Cain: Racism not holding anyone back
October 9th, 2011
11:37 AM ET
11 years ago

Cain: Racism not holding anyone back

(CNN) - Presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday that he didn’t believe racism was a major factor holding minorities back in America, asserting instead that African Americans had a level playing field on which to advance economically.

“I don't believe racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way,” Cain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Are there some elements of racism? Yes. It gets back to if we don't grow this economy, that is a ripple effect for every economic level, and because blacks are more disproportionately unemployed, they get hit the worst when economic policies don't work. That's where it starts.”

Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, said educational disparity and geographical separation were to blame for high unemployment rates among African Americans. Jobs numbers released Friday showed the unemployment rate among African Americans standing at 16.0%, while the total national unemployment rate remained at 9.1%.

“The gap is due to a number of factors,” Cain said. “One is a differential in education. Two is a concentration of a lot of blacks in certain areas like the city of Detroit, where the unemployment rate there is 14% versus the 9.1% we have nationally. So you have a city like Detroit where they lost 25% of their population, economically they’ve done nothing but go down, down, down.”

When asked by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley if he thought African Americans had a level playing field, Cain said he thought most of them did, using his own experience in corporations as an example.

“Many of them do have a level playing field,” Cain said. “I absolutely believe that. Not only because of the businesses that I have run, which has had the combination of whites, blacks, Hispanics - you know, we had a total diversity. But also because of the corporations whose board I've served on for the last 20 years. I have seen blacks in middle management move up to top management in some of the biggest corporations in America.”

As for African Americans who remain economically disadvantaged, Cain said they often only had themselves to blame.

“They weren't held back because of racism,” Cain said. “People sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as an excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.”

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Aces

    Liberals, playing the racist card didn't work, I know that's about all you've has to go with the past couple years, and your messiah has failed miserably, but you're going to have to come up with some new material.

    October 9, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    I thought I had a server glitch, and it appears I did. Once again, then.

    Mr. Cain's defended his 9-9-9 plan against the critics who say it places an unfair, increased burden on the poor. Mr. Cain used the wrong math. He cited an example of a *middle class* family, when the criticism is about the effect on *poor* families. He used the wrong equations.

    Mr. Cain's concern is limited to the equations that calculate the bottom line. President Obama spoke about fairness and "the math" of the human equation.

    October 9, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Boow

    Herman Cain ought to be ashame of himself! All of the racist comments about President Obamal. Come on Cain to earth!

    October 9, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. Patricksday

    Nothing would be finer than to have Cain be the GOP nomination, because it will NEVER HAPPEN he will see first hand how the Republicans hate his kind. Their whole party is a big slop of people who dont even support each other, so how can they get behind them if elected? Its a fun Freak Show to watch implode.

    October 9, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Debbie

    Cain will be a no vote for me.

    October 9, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. JavaBen

    To all of you raciest liberals that feel no black man can think for himself, and must toe the line pushed by obama, shaprton and jackson – Cain is the real deal. I've listened to him on the radio for years, where he has said these same things to callers calling in to express their opinions, some in agreement with him, others in disagreement. To try and pretend he's a tea party candidate ignores all of this. He was saying his viewpoint on these things for years before the tea party came into existance. Whether or not he's qualified to be president remains to be seen, but his views are real, they are his own, and your petty attempts to discredit him because of your racist views, doesn't change that fact.

    October 9, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. whoopitydo2

    It's so funny to watch all of these white liberals make comments about how bigoted and wrong Mr. Cain is. I guess it's b/c they have so much experience dealing with racism that they feel they have the right to comment and make personal accusations against him...or maybe it's b/c their little liberal brains feel betrayed by someone who should be brainwashed into following their movement to ruin America. Whenever someone says "food stamps", the first thought in a liberal's mind is "blacks". Whenever a black is conservative, they accuse him of being an "uncle tom". It's getting ridiculous! When are you liberals going to admit that you hate us and are only using us to push your political agenda. Watch! When Hispanics get a large enough percentage of the vote, you'll pander to them as you've already begun to do. Liberals are the biggest hypocrites!!!

    October 9, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    I like the comments here
    Herman Cain become GOP star candidate good for republicans

    Republicans are grown now they don’t care black or white or orange now good for the nation

    October 9, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    It is a refreshing contrast to see Cain's refutal of excuses compared to the Obama administration's reliance on excuses. All Obama ever talks about are the last 10 years. Listen to Herman Cain if you are more interested in the next 10 years.

    October 9, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Sue B - Illinois

    Cain is looking to get nominated, and certainly he will say anything. Racism, unleveled playing fields, constant punishments of those that have served their time being incarcerated and having to still answer a question on an application if they've ever been convicted, being held against them; if they answer yes, their app gets tossed out; if they don't answer, then they are accused of hiding it; so tell me that isn't a racist way of keeping people of color out of the runnings? Racism will always exist as there is one race that want to control all rather than see all as equals.

    October 9, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. ST

    Herb Cain is not stupid. He has studied very well the trick Sarah Palin used to become rich. He will say whatever he thinks his base is happy of to hear. By doing so, more will support him at the same he continues to collect a dollar from the sell of his book. No one should under-estimate the thinking of this man!

    October 9, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Liberal Memory Jogger

    That is funny how most of the liberal comments on here are nothing but blaming and name calling. I think the best one so far is;

    "Cain is too stupid to see that he's being used by the tea party to appease the black vote. He'll never win the nomination. If you are a racist in this country, your only political recourse is to join the tea party."

    I don't think there is a single valid point in that entire statement.

    October 9, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. no1atall

    Herman Cain is delusional. Just because a few 'undercovers' come here and spout: 'Racism is Dead, Long Live Racism 2.0' doesn't mean that the rest of us will proclaim the playing field level. But there have been improvements for the best and the brightest among us. I have had several promotions that I clearly deserve go to white employees whose only qualifications were their abilities to be white. And I didn't have to wonder if that was the reason; they were quite ready to drop thinly veiled 'jokes' that let me know that race was precisely the reason.

    October 9, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Corvus1

    Easy for a rich, powerful politician to say.

    October 9, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. JoeSixPack

    This was a great interview. I applaud Candy Crowley for keeping her personal politics out and asking the questions Americans want answers to. You can agree with Mr. Cain or disagree, but I can tell from the answers he's willing to give, he's not lying to me for my vote. What a refreshing attitude he has! He tells me the truth whether I want to hear it or not! When was the last time a President did that? Ever? Mr. Cain is the product of hard work. His parents taught that man the value of education and hard work. Cain rises above the selfishness of today's entitlement-minded society and provides exactly the right tone to contrast the "what will you do for ME" generation we see on display on Wall Street and beyond. In a larger argument Mr. Cain presents exactly the right distinctions the GOP should be putting for to the American people come election time. You have the class warrior versus the problem solver. Personally I think I'd like a chance to vote for REAL Change this time, thanks very much.

    October 9, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. fred ca

    Obviously Cain has not been watching the OWS crowd. In Atlanta they wouldn't let John Lewis speak and in DC they made sure their Hispanic group (who were paid to be there...and couldn't speak english or read the signs they were carrying) walked behind their white controller.

    October 9, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. tnwoman1948

    I am a southern black woman who grew up in the same era as Mr. Cain, in fact he is about five years older than I. He grew up in Memphis while I grew up in Nashville. We both graduated from HBCUs, but I KNOW there is racism in America and there will ALWAYS be racism in this country, but you DO NOT let it hold you back. Racism (I like to call it tribalism) can be ameliorated, but it will NEVER be eliminated in this world because of the condition of the human heart. That situation will be for the next world. Mr. Cain is just saying what some white people want to hear.

    October 9, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Will


    I applaud you for telling the truth. Not sure it will help you get elected though.

    The problem is that many many people will blame anyone for their troubles but refuse to look in the mirror and see that THEY are the biggest source of why they didn't achieve in life. They point to racism in the 60s, as if that really matters to anyone who is still in the workforce now (yes it affected your parents, but by the time you entered the workforce, it mostly disappeared).

    Here is some news for you people who complain about racism. Immigrants have come to this country in the 70s with barely enough money to get by, not knowing anyone, and with no affirmative action to help them. And yet they have on average done extremely well. The difference is that they had a work ethic.

    Stop complaining about racism and fix the problems in your life. Don't have enough money? Have you given up wasting money on smoking and drinking? Have you stopped paying interest on credit cards? Can't find a job? Did you work your tail off during high school and get "A"s? Are you wearing appropriate clothes and using appropriate language for business? Ladies, are you using birth control so you don't end up as a single mother?

    I guarantee you that most people complaining made many of these mistakes listed above.

    October 9, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. focusonjobs1

    First, why is she asking the black candidate his views on the subject instead of the white candidates (say Rick Perry)? It’s an attempt to follow up on his remarks on Perry-rock. Anyone with a half a brain knows the current jobs crisis is not about race…it’s about the haves and the have-nots! The bottom 99% are suffering….even those of us that believe the system is working. Unemployment has always been higher for black people than others. Everyone is racist to a certain extent, some more than others but this jobs crisis is much deeper than that. And for those who say he is somehow helping to heal the country, are part of the ones that are in the more category. Cain’s answer will probably help him with the Republican base as they would have bashed him over the head if would have even slightly implied race had anything to do with unemployment. Also, Godfathers pizza is s successful company but you cannot raise a family on that salary with not benefits.

    October 9, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Jerry

    This black guy is clearly ignoring the facts on the ground. Alternatively, he is in perpertual denial.

    October 9, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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