View from abroad of US race conversation

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HM: As far as the issue of race in the US, there is a tremendous interest in the Arab World for a variety of historical and cultural reasons. 50% of Arabs are Africans, or mixed, and racism is alive and well in the Arab World. There is a realization that the race issue is still central in American politics and Barack’s speech received a lot of interest. We said Obama’s bold and brilliant speech did elevate the discussion to a higher plane and the discussion is going to be difficult and painful for some people.

CI: I think in Nigeria most people don’t understand the issue of race in America. It’s difficult to comprehend for us. having said that, for those people who have been to America, they don’t need more explanation. For those following the discussion�and that’s many because they follow Barack Obama�for them the speech was great. He was sincere, and moving, and it portrays his difficulties. I think the discussion of race will be more open going forward.

EM: There’s a stereotype in the UK towards America regarding race�people in Britain generally think Americans are more prejudiced. But I don’t think that’s true, especially since the increase in Britain of negativity towards Muslim people since 9/11. Obama’s speech was terrific and addressed problems well. Whether it’s going to be heard by voters across America, I don’t know.

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