10/23/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Poll On Racism Offers Disturbing Insight Into Election And Society

Shock of all shocks, another poll released this weekend (this one by AP-Yahoo News, in partnership with Stanford University) has shown that there are some people who are not going to vote for Sen. Barack Obama for President because he is black. While that is no surprise, racism is still alive and kicking in 2008, a look into the complete poll results displays just how serious the race issue within the context of the larger society.

At least 7% of those polled would be upset by a black family living next to where they lived, 10% would be upset by a black person being President of the United States and 25% of those polled are upset by black leaders asking for racial equality in the workplace. Of whites polled, 48% felt the word "violent" described black people moderately, very or extremely well, 57% shared those sentiments about the word "complaining", 38% felt that way about "lazy" and 40% thought "irresponsible" was a good descriptor.

It is amazing to me to think that so many people have no problem painting an entire race with the same broad brush. What does it say about our society when people are upset by any group, be it blacks, women, etc. asking for equality in the workplace? Aren't all men "created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?" If that is the case, what exactly is the problem in asking for that statement to be held to task?

To those that think that Obama being elected means racism is dead and civil rights groups are suddenly going to hang "Out of Business" signs on the door of their headquarters, let these survey results be a wake up call. If you are a hiring manager and you hold the pre-conceived notion that blacks are lazy and irresponsible - will you be able to evaluate black candidates fairly? If you are a police officer, pulling over a black person, yet you hold the belief that blacks are "violent," could you possibly be trigger-happy? If you are an elected official, and you think that blacks are prone to "complaining," will you hear their concerns with an unbiased ear?

It's obvious America has a long way to go with respect to race relations. It's sad to think that there are people who will vote against a candidate that shares their policy beliefs but not their skin tone, but it's even sadder to think that so many are willing to hold an entire race in such a low light.