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On Election Day 2008, many Democrats welcomed a new post-racial America. The hideous blight of slavery and Jim Crow could never be forgotten, but our first African-American President would in some small way help atone for those sins and ultimately transcend them. Even Republicans shared the emotions of Grant Park, where thousands crying elderly blacks finally saw that America could elect a person of color.
Despite these bipartisan hopes, the nation is more racially obsessed than it has been in 25 years. In a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 63 percent of Americans think race relations are “generally bad.” Shortly after Obama took office, that number was 22 percent. In the same time period, those who think race relations are “generally good” plummeted from 66 percent to 32 percent.