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Cain's 'refreshing' view on race? [Most commented]

October 14, 2011 |  1:03 pm

Herman Cain

The editorial board cited the latest abysmal report by the National Education Policy Center about African Americans in the U.S., which reconfirmed racial disparities:

The percentage of African Americans mired in poverty is nearly three times the percentage of whites in poverty. Blacks make less money generally and have higher unemployment levels. A study published this month by the National Education Policy Center says that, nationwide, African American students in grades K-12 are suspended three times as often as white students for nonviolent infractions of school rules. 

Yet Herman Cain, the African American Republican presidential candidate and current leading opponent to Mitt Romney, missed his chance to draw attention to this issue during a recent interview, the board wrote:

What all these statistics mean about how and why African Americans continue to lag behind is a complicated topic. And perhaps that's what Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain should have said Sunday in a CNN interview when asked about race. Instead, he said: "I don't believe there is racism in this country today that holds anybody back in a big way." Cain, who is black, is the former chief executive of the Godfather's Pizza chain.

But some readers took a different approach, suggesting Cain has taken on the issue of race -- through his decisions and the luck he made for himself.  You can find a few of their comments below, and read all of  them here:

Cain leads by example

Cain has addressed racism against blacks in the most American of ways.  He has succeeded in his personal life and in business, all with little need for government intervention.

I'm not surprised that Cain is portrayed in the media as not black enough.  Chris Matthews will likely not feel a tingle up his leg for this working man.


Acknowledgement is the way to empowerment

There are two possible responses to bigotry. You can refuse to try or you can do the best you can. If you refuse to try, your life will suck. If you do the best you can, you may not get as far as the people in power, but you can make a pretty good life for yourself and your family. Is it unfair? Of course, it is. Nevertheless, that's life. You don't have to look very hard to find many people who have done exactly this, be they Black people who have to face negative stereotypes every day or Asians running up against the glass ceiling. People holding unpopular religious or political beliefs are also in this same situation. Take Romney, for example. If he were not Mormon, his path to the presidency would be nearly certain. Yet, he does his best, and by doing so, he will accomplish much more than if he never tried. Look to the Jews. They have faced thousands of years of terrible bigotry, but they have managed to accomplish great things because they always did their best, they never gave up. 

Gautama Buddha taught that life is suffering, and that acceptance of that fact helps to release you from suffering. Poverty, sickness, and death are still there, but acceptance robs them of much of their power. It is the same with prejudice. While we should always fight it, we should also accept the fact that life is unfair. Acceptance robs unfairness of the power to destroy the soul.


We may have more control than we realize

This article misses the point.  We all face obstacles in life -- some more than others, but all of us.  

If I interview for a job I really want and don't get it, what I do next has a significant impact on my future.  If I request good feedback and identify things I could do better and work on them, next time I will have a better chance.  If I conclude that I was fine, the reason I didn't get the job was because of something I can't control (like the color of my skin), I don't try to get better, I look to others to defend me.

The more we control our own lives, the happier we are.  I know countless stories of persons who overcame economic, racial, gender and language barriers to lead extremely successful lives.  If you believe that can be you, and you're willing to work hard to get there, we live in a country that gives you a great chance for success.  If you insist on being a victim, there's nothing you can or will do to change your fate.

Herman's point about taking change of your own success is refreshing!


*Spelling errors in the above comments have been corrected.


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Photo: Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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