North Carolina Senator John Edwards sprinkles talk of race relations in the speeches he delivers in Iowa, a state with a population that’s about 93 percent white. There were no latinos and just three African Americans in the Des Moines audience Edwards spoke to earlier this week, yet Edwards spent a few minutes talking about civil rights and he promised to erase the racial dividing lines that he says still exist in America.Edwards said he grew up in the “segregated south,” and remembers his sixth grade teacher walking into the classroom and announcing he would not be teaching the following year because the school would be integrated, and the teacher refused to teach in an integrated school.Edwards said we still live in a country with far too many barriers. Edwards said he’ll take steps to bring real equality to America, like appointing judges who will enforce civil rights laws. Edwards said he feels “a huge personal responsibility” to “make sure children are no longer divided by the color of their skin.” Edwards, who is a trial lawyer by trade, said he would maintain affirmative action programs to ensure minorities get a fair shot at college and jobs. In November, Edwards chided front-runner Howard Dean after Dean said he wanted to be the candidate for southerners with confederate flags on their pickups. Edwards says the “stars and bars” is an offensive symbol that no one should embrace. Just over two percent of Iowans are black according to the U.S. Census. Latinos are now the largest minority group in Iowa; just under three percent of Iowa’s residents are latino.
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