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Belafonte: Obama’s Election ‘Awakened,’ Shocked ‘Racist Forces’ in this Country


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Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” entertainer Harry Belafonte said the election of the first black president in President Barack Obama “shocked a lot of racist forces in this country.”

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Partial transcript as follow:

HARRY BELAFONTE: I think if you look at the spectrum of race relations in this country, on a lot of fronts, there is a retrogression, there is a reversal. If you take a look at the way in which the right-wing movement in this country has gerrymandered voting districts, if you look at employment records, if you look at a lot of practices, black people are once again at the doorstep, the new wave of racist definitions and racist practices.

FAREED ZAKARIA: So you think things have gotten worse recently, a kind of a backlash?

BELAFONTE: I think what we achieved in the Civil Rights Movement, what we are now practicing as a nation, there is a reversal.

ZAKARIA: Do you think that’s because there is a black man in the White House?

BELAFONTE: I think a black man in the White House has awakened a lot of dichotomies here. I think, on the one hand, America took great pride in the fact that, to a world that saw us as a powerful force, but a very reactionary force, the election of Obama sent another signal. But it also awakened a right-wing energy in this country because nobody really expected that we would ever have elected a black man to be President. And when that reality was established, I think it shocked a lot of racist forces in this country. I think a lot of the hurdles, problems that Obama has faced is really very much based upon the fact that there is a force in this country that says no black man should ever be at the helm of this country.

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