For Obama, Nuance on Race Invites Questions

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, February 9, 2010

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On Capitol Hill, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have expressed irritation that Mr. Obama has not created programs tailored specifically to African-Americans, who are suffering disproportionately in the recession. {snip}

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Some black scholars say Mr. Obama has failed to lead on the race issue. {snip} After analyzing the State of the Union address, the institute’s [.The Kirwan Institute, which studies race and ethnicity] scholars warned that “continued failure to engage race would be devastating.”

Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University sociologist and longtime supporter of Mr. Obama, is exasperated. “All these teachable moments,” he said, “but the professor refuses to come to the class.”

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But Elinor Tatum, the editor and publisher of the black-owned Amsterdam News, says that if blacks were asked “Is he doing a good job for African-Americans?” his numbers would be lower.

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