CRISIS: Having lived abroad, in Indonesia, how do you think that helped shape your views on race?
OBAMA: It made me realize that racism was an extension of other abuses of power. Living there you learned people can find excuses other than race to oppress each other.
CRISIS: Will race relations get better?
OBAMA: Not in the short term. We're moving out of a period of American preeminence on the world economic stage. Global competition means increasing economic uncertainty for the majority of Americans, black and white. Unfortunately, politicians in this country find it convenient to define these problems in racial terms -- affirmative action, immigration and so on. It's always easier to organize people around tribe than around principle.
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