Going Deep: Race, Politics and Obama’s First Year

Going Deep: Race, Politics and Obama’s First Year

1.18.2010 - Media Contact: Debayani Kar 510.356.7733 or [email protected]

January 18, 2010: This week’s anniversary of President Barack Obama’s inauguration has led to numerous reflections on his first year. Between the brouhaha over Senate leader Harry Reid’s recently published remarks and today’s Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, race has assumed prominence in these assessments. Now, conservatives are making race an issue in Obama’s humanitarian response to Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

Rinku Sen and Tammy Johnson of the Applied Research Center (ARC) are no strangers to this dialogue. ARC has been tackling questions of racial equity for nearly three decades. These experts are available for comment, as you continue your coverage of Obama’s first year, with an eye toward improving race relations in America.

“Barack Obama’s presidency has generated a storm of race talk,”
says Rinku Sen, executive director of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines magazine. “But acknowledging that bigotry still exists isn’t enough. To make real progress, we must focus less on the individual and more on our collective policy decisions.”

Rinku Sen in the news:

• For ACORN, controversy now a matter of survival, USA Today, September 24, 2009
• Post-9/11 Immigration Debate Needs Shift in Focus, The Grio, September 11, 2009
• 100 Years Old, NAACP Debates Its Current Role, Washington Post, July 12, 2009

“Superficial conversations on race and politics have kept surfacing over the year since President Obama took office,”
says Tammy Johnson, director of strategic partnerships at Applied Research Center and RaceWire blogger. “Going deeper means transcending talk of personal prejudice with compelling evidence of institutional racism and finding realistic proactive solutions.”  

Tammy Johnson in the news:

• Single Black Women Speak for Themselves, ColorLines, January 11, 2010
• Holder’s Civil Rights Move Echoes ARC’s Compact for Racial Justice, RaceWire, September 2, 2009

To arrange interviews with Rinku Sen or Tammy Johnson, contact ARC communications manager Debayani Kar at (510) 356-7733 or [email protected] . Visit arc.org, colorlines.com, and racewire.org for our latest research and media advancing racial justice.