Foreign Policy Blogs

Race in the US: The Outsiders' View

As many of your know, Senator Obama gave a major campaign speech last week on the subject of race in the U.S.

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Public Radio International's The World program hosted a panel of international journalists based in Washington to discuss how their publics’ view race in America.

It is an interesting segment: listen

The journalists include Ewen MacAskill with Britain's Guardian newspaper, Constance Ikokwu with the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay, and Hisham Melhem of the Arabic satellite news channel, al-Arabiya.

Melhem said that because, unfortunately, racism is alive and well in the Arab world, this issue is of great interest. Therefore, he reported that Obama's speech was widely-covered in the Middle East. He said Obama's “bold” speech had the effect of “elevate[ing] the discussion to a higher plane.”

Ikokwu hoped that Americans learn something from Obama's life and that the discussion of race would become more open in the U.S. from now on.

McAskill spoke about a stereotype in the UK that Americans are more prejudiced than they are–which he felt not to be true. While he felt Obama's speech was strong, and “grown-up” speech, he questioned whether it would resonate with Americans across the U.S.



Melinda Brouwer

Melinda Brower holds a Masters degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She received her bachelor's degree in Political Science and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a graduate diploma in International Relations from the University of Chile during her tenure as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She has worked on Capitol Hill, at the State Department, for Foreign Policy magazine and the American Academy of Diplomacy. She presently works for an internationally focused non-profit research organization in Washington, DC.