Cain: Racism not holding anyone back
October 9th, 2011
11:37 AM ET
10 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. matt

    And he called me "brainwashed" for voting democratic?

    October 9, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. yuri pelham

    gutless coward. disqualifying

    October 9, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. Larry L. Clifton

    Cain will be a true 'healer'. Since Obama has been in power Racism, Class warfare, and Guv corruption has been growing in this country. Most of the 'hating' seems to come from the left oddly enough. Go figure. They in turn blame the Tea Parties. Those false claims have made the numbers surge upward for Tea Parties nation-wide. As it should be in a free Republic. Well, after Cain is elected and our Republic experiences an economic BOOM that creates jobs jobs jobs and prosperity for all of the diverse peoples that call America home....let's just say he will make 'believers' of them. They'll be saying..."What were we thinking"...LOL. Racism, Class warfare and Guv corruption have NO place in a just, fair and free nation.
    Let the healing begin! Vote for Herman Cain!

    October 9, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Larry L. Clifton

    The left is we need to see who is the 'blackest'...real important in light of the 'good works' the Obama admin has The PC 'hate' that comes from the left is a joke. They blame anyone and everyone for the failures of the Obama crowd and themselves. Cain sleeps just fine at night and is, rightfully so, very proud of his accomplishments, relationships with all peoples, and his life in general. People LOVE Herman Cain because he is a good man and has done so many good things with and in his life. Hopefully, after he is elected he can begin the 'healing' process and put to bed some of the divisive racial divides, needless class warfare, and rampant Guv corruption brought to us by the PC left.

    October 9, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. GOP = Greed Over People

    While I agree with Cain about the education differences as way too many black teens drop out of school, however, I disagree that racism is not a problem in today's economy.

    Unemployment in blacks is much higher and these are the very programs food stamps, cutting UI, benefits etc. that the GOP wants to slasht. These safety nets may be used more by blacks and the tea baggers apply every "Cadillac driving welfare queen watching a new 55" wide screen and drinking beer" stereotype they can think of as an excuse NOT to help these people.

    Racism is very much alive in America and the GOP has made it fashionable by cloaking in their new found concern for "deficit spending" when no less than Dick Cheney is on record saying deficits do not matter.

    October 9, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Reggie from LA

    By what “Herb” (Sarah, you scamp) says, racism is real, but he has also purported that it doesn't exist in the Tea Party whenever it is levied against them. Why just look at him, right? Again Mr. Cain is asserting when he "believes" that the playing field is level. Read carefully what he is saying. He is not stating facts. Racism is designed to hold people of any color back. To put them in their places or even keep them out of jobs maybe?

    October 9, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. Errm

    Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, Cain.
    Btw, this is the same fellow who has vowed not to allow any Muslims in his hypothetical cabinet and who thinks it is ok for towns not to allow Mosques to be built.

    October 9, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    I believe if Herman Cain becomes president we can come out of recession

    Once he top on the polls there is news recession

    October 9, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    Herman Cain is stepping forward with some excellent leadership qualities. We don't need another empty suit lawyer politician. It is time for Americans to pick a leader.

    October 9, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    How can Mr. Cain deny that racism is not a factor in the course and progress of our society? Doesn't he hear the bigoted discourse the keeps coming up in our national conversation? I guess not.

    Mr. Cain defended his 9-9-9 plan against critics who say that it is regressive and shifts more burden on the poor. He rationalized his argument by saying that the critics math is wrong. He proceeded to lay out an example of how his plan would affect a *middle class* family, when the issue is how it would affect a *poor* family.

    President Obama said that it is about being "fair" and "the math." I would agree with that. It is Mr. Cain, and the rest of the current conservatism movement, that is their math that it is wrong. The conservatives are plugging numbers into the "wrong equations", and are simply reading the bottom line on the balance sheet. The President is talking about plugging numbers into the "human equation."

    If that group calling itself needs a new name, I would suggest "The Enlightenment Party," which speaks to the progressive thinking that went into the language of our founding documents. The "Age of Reason" was a philosophy, driven by the sciences, that espoused intellectual exchange, open debate, religous tolerance, and democratic freedom. It is a philosophy that represents the exact opposite of everything the Tea Party and the current brand of conservatism espouses.

    October 9, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. an

    they dont get that educational disparity is very simply to bridge over

    October 9, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    EDIT. that should read espoused religious tolerance, not intolerance.

    October 9, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Squigman

    Amazing. I'll bet there are people in this country, that would disagree with his statement. Predjudice, race relations, hate, bigotry, and political envy have all but swallowed the nation. There are more people being discriminated against at this time, than at any time in recent past. Just ask the many having trouble finding work, with various degrees from institutes of higher learning.

    October 9, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. W L Jones

    Raicism did not hold colored people back but color due to the fact they had to get a double loan for same item. Large whole sale company would not sell them good on credit nor for cash. Most cities would not issure lic. for elec.,plumer nor carpenter. My answer is where this man came from !not here in America. Enough said.

    October 9, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Lauren

    I love his idea of 9-9-9! The thing I wanted to scream at the host is that no matter how rich or poor one is, they pay the same price for a shirt no matter how the tax brackets are structured! I just love how she keep going on and on about how if they cut the tax on the so called rich, the it's not fair for a poor person to pay the same amount of sales tax....two totally separate issues lady wake up!!!!!

    Wake up everyone survival of the fittest!!!! No one gets anything for free and nor should they, get off your duffs and clean bathrooms if need be, nothing is beneath you if you still have a cell phone, cable and and car payment!!! Get your priorities straight and stop raising my taxes!!!!

    October 9, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. myrtlemay lee

    Whew! What a relief! I thought the differential in education for example was due to the "Great Resistance" in the South after Brown vs. Board of Ed when so many of my generation were denied any education for years. This set them back economically as well. Now Cain has made me understand that blacks aren't being asked to sit at the back of the bus, they're being asked to run 3 steps behind the freakin' thing. This guy used gov't funds for his degrees, affirmative action for his mgmt. training & early employment & now preaches about equal playing fields? He should be in stand-up, not politics.

    And the commercials he devised for Godfather's pizza are highly insensitive, if not racist – not all Italians are in the mob.

    October 9, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. ED FL

    Wonder if Mr Cain would be willing to come clean on how much affirmative action and other helpful benefits he received from hand outs to get to his present level and is he ready to let other like him get the same treatment or does he want to do away with all the goodies the GOP and Tea party want to take away from Americas ciitzens that helped him . The same applies to Bachmann whose family and husband have been living off government goodies that she can easily get because of her current job.Hopefully she will return to just Michelle without the congresswoman headline real soon.

    October 9, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. Brad Naksuthin

    If you watched the O'Donnell interview with Hermain Cain you begin to see why Cain is so lukewarm to the question of race discrimination. Back in 19963-67 when blacks were having sit ins, bus boycotts, marches, and being arrested for civil disobedience....where was Herman Cain?

    He was a Morehouse college concentrating on his studies and staying "out of trouble"

    I assume there were many blacks at that time who felt the freedom riders and marchers were moving too far to fast and inviting trouble. Cain was probalby one of them.

    It will be interesting to see what exactly Cain was doing while many blacks and even many whites were being beaten and arrested so he could have a better life.

    October 9, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. James B

    "How's that Boss," as Mr. Cain tap dances for Republican voters... he is selling his soul for a few peenies and it is uncomfortable to watch. The sad part is Republican voters will certainly abort him as soon as the next great white dope tells them that all that is wrong in the country is the fault of everyone else.

    October 9, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Aces

    Well said Mr. Cain, you speak the truth, too bad for liberals it doesn't fit their "hate and divide" racism and class warfare game plan.

    October 9, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. independent voter

    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.

    October 9, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. Drew

    Being black and disadvantaged didn't stop Herman from success. That's because he took the bulls by the horn and made it happen. It's no different for any race of people to succeed. You have to roll up your skleeves and do the work and then you have to be tenacious about jobs and growing and moving up. Herman is right stop blaming everyone else and get busy. However there is an arguement for race biase and lack of credible jobs, just sayin'.

    October 9, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Brian Gaither

    Herman Cain is out of touch with the African Americans and has disqualified himself quite frankly. It is a tragedy that a man who has succeeded despite the odds has failed in educating himself regarding the complexity American social issues and the role ethnicity plays in cultural customs.Can he articulate his own thoughts well yes, but viewing everything through the lens of economics is his mistake and it is obvious in the comments he makes. CEO... the title fits him; representative of the American PEOPLE ... a joke, and a bad one at that. The tyranny of the rich and powerful, and their disconnect with the people and the social issues the PEOPLE face, is what originally led to America to pursue its independence. Herman Cain = Disconnect.

    October 9, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Howard

    Obama is incompetent ... CAIN IS ABLE !!!

    October 9, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. gloriaS

    I reallly enjoyed the Herman Cain interview. It was one of CNN's best. Keep up the good work Candy Crowley

    October 9, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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