Eight years ago, black Americans were talking about pride and history – Barack Obama in the White House. In the last two days, I’ve been hearing stories of frustration and disappointment. Not with him – the people I’ve been talking to in Los Angeles have mostly been his liberal supporters. But with what they think his elevation unleashed in some of their fellow Americans.
Take one young woman, LaRayia Gaston, supercool, super confident, making her name as a “street wear” entrepreneur. I was interviewing her for our BBC Radio series America Revisited which will air in September. She described herself as white, black AND Hispanic. She was only just old enough to vote for Obama in 2008.
She said, it’s got ugly. Obama in the White House – well that’s just “in your face” isn’t it? If you were unhappy then, you’re unhappier now. You can’t escape it. And politically, for some, it’s payback time.
And then I heard that argument again from a successful white businessman in his seventies, and last night from an Hispanic doctor in his thirties… The interviews were random, a straw poll as we moved around the city, but the sentiment was spontaneous. It did really make me think.
LA to Las Vegas today – on the back of an 0400 wake up and a large coffee ! Looking for more views in both senses of the word.