PBS Online NewsHour, “Assessing the significance of the Lott controversy”
[…] SUAREZ: You might say they have nowhere to go but up. A poll taken Sunday by the Gallup organization says six percent of blacks in the United States say the Republican Party best reflects their views. But a lot of Republicans, Professor Berlin, are trying — say they’re trying to get American politics to a post-race, issue-based footing. Is that possible now?
IRA BERLIN: That’s interesting. Issue-based — what exactly is that going to mean? My feeling is that voters, both white and black, generally read their understanding of politics is fairly shrewd and fairly correct. That is there’s a reason only six percent of black people consider themselves Republican. What exactly are the issues that are involved here? We know in some ways we are a more segregated society than we were in 1956. We know that changes in terms of the distribution of wealth have not changed greatly; that a disproportionate number of people of African descent are at the bottom, that affirmative action is a policy, in its various forms, that is something that black people are very interested in.
There are a whole variety of other issues that also draw black people to the Democratic Party, even with all of the baggage that the Democratic Party itself, you know, itself carries. Now it seems to me, if you want to move black people out of the Democratic Party, you’ve got to address those issues. Is the Republican Party prepared to do that? […]