Analysis: Wrestling with how to talk about race - Yahoo! News WASHINGTON For a while, it almost seemed as if President Barack Obama had soothed the angst over race in this country simply by taking office. The focus was on big issues facing a new president one who just happened to be black. If only it were so simple. This summer, Obama stepped into the skirmish between a black college professor and a white police officer, and the race debate erupted anew. Then attacks on Obama over his health care proposals led to allegations that his critics were motivated by racism.