The plain fact that one of the two major political parties in America has nominated an Illinois man who identifies himself as black is a significant stride for a nation burdened with a history of racial strife.
But Democratic nominee Barack Obama, blacks, Hispanics and whites who wish for improved race relations must be wondering where were really at here in Illinois.
Last week, civil rights groups asked Gov. Rod Blagojevich to stop state police from asking to search peoples cars. They pointed to four years of data that show minorities vehicles are searched more than whites.
The move to record data on such searches has provided fascinating information.
These so-called "consent searches" made up less than 1 percent of all searches last year, according to The Associated Press, but minorities were 10 percent more likely to be stopped than whites even though police were more likely to find drugs or guns in whites vehicles than in minorities. Drugs or guns were found in 24.6 percent of whites vehicles as compared to 13 percent of minorities vehicles.
That seems to indicate that race continues to be a motivating factor in the decision to pull over drivers.
Last year, black drivers were three times more likely to be asked to have their car searched and Hispanics nearly 2.5 times more likely than whites. …