Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said on Sunday that he doesn't believe racism holds African Americans back.
"I don't believe racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way," said Cain, former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, during an interview on CNN. “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 asserted that he firmly believes that "many" African Americans have a level playing field when it comes to economic issues and pointed to his own credentials to make his case.
With the estimated unemployment rate for the African American community sitting well above the national average, the Republican hopeful signaled he sees the discrepancy as a product of geographical conditions and factors related to education. When it comes to African Americans struggling economically he said, "They weren't held back because of racism." He added, “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."
Last month, Cain raised eyebrows when he suggested members of the African American community "have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view." He said at the time that his observation can be seen in black voters traditionally lining up to support Democrats.
Cain predicted during a recent appearance on Fox News that in a hypothetical general election match-up against President Barack Obama he'd secure at least one-third of the black vote.
During a recent appearance on CNN Cain said, "This whole notion that all black Americans are necessarily going to stay and vote Democrat and vote for Obama, that's simply not true." He added, "More and more black Americans are thinking for themselves. And that's a good thing."
Recent polls show Cain finding a surge in support in the Republican presidential primary contest.