HC: Lenora Cain was my mother, who was a domestic worker. Luther Cain, Jr., was my father, who was a barber, a janitor and a chauffer. And they didn’t start with much. Both of them walked off of a farm at the age of 18, different farms, but they walked off with literally nothing. And they basically pursued their American dream, and they achieved it. And my dad worked three jobs as a barber, a janitor and a chauffer in order to be able to save enough money to buy that little house that he wanted. So my parents gave me great values, and great inspiration that has allowed me to pursue my American dream. And I owe a lot to them for getting me to believe in three fundamental things – my belief in God, my belief in myself, and my belief in the greatest country in the world. And one of the reasons I’m running for president, Hugh, is because this country has gotten off track. And I want to do everything that I can to get it back on track, so that my grandkids, your grandkids, and all of those little faces out there will have an opportunity like we had.
HH: And tell me about Luther. Was he a disciplinarian?
HC: He was a disciplinarian in a very nice way. He’d smile at you while he’s telling you he’s getting ready to give you a whipping. It didn’t changed the whipping, but at least he was smiling when he told you that. Yes, he was a disciplinarian, and he had high expectations for my brother and I. It was just one brother that I was raised with. But he was a disciplinarian, but in a very loving way. But more than that, Hugh, he also led by example, he lived by example, and he taught us a lot of things by example, more so than lectures.
HC: And so I went into corporate America to climb the corporate ladder before it was cool to have a black guy as a vice president. And I was able to do it. And you know how I did it, Hugh? I never looked back at race. If someone in the organization had a problem with my color, rather than looking at my performance, I simply allowed it to be their problem and not mine. Yes, I had to deal with it, but I never had a situation that I could not deal with. And as a result, I was more focused on my performance. And what I learned doing that, in that experience, is that if your performance exceeds those that you are competing against, and exceeds the performance of the people around you, people stop looking at the color of your skin, and they start looking at the content of your character, and they start looking at the content of your ideas.
HH: Did you run into any racists at any of those companies?
HC: Yes, I did.
HH: How did you deal with them?
HC: Well, what I did, dealt with them was I was never in a situation where I had to deal with them directly or head to head. They may have been in the same organization, but they were not like my supervisor or immediate boss, or anything like that, so I just basically allowed them to have a problem with me. I didn’t have a problem with them.
HH: Is racism pretty much gone in America, in your opinion, Herman Cain?
HC: Racism is not gone in America, unfortunately. It’s better than it was in the 60s, but it could be a whole lot better. And here’s why it could be a whole lot better. Quite frankly, the liberals play the race card, because they have very little else to play when they want to try and attack conservatives, or attack somebody like me who considers themselves, I consider myself an American black conservative. Logic and facts don’t support the liberals’ point of view. So they can only use the tactic of name-calling, and as a result, they selectively play it, which stirs this whole race card thing, and creates racial tensions that really don’t need to be there.
Entire transcript of the interview here