For the most part, I think people my age and younger tend to see the civil rights movement as ancient history. I think it's safe to generalize that my generation sees less color than previous generations.
One of our local former congress critters, Louis Stokes, who is a legend here, said this in an interview:
"As much as I love this country, and believe in this country, I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime."
John Lewis, a congressman from Atlanta who marched with MLK and was a leader in the civil rights movement at the time, was interviewed on ABC, was also in awe that we have an African-American president in the queue. Keep in mind that this was the time when they had to pass legislation just to ensure that everyone could vote. This was about the time my parents graduated from high school. It wasn't that long ago.
I grew up in the age of desegregation in the Cleveland schools. We were bussed across town, by court order, due to the inequity of schools in black and white neighborhoods. That's probably the reason that colors my perception (pardon the pun) in terms of whether or not we've come far enough. With hilljacks in the middle of nowhere displaying yard signs about a "muslin," we've got some way to go.
But today I feel like we're getting somewhere. When a black man can become leader of the free world, it gives me hope that there will be fewer reasons to have race be an obstacle to the advancement of our culture. I don't see how it can be any other way if we expect to be leaders in the world.
For the moment, race does matter. It's just not the only thing that matters in the long term.