Obama's 100th day: Is race still an issue?

April 29, 2009 3:04:57 PM PDT
As U.S. President Barack Obama marks his 100th day in office, ABC7 takes a look at how his position has affected race relations.President Obama seems to have brought a greater degree of political racial tolerance to Washington- and the rest of the nation. Now, the mainstream media makes his a race a virtual 'non-issue,' much like it is in his old Chicago neighborhood.

Not much has changed in the Hyde Park neighborhood where Barack and Michelle Obama have lived for most of their marriage. Their ownership of a first-floor unit they lived in until 2005 hasn't done much for property values at Eastview Park.

"If you bought the property less than 5 years ago, the value is probably less than you paid for it," said Ann Marie Kirby, resident.

But residents at Eastview take pride that their diverse neighborhood spawned the nation's first African-American first family.

"To me and my friends, what matters is we want a good man in that office," said Barbara Wichura, neighborhood resident.

The Obamas then moved into a now super-secured mini-mansion just a few blocks away. From there, they moved into the White House, where the president, first lady and first daughters have become the most photographed family in the world. Their race is rarely mentioned anymore.

"I think people now beginning to see that he really is the president, not merely a Negro president or a black president," said Robert Starks, N'Digo columnist.

A group of black community organizers- who are doing the same type of work Obama did in Chicago during the 1980s- say they are not convinced the new president is focusing enough on the plight of the urban poor. They look critically at the black Chicagoans Obama took with him to Washington.

"I thought he would have at least taken one grass root person with him," said Harold Davis, community organizer.

Wichura, who lived in the unit above the Obama family for nearly 15 years, said the new president's race remains an issue- just maybe not in Hyde Park.

"I think if you get to some of the very rural areas, you probably have people who don't like it at all," said Wichura.

The Obama family has only been in Chicago one weekend since moving to Washington.


Load Comments