Commentary

Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 128-144

The Post Racial Presidency: The Myths of a Nation and its People

  • Robert StaplesAffiliated withGraduate Program in Sociology, University of CaliforniaThe Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, Monash University Email author 

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Abstract

This commentary is an observation and analysis of the 2008 presidential election, the role of race and the use of symbolism that resulted in the election of the nation’s first Black president. Beginning with a historical overview of the participation of Blacks, the official and unofficial barriers to it, the central role of race is examined for causing monumental shifts in political realignments by Blacks and whites. While economic factors dominate most national elections, the USA is unique in having only two pro-business parties and the importance of non-economic forces such as race, religion, values and patriotism. It is within that context that the 2008 elections, including the Democratic Party, saw the manipulation of those symbols by candidates intent on winning the most powerful post in the world. It was an election in which both parties ostensibly ignored racial factors, the historical role of discrimination, while using its existence to gain an advantage.

Keywords

U.S. presidential elections Barack Obama Political racism