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Kentucky Explained in Black and White

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Kentucky Explained in Black and White

Election 2008

Kentucky Explained in Black and White

Kentucky Explained in Black and White

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/90508518/127321319" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Our conversation this morning with a professor from Kentucky stopped a few Twitter listeners cold.

Donald Gross, who teaches political science at the University of Kentucky at Lexington, took a question from Mike Pesca about Hillary Clinton's 30-point lead over Barack Obama in polls ahead of that state's Democratic presidential contest.

Gross noted that Kentucky has a very small African-American community — the U.S. Census Bureau puts the figure at 7.5 percent of the population.

"I think in many parts of the state of Kentucky people are a bit uncomfortable with African-Americans," he said. "In a lot of the rural areas, literally a lot of these individuals have never seen African-Americans. They don't interact with them."

Gross continued, "At the university, I've had students come in and say they've never seen African-Americans personally, or talked with African-Americans 'til they came to Lexington. In some of the rural areas, sometimes there might be only one or two African-American families in the entire county."

Twitter listener @marilynm wrote, "i'm having a hard time listening to this interview...have NEVER SEEN AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN??" But listener @olevia could relate. She wrote, "i grew up in rural PA & had 1 af-am family. nearby towns had none."