The title of this post tells u that there's going to be quite a bit of stuff said in it. I don't claim to be right or accurate in what I say; but these ideas are from my own personal experience, and experience of close friends whose data I can trust. They are not from the books or "what they say about.."
Obama winning the Democratic Nomination in the USA is great for the blacks and minorities of that country. Finally USA can become more like Brazil-one of the least racist nations of the world. I have found from my personal experiences that South America is by far the least racist continent of the world. Racism, religion based discrimination, and status of women--all go hand in hand in my opinion. And South America is the most civilized continent of the world in these things.
A German, a black guy from Zimbabwe, a chinese from Shanghai can travel in this continent in a small town without knowing Spanish/Portugese---and they will not be harmed. They will not be attacked racially (again, nothing is absolute-the probability that that happens is low is what I am saying). I cannot imagine a Mexican Jose traveling in Russia or Germany or the USA not speaking the local language and not being harassed/beaten up. The world outside South America needs to learn a lot from this continent where people live the most free.
It is nice to see another nation, USA, following the leadership of Brazil in this. Remember that Brazil was the first to abolish slavery, give equal rights to blacks-and today 51% of the population declares themselves as Mulatto. That is the human race of the future, the mulatto, mixed with some oriental blood. There are a large amount of Japanese in Sao Paulo, who live and cross quite happily with all others living there (the ones who don't stay in their communities and their populations will diminish/not grow as much as the others. Witness orthodox Jewish colonies in Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires or New York City. As a proportion to the majority populations of these cities, they are a SMALLER portion)
Religion is a big problem in the world still-and religion based discrimination is rampant in many places, especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Since all religions were founded and controlled by men; there is widespread abuse of women's rights in almost all highly religious societies.
A world free of racism, religion and a truly equal status for women would be a much better and fun world. By the way-you can measure this with this experiment.
The day when a woman can go out alone in a bar, pickup some guy, and have a wild night with him without being looked down upon by society, that day we know we are treating women as equal as men (we normally call her a slut-whereas give a pat in the back of a guy who picks up some girl in a bar and has a wild fling). She needs to be able to do this with a man of any color or religion, without that guy being at any risk of physical harm from other guys in the bar, and that is then a true test for a free society.
Even in South America we are not there yet-but we are getting there fast.