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December 5th, 2011
04:14 PM ET

Poll: Was it Cain the candidate or Cain's accusers that cut his campaign short?

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain announced this weekend that he suspended his campaign. Support had waned in recent weeks after allegations of sexual harassment and a woman claimed they had a 13-year affair. He didn't officially drop out of the race, but said he suspended the campaign after assessing the impact the sex allegations had on his family and supporters.

He said again Saturday that the allegations are false and that media spin was to blame. Some argue he was undone by the sexual harassment and affair allegations, by ill-explained positions and foreign policy fumbles or by amateur political moves. Some say he didn't capture the collective black Republican support that could've helped him.

"I am not going to be silenced and I will not go away," Cain said, as he announced a new website, TheCainSolutions.com.

What do you think?

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Filed under: Politics • Polls • What we think
December 5th, 2011
12:51 PM ET

Opinion: Black student defends his Confederate flag

Byron Thomas is 19, black, a freshman at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and a proud Southerner. He hung a Confederate flag in his dorm room window until the university asked him to take it down because several people had complained about it. (The university later stepped back from the request, saying all students have the right to free speech.)

"I know it's kinda weird because I'm black," Thomas said in an iReport he submitted. "When I look at this flag, I just don't see racism. I see pride, respect. Southern pride, that's what I see."

"Ignorance gave that flag a bad name, ignorant people like the KKK," he told CNN's Don Lemon.

The post got other iReporters talking, including Omekongo Dbinga, who said Thomas has the right to fly the flag, but there's no denying the flag's history. Egberto Willies said he doesn't understand Thomas' view of the Confederacy, but he thinks the North and South both have ugly histories with race relations.

Thomas said he won't put the flag back up, although he believes he has the right to do so. The university plans to host a discussion about the flag after students return from winter break.

Here's what Thomas told CNN In America about the flag and why he probably won't hang it up again.

CNN: What does the Confederate flag mean to you?

Thomas: To me, it means more states' rights and no bigger government. The government was getting too big. I believe South Carolina knows me better than the federal government. I personally have a lot of pride from being in the South. I see some freedom from when the South seceded from the North. I know that sounds bad. I see freedom differently than most people see it. Just that you have the right to do what you want to do and form your own opinion.

The bottom line for me: I do not see that flag as a racist symbol. Only an ignorant person can say that. I have researched it and studied it.

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Filed under: Black in America • History • Race • What we think
Engage: New guidelines for college diversity; Racial disparities in presidential pardons
The Obama administration is re-interpreting Bush-era guidelines on using race in college admissions.
December 5th, 2011
11:23 AM ET

Engage: New guidelines for college diversity; Racial disparities in presidential pardons

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Education, Justice departments issue new guidelines that encourage racial diversity in schools - The New York Times

Analysis: Racial disparities in presidential pardons - Pro-Publica

Report: Why do women still get paid lower than men?  - The Economist

White House and Obama re-election team reach out to black voters - Politico

Eddie Long takes a leave of absence from church to 'focus on family' - The Atlanta Journal-Consititution

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Young Republicans on Cain: 'It can be rough ... being a black conservative'
Herman Cain's candidacy, which he suspended Saturday, resonated among some black conservatives.
December 5th, 2011
11:17 AM ET

Young Republicans on Cain: 'It can be rough ... being a black conservative'

By Stacey Samuel, CNN

Washington (CNN) - As the now-former presidential hopeful Herman Cain moves to Plan B, black conservatives say it's time to stick with their Plan A, and use the leverage that the GOP candidate gave them.

"The movement should ...work actively, consistently, and thoroughly to bring the conservative message to new audiences with a firm grasp of the issues," conservative commentator Lenny McAllister said.

But Cain's rise in the polls - strong enough to have been taken seriously as a legitimate candidate — seems as unlikely as the rise of a young, black conservative Republican movement.

Opinion: Cain undone by sex, not race

Both seem an anomaly, especially among the African-American community.

"It can be rough out there being a black conservative, particularly in Washington D.C. and New York City," said Crystal Wright, who runs the blog ConservativeBlackChick.com. "We're angry, we're frustrated and we want to do something about it."

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December 5th, 2011
05:01 AM ET

Opinion: Where's the love in R&B music?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When I was a teenager trying to figure out what the ladies liked, I would turn on the TV on Saturday afternoons to catch "The hippest trip in America."

I'd close my bedroom door to make sure my younger brother wasn't watching, and then I'd imitate the latest dance moves on "Soul Train," the African-American dance show. Standing in front of a mirror, I'd unleash a series of spasmodic dance moves before embarrassing myself too much to continue.

Soul Train's dancers never had that problem. As the show's festive theme song played, wiry dancers in tight double-knit pants shimmied across the dance floor. I loved the huge afros, the lapels that were so wide you could land a small plane on them, and the suave "Soul Train" host, Don Cornelius, who signed off each show by declaring, "We wish you love, peace ... and sooooulllll!"

But most of all I loved the music on "Soul Train," especially the slow jams. They had everything - evocative lyrics, head-bopping grooves, soaring string arrangements and a whole lot of talk about love.

Yet when I listen to R&B today, I ask myself the same question Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway posed in their classic 1972 duet: "Where is the Love?"

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