When Barack Obama became the nation’s first black president, many people saw proof the United States had entered a post-racial age. They argued the old struggles over racial bias, prejudice and inequality had been put to rest, consigned to the 20th century.

But while that 2008 election was undoubtedly a high point in the country’s long, jagged, sometimes violent, racial experience, it also marked, for many, a resurgence of racial hatred more intense than had been seen in decades.

Now, two years into the administration of President Donald Trump, some Americans argue the country has taken a step back in race relations.

So where are we, which vision of race in America is correct, as far as rank-and-file Americans are concerned?

The Daily News sought to illuminate that question through a series of interviews of Galveston County residents representing as many races and political camps as we could find willing to talk.

Here’s part two of what we learned.

ROBERT M. QUINTERO

Growing up in Galveston, Robert M. Quintero, embraced his Mexican heritage and was proud to be an American, he said.

A member of the League of United Latin-American Citizens Council No. 151, Quintero is deputy district director for District VII, which covers 32 counties in Southeast Texas.

Quintero, 56, said he thinks race relations are better in Galveston than on the mainland.

“When the tragedy in Santa Fe happened in May, several of my friends from LULAC in Houston assisted with a charitable event after the high school shooting,” Quintero said.

“My friends said they were mistreated by residents in Santa Fe. I was asked why didn’t I tell them about this community. I replied that after this tragedy that shocked the entire country, I’d hoped that some people would use this event to heal and come together as a community and forget overt feelings of the past. I guess I was wrong.”

The experience left Quintero wondering about race relations in America, he said.

“Race relations have gotten worse,” Quintero said. “During the Obama administration, people who previously hid behind their prejudice came out overtly with their preconceived notions.”

Quintero said it was hard to understand why Americans seem afraid to sit down and simply talk about race face to face.

Quintero, who lives and works in racially diverse areas, argues the key to mending the racial climate in America is to talk about race, he said.

“Racial division isn’t taught in the schools,” Quintero said. “It’s taught in the homes and in the streets. We need to learn that we pray to the same God, breathe the same air, drink the same water and cheer for the same teams. So, why can’t we sit and talk about racial fear?”

MATTIE Margaret MUSE

Mattie Margaret Muse, 73, was born and raised in Galveston.

Muse, who has been retired for 14 years, hasn’t dealt with any overt racism in her lifetime, she said.

“Race relations in Galveston County are basically good,” Muse said. “Even when I was in the working sector, the racial climate was status quo in most cases.”

Muse and her family and friends discuss race often, especially such issues as the deaths of black boys and men in encounters with police, she said.

“I do feel as though they’ve gotten worse since Trump’s administration has taken helm,” Muse said. “However, I truly believe race issues can be fixed by Americans exercising their right to vote by putting the people who believe in America in office.”

Muse, a member of Galveston’s NAACP chapter, argues the racial climate is worse now than what she experienced as a child.

“In today’s racial climate in America, there’s no love for one another anymore,” Muse said. “I feel that in this day and time, America isn’t the America that I grew up in. Moving forward, I believe we, as Americans, can look forward to a nation which will embrace each other — no matter the color of our skin.”

JAMES JONES

James Jones, 29, was born and raised in Galveston.

Jones, the youngest of four, and son of James Sr. and Deborah Jones, of Texas City, was taught early on that education would allow him to get further in life, despite the odds being stacked against him, he said.

Race, or African issues, are old issues, and race relations have been bad since the beginning, he said.

“For us, as African people, we’re fooled by how things look, rather than what they are,” Jones said. “The things that were happening under Obama and are happening under Trump are the same things that were happening under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. These issues aren’t new.”

Jones and his family and friends discuss race issues every time they’re together, he said.

Jones sees race relations in Galveston County as the same as race relations everywhere else in the country, he said.

“We live in a caste system similar to that in India,” Jones said. “We don’t live in a safe environment similar to that in Flint, Michigan. We’re harassed and mistreated by police and the judicial system similar to that in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, and Waller County, Texas.”

With the current racial climate in America, overt and covert racism is always there, said Jones, who expresses his ethnicity boldly in his community, as well as at his place of employment.

Jones doesn’t see a way for America to improve its racial issues, which have been a part of this country since its inception, he said.

“This (race) isn’t to be fixed because this isn’t supposed to work (benefit) anyone else other than the European elite,” Jones said. “What needs to be fixed is the perception we have of what America is — and always has been. That way, we can ‘fix’ ourselves. To quote John H. Clarke: ‘Being African people we have to learn the art of selfishness and put race first.’ After we do this, then we can work with other races to live more peacefully; but I don’t believe that this can be fixed.”

APRIL HAYNES

April Haynes and her husband, Andrew, met in high school in Galveston.

Haynes, who’s white, and her husband, who’s black, have seen their fair share of racism when it comes to their interracial relationship, she said.

However, Haynes, 30, believes that race relations in Galveston County mirror the same pattern of race relations currently across the United States, she said.

“I believe silent racists have gotten more comfortable with our current president/government and have become more outspoken than prior to 2016,” Haynes said. “It feels like we’re living in 1955. People are turning against each other every day because of race, religion and politics. However, if you were just speaking of Galveston (the city) and not the county, I would say that Galveston is an island of its own where we have a laid-back, agree to disagree type of culture.

“Growing up in Galveston and attending Ball High School gave me experiences and perspectives I will never forget. If you went to Ball High, you know what I’m talking about. It really taught us that we can all get along and work together regardless of race, religion or gender.”

The Haynes, unfortunately, have had to deal with racial profiling, and often, with family and friends, have discussions on race issues three to four times a week, she said.

Haynes, who’s a mother of two sons, Andrew Jr. and Anderson, believes that race relations in America has gotten worse in the past two years, she said.

“I believe under Trump’s administration racists have found it easier and gotten more comfortable to speak about hate and their racist views more openly,” Haynes said. “We need a strong president and government that supports equality and is committed to bringing the country together instead of apart.”

Haynes believes America can become an example of racial harmony, she said.

“For those who have racist beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation, they will need a complete change of heart,” Haynes said. “We should spread love, not hate. Pay it forward. At a minimum, try to put the shoe on the other foot before judging a person or stereotyping anyone. Let’s all live and teach the golden rule.”

Angela Wilson: 409-683-5239; angela.wilson@galvnews.com

Community News Editor

(23) comments

David Smith

So much BS.. this is like 1955? Youre not old enough to even comment..
Because you didnt live through segregation.. I went to segregated schools.. things are totally as differant today as night and day..
Do you and your husband drink from the colored only fountain?
When you go to.the movies.. do you sit only in the balconey? Or anywhere you want?
Do you eat through the back entrance of a restaruant only?...
You only know what youvve read or been told.. some of us SAW it
James Jones.. you need to put race last.. dragging up things that happened in a differant time only stokes division..
Martin Luther King .. made a famous speech..
He hoped to live in an America that judged him not by the color of his skin but by the CONTENT OF HIS CHARACTER.. Thats a great creed to live by... His dream has been a reality for a long time now
The only thing holding you down is YOU.. and your Rosa Parks t shirt .. was Rosa Parks wronged? Yes she was.. continuing to bring up things that happened in a differant era only divides people.. it doesnt promote racial harmony
The art of race selfishness doesnt promote race relations .. it divides them
If you put one race before another.. what does that make you?

Aaaa Haynes

While I respect your opinion sir, there were other parts of my comments that the daily news chose not to report. While I did not personally witness what happened in 1955 I have personally witnessed my husband being harassed by the police on numerous occasions, denied jobs because of the color of his skin. Please do not ever assume what someone HAS SEEN or been a witness to.

Rusty Schroeder

"It feels like we're living in 1955", you said it. How do you know what that felt like? As far as "other parts of the county", where has your husband been harassed by the police? So if I am hearing you correctly, the rest of the county is divided culturally, politically, and religiously and Galveston is Utopia. I was born in '65, and I assure you I have seen far more racism than you have even heard of or watched on tv. Give me your views of the burning of the fleet of the Vietnamese shrimp boats in Galveston County in the 80's, I forgot, you weren't born yet.

Aaaa Haynes

How about instead of attacking my opinion, my views, you come up with something positive? This article that quoted us was not meant to bring about more divide but to see how each of us view racism. Because I was not born yet sir, does not mean I do not have the right to refer to periods of time that I have learned about, heard stories from an 86 year old black woman (my husbands grandmother) who experienced and lived through such things.

Rusty Schroeder

You called the rest of the county and police organizations out, and had your name as the author of some pretty one-sided opinions. I am not attacking you nor your opinions, just merely stating the fact that you personally don't know what you are talking about. Just going off hearsay or a third parties account, is kind of like making up a story that fits your perception of how things were then and are no different than today. I would have rather heard the stories from your 86 yr. old mother in law, the old black woman as you called her. And trust me, I have a lot of opinions on race, politics, and the media portrayal of both. But it amazes me how the GCDN doesn't ask me or others that routinely post on here what we think. But congratulations, they found you and it's probably not exactly how you thought it would be. Enjoy the day, God doesn't give us many as nice as this one. rs

Rusty Schroeder

Sorry, your husband's grandmother. rs

Robert Braeking

We are all of one race. The human race. No other of God's creatures tries to categorize themselves according to the amount of melanin in their skin. Who, exactly, is doing the categorizing? To what advantage is there categorization? Are melanin differences a legitimate question for government forms and questionnaires? Why does the government track how many people are dark brown, medium brown, light brown, or not brown? Frankly I don't understand the practice. Whenever one of those forms comes my way I answer 'other' and write in 'human'. Nothing else should matter. If everyone did that the melanin content of the population would be unknown - and I believe it would be better that way.

Carlos Ponce

Robert Quintero (my first cousin) said, “My friends said they were mistreated by residents in Santa Fe." I'd like to know the nature of this mistreatment. I was there. I saw nothing of that nature. And there were many there that were not residents of Santa Fe. They were attending the post 5/18 charitable event. There were people from Alvin, Texas City, La Marque, Galveston, League City, Webster, Dickinson, etc. Did Santa Fe residents wear a "Santa Fe resident" badge? No. Santa Fe residents whom I know were all grateful that people from this area donated their time, money and talents to aid the healing of the Santa Fe Community following the shooting. This article reminds me of Rahm Emanuel's statement, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste".

Carlos Ponce

“Race relations have gotten worse,” Quintero said. “During the Obama administration....
"During the Obama administration" ????????
Obama brought a lot of divisiveness to this country.
You will find favorability ratings for President Trump from Black and Hispanic Americans on the rise. They have discovered the demonization of President Trump by the Leftist media to be without merit.
Locally, did Obama pardon Galvestonian Jack Johnson? No. Trump did. Although Presidential Pardons are usually given to the living, pardoning the deceased is not unprecedented.

TR Galan

Don’t agree with the argument? Then play the 'Fake News' card; that primary, blunt instrument used to suppress divergent and different views. Apparently, the practice is rampant on both sides. Predictably, the secondary attack will be with selective, boorish 'facts' and countless Web links adding to the ‘Fake News’ mire.

Rusty Schroeder

What a panel, a 56 year old Mexican man who describes Santa Fe as racist. A 73 year old lady who blames Trump. And a 29 & 30 yr. old who talk like they were alive when MLK was marching from Selma to Montgomery. Give me a break, and people wonder why their is divide in the US, it's right here in black and white.

Bailey Jones

Race relations today compared to race relations in the 1950's are as different as night and day. There's no doubt about that. Just as race relations in the 1950's were as different as night and day from relations in the 1850's. But, just as removing slavery didn't bring equality, neither has ending legal segregation brought equality. Until we have achieved equality of opportunity we will never have equality. Until you can drop any American kid into any neighborhood and have that child receive a first class education, adequate healthcare, and that child can grow up and find a decent job that pays a living wage, we will never have equality. That opportunity should be available to every child, regardless of race. And it is not.

Randy Chapman

You can drop any kid into any neighborhood and get a good education. The issue in some neighborhoods is that the parent usually does not recognize that education and at least graduating high school without the child becoming an underage parent is prime to their success.

Pete Nanos

To try and pin race relations backslide on Trump is indicative of the ignorance pervasive today because of the media and those who will not face up to the fact that ever since Rev Wright,ever since George Zimmerman was declared a white supremacist (he was hispanic ) and ever since Obama sided wrongly in Ferguson, (his own investigations found in favor of Darren Williams) race relations began to become contentious. If you examine the facts, Obama, was just as big a race baiter as Al Sharpton, Quanell X, or Jesse Jackson. Trump on the other hand, has lowered black and hispanic unemployment, has raised wages in the black community and has partnered with people to help improve conditions in the black community. Great progress has been made, but no matter how much gets done to improve things, you are going to find that nothing will be enough for those who find that every time they fail they need to pull the race card.
This paper and this writer has no sense of objectivity. This is a blatant hit job by people with an agenda. Too bad, we could use a story that pointed the finger at those who have really set us back, like Maxine Waters, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the ship of fools.

David Smith

Youre right .. never assume..
The FACTS are...you are too young to speak of that era.. but yet you comment.. you are repeating what you read.. or .. what someone told you..
Would you like to tell us how your husband was harrased?
And how he was denyed employment because hes black? ( which is a federal crime)

Aaaa Haynes

Pretty sure that hearing first hand from my husbands grandmother and her experiences gives me insight as to how she was treated and how she lived through that era. I will take that first hand account over a textbook article any day.

Rusty Schroeder

David, maybe we should be asking her husband's grandmother of the abuse her husband has endured, seems she doesn't want to explain it now. Nor the Vietnamese fleet burning in San Leon, that was racism and it was real. And I didn't hear about it from anyone, I saw it, and the aftermath and read the stories in this very newspaper as well as the TC Sun.

Jarvis Buckley

Wow! So now I'm sure GDN will run a comment article with conservative folks of color.

Paul Hyatt

Just another race baiting article from the left leaning Galveston County Daily News. If the article was not such a sad attempt at stirring the pot, it would be funny. Race relations have gone south in this nation, but the what the GCDN does not say is that it really started when Obama and his ilk came into power. He alone started stirring the pot of racial hatred as he was following the dictates of "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky.... One of Obama's biggest claims to fame is that he stirred the pot of division and hatred in this nation not seen since the 50's.... What is sad is that there are so many who are blind to this fact and the media is the biggest culprit in this issue....When the left was able to get God removed from everything this nation has started a fast slide into oblivion....

Nick Saum

We are afraid to see clearly...and of being SEEN clearly. Sometimes we are wrong, sometimes we are right...Our society as a whole needs to overcome its own fears and learn to respect the views of others (and be willing to compromise to meet a common goal). "My way or the highway" thinking or demonizing a group of people because they think differently than us only divides us. Need proof? Look no further than the climate in Washington DC.

Wayne Holt

Even the overt racism of the 50s and 60s was mixed with more respect for each other in some/many ways. Our family moved from Illinois to Texas in 1958 when I was eight years old. My nine-year old brother and I were dumbstruck by the Colored Only fountains in Weingartens grocery..and the fact you had to pay to vote (poll tax).

At the same time, we would often see old white men who looked like the most red of the rednecks holding doors open for African-American women both young and old, waiting for them to pass through and being politely thanked by the women.

There was blatant racism side by side with more politeness and, dare I say chivalry, than I have seen in years. God help any young black kid who was caught by someone's grandmother down the street messing up; that was good for one free a** whoopin', no need to call the police.

I wonder why we can't combine the civility of the past with the progress made since then and JUST GET ALONG.

Kimberley Jones Yancy

As an African-American wife of 25 years, mother of four children, college educated from UT Austin, teacher, Sorority girl, Pastors wife, author, entrepreneur, and a product of a two college educated product home, racism in Galveston County is real, prevalent, overt and covert and within the last four years very blatant. But most of you on this blog would not know because it doesn’t directly involve you. So you pray and hope it does not exist. Carlos, I challenge you to look at the home ownership rates, the approved home mortgages, the juvenile cases reported to DA offices; school suspensions; arrests; city contracts, It will blow your mind. This is what needs to be exposed.

Carlos Ponce

Kimberly, if you feel it is important then YOU expose it.
If you seek racism you will find it.
If you seek brotherhood, charity, Judeo-Christian values, good will, etc. you will find it.
There was an old commercial where on a busy street a man tells his friend how nice the sound of birds chirping is. The other man can't hear it - at first. The man then takes a coin and drops it on the sidewalk. Passerbys all go looking for the coin. He then turns to his friend and says, "We hear what we listen for".
To that I add we find what we are seeking.
If Kimberly Jones Yancy looks for hatred, prejudice, racism - she'll find it.
As for me, I look for the better things in life. Have a Blessed day.[beam]

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