Today on CNN Newsroom

The latest news and information from around the world. Also connect with CNN through social media. We want to hear from you.
September 17th, 2009
12:22 PM ET

President Obama and race, how should the President respond to attacks?

How should the Obama administration handle race and politics?

Should they, for example, respond to protestors who compare President Obama to Hitler - or just look the other way?

Author Tim Wise says they're walking a fine line. He wrote 'Between Barack and a hard place–racism and white denial in the age of Obama.'

He spoke with CNN's Fredricka Whitfield.


Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Randy N

    Well if he himself didn't act racist, then most people would have a problem with it. The people he has put in as czars,judges, He speaks out without knowing all relevent facts.( sample his friend getting arrested and he tells the police they acted supidly. Yes this is a good President. Ha. Impeach. Vote Tea Vote Randy

    September 17, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  2. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Thats all America needs is for some loud mouth like Jimmy Carter digging up bones of racism . In this time of trouble being racist is counter productive to the rebuilding of our economy were all going to have to live with each other like it or not we cant let people like Jimmy Carter drive a wedge between the people that have put racism behind them we are all Americans and our race is red white and blue lets all move on and ignore the idiots .

    September 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  3. Matt, Washington DC

    What attacks?

    When?

    Where?

    President Obama is doing the right thing and ignoring these distractions by the Limbaughs and Becks of the world as they throw rocks and hide their hands. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. The right understands that if the President is successful in turning around the economy, it will be difficult for them to regain congressional seats and the presidency. So, they're doing everything they can to make him fail, even if it means many US Citizens they claim to be protecting end up as collateral damage.

    "Try not to be too conservative, else you'll find yourself right and wrong at the same time."

    September 17, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  4. Betty Phillips

    Well just what the he– does Obama expect?? He acts more racist than anyone. First he should STOP his lying and for once in his life time tell the honest truth. People should not forget the promises he made during his campaign, he can not be trusted and most Americans know that. Now to comment on Glen Beck, no GB is not bad for America. He only tells the truth, but, I can see why CNN is making a topic out of that remark. CNN is so unfair with all of their news reports. I have been working all day so far to let the American people know to off every station that is going to show Obama this weekend. He would only put a spin on his Healthcare Plan. I will continue to work all day in getting my message out to tune into any station that is not having Obama, well, I see Fox will not have Obama, so lets see how many tune into Fox. Betty

    September 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  5. ken

    Obama first needs to take his head out of the sand. The press secretary gibbs said none of the people who disagree with obama are racists. That is a lie. Obama is going to go on tv this weekend knocking progressives instead of taking on the republicans. Obama acts like he is livng on some other planet. The image he is tryiing to project is not real, and is laughable. He has become a joke not a world leader.

    September 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  6. jean sessoms

    Clue: if you reported the news you would not need this
    subject to make news.

    Wake up CNN ..............

    September 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  7. Ron

    President Carter is conveniently forgetting the vicious hate that was flung at President Bush 43.

    September 17, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  8. J Prendergast

    Hi – Wondering about the 2 anchors that were working there a few weeks ago. I've been watching CNN, but haven't seen them since. Their namers were David and Cameron (can't remember their last names). They worked very well together; especially enjoyed listening to Cameron. They made the news so interesting, I caught myself glued to the TV! Keeping my fingers crossed they return.

    Thank you

    A faithful viewer

    September 17, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  9. James of Houston

    President Obama is doing the right thing by ignoring these distractions on both the right and on the left. For example, the biggest “race-baiter" of all is Jimmy Carter!

    He sees racism everywhere he goes, especially in Israel! He actually believes the fence they built to protect themselves from the homicide bombers is “racist”!

    “A national debate on race that Barack Obama had hoped to avoid was ignited today when Jimmy Carter claimed that much of the opposition to the president has arisen because he is black.

    The former president said racism had come to the surface across the country because of a belief held by many whites that an African American is not qualified to be in the White House.

    “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African American,” Carter said. The Republican party today issued a denial, saying Carter was “flat-out wrong” and that opposition was not because of Obama’s skin colour but his policies.”

    September 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  10. Ruth will

    Yo, CNN are you just asleep or dead, BUSH was also shown @ pro-
    tests as Hitler, burned in effigy, called a liar, by the press, on the house
    floor, on entertainment TV, etc., etc. Along with numerous other presi-
    dents. Look @ the Attacks on Sara Palin and her family by liberal press
    bloggers, and entertainers. Hell the the ACLU are still trying to prose-
    cute Bush and his supporters for War Crimes. GROW UP already. I went
    to the TEA party in DC. There were Black people there protesting TOO!!
    One on our Bus from MO.(while not many). HE this, Black man did not feel any of us were
    being racist, quite the contrary. He was THERE, and he gets it. We are
    against BIG Government White, Black, Purple, we don't care what color it is. Liberals should understand its not the color of your skin
    that makes a differance or Obama wouldn't be in office, in the first
    place, DUH? Obama needs to ignore it, when he ran for office he
    he opened himself up to critisism period, it goes with the territory.
    Ergo the cliche "IF YOU CAN'T TAKE THE HEAT, GET OUT OF THE
    KITCHEN". When you run for office it is not the color of your skin,
    but the thickness that is required!! So all you whinney liberals should get over it too. NONE of you went to the tea parties, did you? And CNN hardy reported anything about it, except neg. propaganda. The
    few BLACKS who were brave enough to come to the TEA PARTY,
    were not afraid of us, or our beliefs, but of all the liberals and other
    Blacks who have threatened them, for disagreeing with Obamas
    policies. So maybe you all, should stop trying to be mind readers,
    or just reading a sign and jumping to a bogus conclusion calling us all
    racists, etc. The race card is getting really OLD already. By CNN's
    standards Kayne West, and Serina Williams are racists too. RRAD
    of your skin

    September 18, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  11. Sue

    Whenever the American public doesn't agree with President Obama's plans, and nothing he says can seem to sway them, someone brings up race. If we don't agree with Obama, it has to be a racial issue? Get real. This is simply another means of political manipulation–and another way to gain sympathetic supporters. Race will never go away until everyone lets it go.

    September 18, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  12. cathy--ny

    Pres. Obama IS Bi-racial. If everyone in the news media would stop calling him a black man it would do more to diffuse the racial bias that surrounds him.Stop referring to him as a black Pres.Start referring to him as bi-racial Pres. to remind All he stands for more than one race!

    September 18, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  13. Sandy

    These attacks are of no interest to our President and not worth a nanosecond out of his busy agenda. These people don't talk for me and certainly and obviously is not the status quo...after all President Obama won the Presidency so it seems they are no where near a majority. These attacks just reveal their absurd ignorance. These zealots just push Americans closer to their President. Disrespectfull? Absolutely! Creditable and Effective? Absolutely not!

    September 18, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  14. Nancye

    I was appalled at a report on CNN about "Women of Color" at the White House . CNN showed a picture of all of these women together and referred to them as Obama's ' dream team". If a caucasian president had done that, the NAACP, Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright would have been up in arms. Obama has to expect talk of racism on his part with actions like this . Where are the white ladies on his "dream team"? He and Michelle are blatantly promoting racism.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  15. Debra Foley

    I am a avid supporter of Pres Obama. I believe he is doing what he said he would by challenging the status quo and asking us to do the same. He is a change agent which this country needs but with change will come uneasiness by those who are uncomfortable with change. Although there may be a seed of racism with some of the unrest, particularly with those groups who calling him such horrible names and likening him to hitler, overall I believe much of the unrest has to do with CHANGE. It has nothing to do with healthcare reform, the status of the financial market in this country, the housing crisis, etc. It is the culmination of all of this which he inherited when he came in. For him not to do anything to address these things, would have been something we indeed could not afford. It has everything to do with CHANGE. CHANGE is an ugly word.--I do not think President Obama should have to address the race issues being raised. I don't see it accomplishing anything. Those who are not racists and who voted with him will still not be racists. Those who are racists and oppose him will still do so at the end of the day. You can't have everything. Change takes time.

    On a separate note, I would like to say how appauled at the media coverage of "the race card", particularly those who, like CNN, have panel discussions about it. I turn this coverage off as I consider it offensive.

    Female, 57, white, Pennsylvania

    September 18, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  16. Randy N

    I believe he should step down Ha. Ha, Ha, like that will happen. So I guess We should Impeach this whole goverment. Vote Tea Vote Randy.

    September 18, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  17. Jeffrey M.

    Race, religion, sex are always going to be issues. Is there a difference between a black and brown, white and yellow person? Sure, each one has different color skin, but on the same token, each are Americans. Obama is only half-black and not one that had ancestors from slavery here. He just needs to ignore it like he does. I applaud him for that. What is more important is that Obama has not experience of doing anything in politics, sure he presents himself well and reads the teleprompter well, but, his race has nothing to do with anything. He needs to do what is best for the American people. He can't help everyone, cover the majority, work for the minority. Take care of the veterans. Obama is a servant of the people, just like all political figures, I think they forget their place. The government works for us, not us for them. Again, Obama doesn't seem to worry about race, worry about this country and you'll be a great president. Worry about race and you'll be a cry baby.

    September 19, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  18. Jeffrey M.

    Stop worrying about race. There is prejudice in religion, sex, culture, etc. My grandfather was as white as can be, but, his brother looked just like a Native American( dark hair and skin). They were brothers from the same parents. They were both Americans. My own kids are different. Two don't get sunburn and they tan, the others are fair-skinned with freckles. Are they worrying about what color their skin is? They worry about school, chores, etc. Politics are just another way to separate us rather than join us together. We all have different backgrounds and different beliefs, this is how iut should be. I was teased because I wear glasses and is that any more imporant than race to a little chile? I don't think so, teasing is teasing.

    September 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  19. r neilan

    Give me a break. The thought police are alive and well in this administration. Political correctness is ruining this country, along with lobbyist and special interest groups. Now, does this comment make me a racist? As an Independent I disagree with most of Obama's policies. Does saying that make me a racist? I watch Fox news. Does that make me a racist? I think too much emphasis is being placed on race. Obama is a bi-racial president not a black president. Does this make me a racist? I am against his push for amnesty. Does that make me a racist? The Dems are only trying to bring race into issues for political advantage. Does that make me a racist? Obama is expanding the war in Afghanistan by sending more troops and his policy is naive. Does that make me a racist? I am totally against the health care plan because of the give-away of tax payer dollars for health care for illegal immigration. Does that make me a racist? When Joe Wilson yelled out "You Lie" I cheered because
    as the bill presently stands. they will be getting benefits. Does that make me a racist? I feel that Obama is moving us towards an American socialist agenda. Does that make me a racist? I attend tea parties. Does that make me a racist? You get the gist. I have the right to think anything I want, even though my views differ from his. Are they using race to silence us? I don't care what color you are, we all have the right to act on our beliefs. I detested Bush. He was a white idiot and a control freak. Does that make me a racist? It is beneath our collective consciousness to blast an opposing position by calling it racially motivated. ENOUGH ALREADY. Stop talking race and get on with more important issues. Am I a Racists?

    September 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  20. Calvin w.

    Civility? Let the critics do what critics do. Let racist continue to do what racists continue to do. Let the conservatives AND liberals continue to do what they do. However, it is a shame that CONGRESS has degraded itself to pettiness. We all knew it was going, the congress "falling out with each other". Why did they fall out? Because anytime we, people, or parties cross the line with each other, unless one-both pull back, forgive, take the high road, it is inevitable that chaos will ensue. Happens everyday someplace on the planet. I am going to take a different tack on this: Congress needs to get its collectively house back in order (peace). Because chaos should not be the "job dejour" (job of the day) in running a business – nor in running the people's business. Thanks Fredricka!

    September 19, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  21. Therese

    Hi, I just listened to your interview with Tim Wise in which he said that we need to let blacks take the lead in racism charges as they have far more experience in this regard than say caucasians. While I agree that African-Americans certainly have experience with racism and they should probably take the lead. The thing I worry about is calling something racism where it is not always what it is.

    I watch CNN a lot and read a lot of acticles on the internet. What I have seen and read is a little disturbing in this issue. I see a lot of African-Americans calling something racial. I don't always agree with them. I sometimes see very angry men and women who have experienced racism against themselves and others in their communities. While the anger may be justified from previous experiencesI don't always see the thing that they are calling as racism. So, this is my worry – that these angry people have started to call every slight or comment a racial charge and start whipping up a frenzy from equally angry people. It is always not so and that makes me angry.

    There are many ways in which to deal with issues, while not diminishing the action that caused the anger. Talking is a good start and explaining what is so offensive and asking for change.

    September 19, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  22. Calvin w.

    Erik Fisher is right! Put another way – change is coming to America as of necessity and parts of the country are going through its required "withdrawals".

    September 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  23. cathy--ny

    Our Pres. is American Bi-racial. He is not just black. He is half white too. People see black because The Media, in their choice of words, keep promoting it..I really believe if the Media changes the way they refer to people, it will trickle down..American Irish, American Latin, American African, American Italian, American Caucasian, American German, American Biracial..Our standard of classification is revealed in the way we all refer to eachother and especially to our selves. We can change that. So lets begin by being American first and whatever else second and insist that we be refered to that way.We are Americans of a multicultural diversity..
    I am of Italian heritage,and look it, but I don’t insist I be refered to as an Italian. I am American. One small step at a time will change the way we all view each other.
    I hope the intelligent News Media change their vernacular.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  24. Democrat in Seattle

    Racisim is unacceptable, but so is simply dismissing valid issues being raised about new proposed policies as only 'race'. I AM a democrat but this does not mean I simply rubber stamp anything a demcratic politican comes up with. Use your own heads people, don't be sheep for ANY side. Policy is not race, black or white. Policy is about actions, costs, the trade offs. Do not stifle freedom of speech by claiming that every issue is race-based, we'll get nowhere that way and thoughtful change will be that much harder to accomplish.

    September 19, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  25. Sue

    I will say it again. Race will never go away until everyone lets it go.

    September 20, 2009 at 11:38 am |