By APRIL RYAN
March 01, 2015
As a black woman who has covered the White House beat since 1997, I have had an intimate view of race relations at the center of American power. From Bill Clinton, our first “black” president, to Barack Obama, our first actual black president, I’ve been in the James Brady Briefing Room during a fascinating time—a moment when we’ve realized our troubled racial history has left a far more complex and contradictory legacy than we may have ever expected.
My perch in the press corps has let me watch up close how the last three presidents have tackled racial issues during their time in office, from confronting the issue publicly to hiring and building diverse teams to them lead the nation. Through it all, I’ve kept notes and been assembling a record. Now it’s time to grade each leader on how his policies and procedures positively or negatively impacted African Americans and other minorities—and ultimately the entire country from the reparations issue and black farmer payouts to present-day incidents such as the riots in Ferguson, Missouri.