics and Asians.
“The popular opposition to the Administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country,” Remnick continues.
Though supporting small government does not make one racist, Obama points out, “Philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there.”
He adds, “I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history.”