The Root: African-American Reactions to Obama's Victory

Alvin F. Poussaint and Amy Alexander
Contributors to The Root
Wednesday, November 5, 2008; 12:00 PM

In an article for The Root published earlier this week, psychiatrist Alvin F. Poussaint, MD and journalist Amy Alexander wrote: "On the Day After -- should [Obama] win the presidency -- there will be a sense of wonderment, excitement, exhaustion and disbelief. And in the days after that, once the afterglow has subsided, we will confront a world that is somehow different... but also not so different. This is when each individual will begin assessing his or her role: Will the old way of doing things still work? Or has Barack Obama provided each of us an opportunity to remake our own self-image?"

So now that the election results are in and Barack Obama will indeed become the first black president in American history, how are you feeling? Poussaint and Alexander were online Wednesday, November 5 to discuss your reactions to this historic election -- and the challenges ahead for African-Americans and for the entire nation.

Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, is co-author with Bill Cosby of Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors, and co-author, with Amy Alexander, of Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans. He is professor of psychiatry, Judge Baker Children's Center and Harvard Medical School. Amy Alexander is the Alfred A. Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute.

A transcript follows.

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Dr. Alvin Poussaint: This is Dr. Alvin Poussaint. So many emotions, both expected and unexpected, are going through the minds of all of us since Obama was elected yesterday. Many of us are left with questions both about coping now and about what lies ahead in the future. I look forward to your questions.

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Amy Alexander: Hi everyone, I'm happy to be here, and ready to take your questions. I suspect emotions are high about now, which is why we thought it would be a good idea to open the floor on this front.....

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Friendly, Maryland: At midnight, I told my friend, "Happy New Year!!"

November 4, 2008 became New Year's Eve for African Americans. The celebration in Chicago, New York, Washington DC looked like welcoming in a New Year. Truly at 1:00 AM November 5, 2008, it is a new time. To see so many people of all races and creeds celebrating as one for the President-elect Obama, future First Lady Michelle Obama and the their beautiful daughters, in the US and all over the world, I can only say Happy New Year!!

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: Yes, it was a Happy New Year, but it was much more than that. It would be more descriptive to call it A New Day and a new future for all Americans. This presidency is certainly going to be more inclusive than any before him. People from all backgrounds must work together on his behalf for the long term.

Amy Alexander: And it will be exciting to see how this election affects the ways that Americans deal with each other, in a day to day, on the ground basis....

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Harrisburg, Pa.: I see this as a younger generation putting aside the divides of our past. The younger people did not live through some of the past divisive times and they were raised to be more open and they approach others according to personality rather than prejudging upon sight. The younger people appear to network more, appreciate different types of personalities more, and are more accepting of others who are different. How close to reality am I on this analysis?

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: The younger generation is probably less racist and open to accepting differences in people. This is a result of the civil rights movement, women's movement, and the gay/lesbian movement, that emerged and continued after the height of the civil rights movement. More of our young people are engaged in community service than ever before and this bodes well. I think many of our young people, tho, still have a way to go to be focused more on the "we" and than the "I." Blatant consumerism has too much of a hold on our young people today.

Amy Alexander: Yes, and if President Obama is successful in his plan to create jobs in Energy and Green technology, I think it will give young people enthusiasm about their investment in the future, far beyond just working a job to buy more useless stuff!

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Washington, D.C. : Given all that Obama has achieved, has there been any mention that there is no longer a need for affirmative action now that we will have a black president?

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: In my opinion, as long as we have continued racial discrimination and profiling in America, we will need affirmative action programs for minorities and all people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Too many have been shut out from equal opportunity. I think President-Elect Obama supports affirmative action but primarily for poor minorities as well as poor whites. He does not think that his daughters, for instance, should be entitled to affirmative action.

Amy Alexander: Yes. It also should be said that the best versions of affirmative action programs are those that open the pool of candidates to a wider group than in the past. This is not the same as quotas, it is geared toward increasing access to universities, jobs, government contracts, etc., to a broader pool of prospectives... there is still a huge need for this.

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The Cosby Show: Dr. Poussaint, I hope you don't mind my saying that to me, you are the man from the Cosby Show credits! I am a white Gen-X'er, or should I say from the Cosby generation? I can't be the only one to have thought that the Obamas, with their professional achievements, loving marriage and adorable kids, are like a real-life Huxtable family on our political scene. Do you think the success of the Cosby Show two decades ago helped prepare us, in any way, for the exciting election of Barack Obama?

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: The Cosby Show, with its non-stereotypic portrayal of a professional black family, won the hearts and devotion of many Americans from all walks of life. I think it did prepare the younger generation to see black Americans as people with issues and concerns just like their own. A recent writer, in fact, talked about the Huxtable Effect and its positive impact on Obama's candidacy. It shows you the power of the media to shape things in a positive way when it takes the high ground.

Amy Alexander: Yes, and ideally, we all will now see the value of sticking to the "high ground:" How else could Obama have endured this, and prevailed? It is an absolutely fantastic example that should resonate with all Americans...

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Washington, DC: I didn't vote for Obama, but hope he does well.

However, I don't know if I would call the election a Landslide. Perhaps in the electoral college, but Obama only got 3 or 4 percent more than Clinton and 3 or 4 percent more than Kerry. This is still a divided nation and if Obama doesn't govern like the moderate he said he would be in the election, he could pull a Jimmy Carter and be done in 4 years. However, if he does what he said he would and be the president of all people he would sail to re-election. My main concern is that his record doesn't match the down the center guy who ran for president.

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: Obama, in preparing for the presidency, and the mess he has inherited, will have an enormous amount of work to do, both in bringing Americans together and getting us all on the right path to a stronger future, particularly in terms of foreign affairs and the economy. How well he manages these issues will become part of his legacy, for better or for worse.

Amy Alexander: Let's envision a scenario in which the high level of enthusiasm that emerged in this long, long campaign season carries through... it has been said, by some who are more cynical than I, that America only gave the keys to the bus to a black man just as it is heading over the cliff... I do not subscribe to that theory, and hope that not many others do... it is counter-productive.

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Anonymous: For me, Alice Walker has voiced the spirit and promise of Obama's -and America's -- victory. In "Open Letter to Barack Obama," she writes: "seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about." Ase.

washingtonpost.com: Alice Walker's "An Open Letter to Barack Obama" (TheRoot.com, Nov. 5)

Amy Alexander: Lovely.

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Nicosia, Cyprus : I am a white American who voted for Obama because I felt he was the better candidate. But I must say I am so proud to be American today to see the first black president in our nation's history. I hope that this will be the beginning of bridging the gaps that exist between races in our country.

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: I share your hope!

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SW Nebraska: There is still a lot of fear and anger in this red portion of the country. No one I know here listened to Obama's speech. They still talk about him being a Muslim and his relatives in Kenya killing Christians. Any hope?

Amy Alexander: That is to be expected. Unsettled race relations are as much a part of America as amber waves of grain and purple mountains majesty. I think, though, that once the hold-outs see that President Obama really MEANT it when he said last night that he will be the president for everyone, they will come around... otherwise, I'm afraid they will make themselves sick, and alienate themselves from their own communities... which are becoming browner and younger by the second.

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Reston, Va.: When I was a kid, I went to a school named after a man who was killed in the Civil Rights movement, we spent the entire month of February, every year studying black history and until I grew up and moved out of New Hampshire to Atlanta, Georgia, I never knew racism was still alive and well in the US. People in Georgia would confide their prejudices, thinking a white male would be sympathetic. Mostly, I was just in a perpetual state of shock. My hope for this election is that the US will now quickly become like my childhood experience where a school of 300 white kids looked forward to February so we could learn another perspective on American History and where people in other parts of the country do not assume I am prejudiced just because I am white.

Amy Alexander: How interesting that you say people have "assumed you are prejudiced because you are white." Perhaps the hardest-to-quantify aspect of Sen. Obama's being elected is this: Many white Americans, for the first time, will be able to put themselves into the shoes of a black person. I cannot know the details of your experience but I think it might be worth looking closely at each situation in which you believed blacks or other ethnic minorities were "assuming" that you are prejudiced... how can you be sure of that?

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St. Paul, Minn.: How much of the burden to unleash the heavy chains of injustice inflicted upon the impoverished black and minority population do you think Obama will feel? Furthermore, how does he go about mitigating those issues and begin a real dialogue about race in this country?

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: A greater dialogue on race in America has begun because of Senator Obama's historic candidacy and victory. We all have a responsibility to continue this dialogue on a local level around issues that are most important to us, including the economy, education, and health care. There are still many racial barriers that continue to lead to painful inequities among minorities and the poor.

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Laurel: A pundit on CNN last night, William Bennett, was asked what it means to have the first African-American president. His response was (best I can do from memory), speaking as a former Secretary of Education, it means we should no longer accept that circumstances are an excuse for low performance.

While Colorado voted for a Democrat for the first since 1964; their referendum to end affirmative action is too close to call. I think a lot of (non-racist) whites are going to point to President Obama and say "See; you just need to act more like HIM."

Amy Alexander: That idea speaks to the "talented tenth" concept that WEB DuBois espoused. I think that over time, as President Obama settles in, and as we grow accustomed to him leading America, it will become increasingly apparent that his exceptionalism does not come exclusively from his racial make-up...

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Anonymous: I've heard Obama compared to Tiger Woods, Jackie Robinson, Bill Cosby, President Palmer from "24," and, in the NYT this week, the Sidney Poitier character from "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Who, real or fictional, do you think helped mentally prepare Americans who otherwise might have been reluctant to vote for a black man?

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: Positive images and popular celebrities from many fields helped to prepare Americans to see blacks as productive members in all walks of life. Stereotypes faded, but have not entirely disappeared. These changes in the perceptions of blacks certainly helped Obama draw on large support from whites and others.

Amy Alexander: Yes, and speaking of "stereotypes" it will be fascinating to see if or how quickly the cultural landscape shifts to reflect the election of Obama... specifically, will some young blacks continue to think it "cool" to blow off school? How about the rappers who seem to have made out quite nicely, financially, by highlighting despair in poor communities?

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Arlington, Va.: Sportswriter Michael Wilbon got this question yesterday in his chat, but I'd be interested in your thoughts about it as well:

"Could we get you to comment on the following: African-American youth, when seeking same-race role models in media images, have had mostly athletes and artists to choose from. How powerful will the change be when that choice is widened to include the nation's chief executive? Thanks"

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: I think it is important to have black role models in many different positions and occupations. I agree that although we have some role models on TV of blacks being in professional positions, the dominant images are of athletes and entertainers. Many of our young people, therefore, look to careers in sports and entertainment and do not consider all of the many other career paths that lead to a good life and achievement. Young people should understand that only a small percentage of young blacks make it into the highly competitive world of sports and entertainment. That's why getting a good education is important for all youth and strengthens the community.

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November 4, 2008 became New Year's Eve for African Americans: For ALL Americans! not just African Americans! I feel a sense of hope and new begining too! I promised myself I'd use this new beginning as a reminder to be more positive in other parts of my life as well. Thank you Barack Obama for giving me hope.

Amy Alexander: You have said the magic word: Hope is to improving what right now appear to be intractable "pathologies" bearing down on blacks in America -- high rates of incarceration, drug abuse, and increasing suicides among black men, especially... when Dr. P. and I wrote about blacks and mental health, we found that in all the reams of suicide research that has been conducted in the past century, "hope" is always on the list of factors that are most crucial to prevent people from killing themselves... when people lose hope, then all bets are off.

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I think it might be worth looking closely at each situation in which you believed blacks or other ethnic minorities were "assuming" that you are prejudiced... how can you be sure of that? : He meant the opposite: White racists assume we agree with them just cuz we're white. I am still stunned sometimes the racist things people say to me, assuming I'm OK with it just cuz I'm white. I always say "I find that statement offensive!" (or something to that effect).

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: It's very important that white people speak up to other whites who make racist comments. That's one way to send the message and hopefully change their behavior.

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Pittsburgh: Will educators now seize the opportunity to convince Black youths of the value of studying hard, staying in school, and respecting education, now that kids know they CAN grow up to become President? Will President Obama emphasize the value of education?

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: We are all currently working hard to help black youth seize the opportunity of a good education. Obama has put a great deal of emphasis on young people, particularly poor blacks trapped in poor schools and decaying communities, to put every effort to improve our schools and secure a good education for their children.

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Colorado: I teach in two majority-minority schools. The people I'm happiest for today are my students. They now live in a world where it's already happened and they're young enough where this is the way it's always been. Minorities have always been able to be elected president, in their minds.

That lesson is more powerful than I or anybody else can imagine or teach them.

Amy Alexander: I'm sure. This was always the not so subtle undercurrent of the campaign -- the fact that young Americans, those born after 1980 or so, have an absolutely revolutionary relationship with "race" and "race relations" in the US.

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Richmond: You might be surprised how many bigoted things bigots say to other whites, assuming we agree. Last week a guy on my block said he wouldn't let his daughter watch "Dora the Explorer" because "it was Mexican".

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: The guy on your block harbors serious prejudice toward Mexicans. It would have been very important for you to speak up and call him on it. We should not be passive in confronting overt racism.

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SE D.C.: What does this do to the psyche of the young black male or the black male in general? For so long we have been "an endangered species." Do we now have to look up and see our respective (not collective) opportunities lost?

Amy Alexander: The black psyche is absolutely going to benefit from this election, how could it not? It will take time, as all healing must. But in a deeply emotional way, I think, blacks across generational lines have a living, breathing example of a national leader who at last looks like we do -- and in all likelihood -- actually inherently "gets" us.

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Washington, DC: Further on Dr. Poussaint's point about continued discrimination and racial profiling, it troubles me that so many people are quick to say we have entered a post-racial era. On the day Sen. Obama announced who his VP running mate would be, the patriarch and two college-bound sons of a prominent black family in Washington, D.C. were stopped, frisked and had their car searched by District police because they were driving a vehicle "similar to one reported to have been involved in a crime earlier that evening." The father's repeated attempts to explain that he was driving his sons to their new dorm at Howard University fell on deaf ears. The country should be buoyed by such an inclusive national election. But, we still need to recognize and address these systemic problems, not just say we are past them.

Amy Alexander: Absolutely. There are many signs that our institutions require some serious talk therapy following Sen. Obama's election! In all seriousness, yes, even public and private institutions that are in place to improve and protect citizens -- police departments, universities, nonprofit foundations -- will, I hope, use this historic election to re-examine their own commitment to increasing access, fairness, and opportunities. Especially in leadership positions. I can't tell you how many "do gooder" organizations, for example, those that work in low-income communities, or work to increase fundiing for adoption programs, etc., have leadership structures that are entirely white and upper-middle class. It creates an echo chamber and group-think that is most problematic...

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Reston, Va.: Sorry I wasn't clear -- WHITE PEOPLE in the south when I lived there assumed I was one of them and would say really racist things that would make me confront them. I have never had anything but great relationships with African Americans.

Amy Alexander: Ah, well that is a whole different dynamic. Thanks for clarifying, Reston.

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Arlington, Va.: How much did you think that, when the opposition said "inexperienced" they really meant "incapable" and when the said "socialist" they really meant "he's going to give your money to black folks"? Or does looking for racism in such statements do more harm than good?

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: There are often undercurrents and code words perceived differently by different people that may have hidden racial messages for those who are looking for them. It is always risky, however, to publicly claim that these words have racist intent -- particulary if you are running in an election where you hope for support from a wide variety of white voters.

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Washington, D.C.: Will this put an end to the race card argument in politics? I mean, more people voted for Obama because he was black than voted against him for the same reason.

As a 28 year old white man, I am sick and tired of hearing the race card be used to justify fathers not taking care of their children, kids who don't go to school and violence.

Amy Alexander: Plenty of black folks, too, are "sick to death" of men who don't take care of their children. I must say that I'm suspicious of anyone who uses the term "the race card" in this context! I happen to have lived for a time in a part of California that was home to thousands of low-income whites -- the sons and daughters of Dust Bowl refugees -- who had low school attendance rates, high rates of pregnancy, high arrest rates, etc. I considered, briefly, viewing their experience as "evidence" that white people are basically lazy and underachieving and possibly criminally inclined... but then I remembered how absurd that would be!

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Washington, D.C.: I am so elated over Obama's election. At the same time I was disheartened by the racist commentary you saw on blogs and from some in the crowds at McCain-Palin events. Were you surprised to see that kind of blatant racism in 2008? And will this continue to dog our new president and his family and administration?

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: I was not surprised to see that kind of blatant racism in 2008. We have not eliminated all the racism in the United States and there are pockets of extreme racism that remain in America. There was an undetermined percentage of white Americans during the campaign who said they would not vote for Obama simply because he was black.

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Anywhere, USA: As a black man I had very few role models. Sen. Obama now can be added to that list. He and his family have survived the fight of their lives. He has braved the press, public opinion and the ridicule of those who thought he would lose. To me he is a not only a hero, he is a gift from God. Even if he is the worst President in history, he is the bravest. All great leaders suffer. MLK, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Medgar Evers all suffered as they lived with the constant reminder that they were BLACK!!! I hope that every day when he wakes up he realizes that he has to suffer to be a great leader. I hope that Black Americans read your article and understand that to ease the pain we have to work hard and strive to be involved in family, community, and Church. America will be different forever. It is up to us to determine the future and be role models for the next generation.

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: Yes, it is up to us to be positive role models and help determine productive future for our chidlren. Remember, the best role models are family members and relatives who have a direct relationship with a young person.

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Funny?: There's been a lot of talk that Obama is straight-and-narrow, that he's tough to lampoon -- the sketches built around him on Saturday Night Live pale in comparison to those of McCain, Biden and Fey, I mean Palin.

There's also been some discussion that white comics and white audiences are going to have trouble making or laughing at jokes at his expense. (Surely it's not a coincidence that Comedy Central has hired David Allen Grier and CNN has hired DL Hughley.)

It would seem that an ability eventually to laugh at President Obama would be, in its own weird way, a sign of racial progress. How do you see this playing out?

Amy Alexander: Great question, Funny! I so agree that this will be an intriguing opportunity....though I do despair that the predominantly white writing staffs of Jon Stewart, S. Colbert, Letterman, et al, will not quite be up to the challenge at first... I personally think Sen. Obama is hilarious, in his deeply earnest way. I mean, he calls himself "a skinny guy with big ears," and has deft timing, as we saw at the Al Smith dinner in NYC the other week... he is eminently Lampoonable, it simply will require writers who are well-versed in the nuances of black culture, including class and history. I see many sketches featuring "President Obama" as he introduces basketball and Jay Z to Britain's Gordon Brown and Germany's Angela Merkel!

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WHITE PEOPLE in the south when I lived there assumed I was one of them : Remember, Obama won Virginia and North Carolina, so not all white folks in the south are racists! Blessed day.

Amy Alexander: Yes, and thanks for pointing that out... No longer can one assume that "whites in the Deep South" automatically tracks with "racists."

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Boston, Mass.: I am overjoyed at Obama's election to the presidency and his call for us to become involved. As, a California native and an African-American woman I am also saddened by the passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. African-Americans voted for this en masse. How can the African-American tradition of social justice be reconciled with our closely held Christian religiosity, which is deeply intertwined with many African-Americans' repudiation of LBTQI Rights?

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: I agree with you that is very disappointing, if true, that African Americans voted en masse to ban same sex marriage in California. It is a step backward in the fight for human rights and justice. We need to continue to educate all Americans to respect the human rights of the LBTQI community and not give up the struggle to have these laws overturned in the future. A lot of African Americans are opposed to homosexuality based on religious teachings that are espoused in the churches many of them attend. I think such teachings are wrong and backward.

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D.C.: I will admit that as an Asian, I often fear that EVERYONE (whites, blacks, Latinos) around me harbors racist or prejudiced feelings towards me. Hopefully they don't, but that's a pernicious effect of racism -- that you always suspect it.

Amy Alexander: D.C., how true, sadly. The challenge is to not allow yourself to be eaten alive by paranoia on this front... I think that Sen. Obama's story/experience demonstrates the benefit of giving people the benefit of the doubt... because of his multi-cultural experience, he seems to understand that often times, people aren't even aware of their various limitations/blind spots/prejudices... often, the best tack (unless someone is so blatant as to call you out of your name!) is to try to probe, gently, beneath the surface... We have much more in common than we do in difference.

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'racial makeup': As we pause on this historic day can we ask ourselves at the same time: do we have a coherent experience based on our color?

Is there a black experience?

Is there a white experience?

Seems to me that as we become more diverse it becomes harder to identify your experience with another person's experience based on skin color.

I'm white so I don't know if I'm missing something profound about collective history.

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: There are differences in the white experience versus the black experience. But they vary greatly and may even overlap, depending on the economic, educational, and cultural background of each individual. We should all try to expose ourselves to individuals from diverse backgrounds to enrich our own experiences and gain alternative perspectives on both social and psychological issues.

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Bennett's mistake: I knew this would happen. The minute Obama is elected, right-wingers start denying that there is any racism left in America. Yes, it's true that people should try to overcome adversity to achieve, but it's also true that there is disproprotionate adversity for a large part of the minority population. Knee-jerk anti-affirmative-action prejudice is as bad as knee-jerk affirmative action prejudice.

Amy Alexander: Yes, we should all be prepared to hear the "the end of racism as we know it" line from some quarters. But, I am optimistic that the new Administration will set about quickly both unraveling some of the systemic inequalities affecting education, criminal justice, etc., and also building in policies that will level the playing field for all. The Obama Administration, I am hopeful, will pay as much if not more attention to these crucial domestic issues as to our international affairs.

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St. Paul, MN: I think it fair and necessary to point out that there are plenty of fathers with white skin who have dropped the ball when it comes to caring for their children as well as their communities. Deadbeat Dad Syndrome is by no means exclusive to minority populations nor men. Let's stop defending our racist tendencies as white people by pointing fingers at every black young man who doesn't seize every opportunity that comes his way as we have let many slip by as well.

Amy Alexander: Hear, hear, St. Paul! And actually, on the Deadbeat Dad front, I sincerely believe it has more to do with immaturity (of men!) than with race or possibly even class... and, believe me, I know a little bit about this dynamic, sad to say...

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Pittsburgh: I couldn't be happier about or prouder of the nation and the Obama family. My husband and I are middle-aged white folks who followed the campaigns closely and came to the conclusion over time that Senator Obama was the best possible choice for our next president. We have been afraid to hope it would happen!! Do you think his example will give brainy talented motivated children the confidence to pursue academic excellence and not worry about being accused by their peers of "acting white?"

Dr. Alvin Poussaint: Obama's triumph will probably inspire many black children to have more hope and seek a better education. But they need the help of good schools and parents who support their efforts and become involved in improving the schools their children attend.

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Re: White southerners: I grew up in the all-white suburbs of Grand Rapids Michigan and had the great good fortune of making a home in Virginia for twenty years. The main difference I see between the south and north is that the migration of African Americans to the north resulted in predominantly inner city black neighborhoods. In the south the black population is dispersed throughout the countryside and blacks and whites have been living near one another for generations. They know and understand each other's culture. That's not to say there isn't blatant racism in the south but there is a great deal of understanding between the two groups. I now live in Pittsburgh and it appears to me that the racial discussion here is about thirty years behind someplace like Richmond, Va. Here in SW Pennsylvania it is not uncommon for whites to start a conversation with "I am not prejudiced, but..." and then say the most racially insensitive things.

Amy Alexander: Ah yes, the old, "some of my best friends are black" syndrome! I think that is a generational reality that will change, naturally, over time. The election of Sen. Obama may speed up its demise but it will not happen overnight.

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Amy Alexander: We're out of time... this has been very cathartic! Thank you all so much.

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Dr. Alvin Poussaint: Thanks for your questions. I hope that Obama's victory will bring new hope and possibilities to your life and the well-being of your community. Stay involved in the civic process and more victories will come.

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