The president has substantially set back race relations in the United States.
When the country elected Barack Obama president in 2008, those of us who disagreed with many of his policy ideas were nonetheless consoled by the fact that his victory illustrated that America had moved well beyond institutional racism. Certainly the fact that Obama had succeeded in both a hard-fought Democratic primary and a general election meant that the country was ready to move past the intense focus on race in our national politics. Boy, were we wrong! Rather than seeing his own victory as a significant advance in American social life, Obama and those he appointed to his administration vigorously put forward the idea that America remains a deeply racist country, and they have redefined racism in the broadest terms possible. It’s not a coincidence, then, that more than seven years into the administration of the nation’s first black president, Americans are more deeply divided on race then they have been in decades. Their own president has fostered the divide.