The Obama Phenomenon
Toward a Multiracial Democracy
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Times are out of joint. We have an African American president yet representatives call him a liar publicly and the Republicans hold an alternate State of the Union in Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. Philadelphia, Mississippi, has a Black mayor yet Blacks and Whites find it hard to find a justice of the peace that will marry them in Louisiana, ...
Part I: The Election
1. Toward a Multiracial Democracy: The Jackson and Obama Contributions
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What young Black lawyer from Chicago with a degree from a prestigious law school and a mixed legislative record of reform and mainstream party voting in the Illinois legislature went on to win a historic general election after beating the Democratic Party favorite in the primary? The victor was known for his verbal eloquence ...
2. Analysis of Black American Voters in Barack Obama’s Victory
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By midnight on Election Day, November 4, 2008, it was clear that American political life had entered a historically new era with the election victory of the Barack Obama–Joe Biden Democratic ticket over the John McCain–Sarah Palin Republican ticket. Winning 53 percent of the popular vote and 365 votes in the Electoral College, ...
3. Dead Certain: The Election of Barack Obama and Its Implications for Racial Politics
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Euphoric! Exciting! Exhilarating! At exactly 11:00 p.m. EST on November 4, 2008, Fox News Channel, in the same breath, called California for Senator Barack Obama and then declared him to be the forty-fourth President of the United States of America. In Springfield, Illinois, on a cold Saturday morning, February 10, 2007, ...
4. What Trumped?: Race, Class, Gender, Generation, the Economy, and the 2008 Elections
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How did Barack Hussein Obama earn the presidency of the United States of America? A decade ago, he was a little-known state senator from Illinois. By his own admission, he was frustrated by state politics and anxious for the “upgrade” of national office when he first challenged Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) ...
5. Race, the Presidency, and Obama’s First Year
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This chapter examines the presidential candidacy and early presidency of Barack Obama during 2008 and 2009. Race has been of profound importance in shaping the American polity from the colonial era into the twenty-first century. The legal framework of racial slavery created boundaries that challenged African Americans at every level: ...
6. Under Press-ure: Overcoming the Media and Its Mavens?
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Before Barack Hussein Obama became the forty-fourth President of the United States, his campaign was viewed in three major ways by the media: There were those who cheered him along; those uncertain what to make of him but who retained a tame, mainstream, “wait and see” perspective; and those whose views ranged from “critically supportive” to firmly opposed. ...
7. Opportunity Costs: The Impact of the 2008 Campaign on the Legacy of William Jefferson Clinton
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He entered office in no small part because of them.1 He made them many campaign promises in order to get elected and to gain re-election. By the time his tenure as president was over, some of those promises had been broken. However, they still respected and admired him. ...
Part II: Culture
8. Lest We Forget: An open letter to my sisters who are brave
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I have come home from a long stay in Mexico to find—because of the presidential campaign, and especially because of the Obama/Clinton race for the Democratic nomination—a new country existing alongside the old. On any given day we, collectively, become the Goddess of the Three Directions and can look back into the past, ...
9. The Ambivalent Embrace of Barack Obama: The Ethical Significance and Social Apprehension of Black
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The election of Barack Hussein Obama to the presidency of the United States of America offers a complex portrait of both possibility and paradox, both continuity and change within the context of a society deeply embedded in a history of racial categorization, racialization, and racism, as well as multifront struggles to alter this. ...
10. Obama, Black Religion, and the Reverend Wright Controversy
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Religion and race invariably transform public discourse from civil, intellectual dialogue to irrational rancor. Combine them with the volatility of politics and one has an explosive mixture. Privately contained, the cultural exposition of these phenomena may create unity if not uniformity, cohesiveness if not consistency. ...
11. Race, Religion, and the Race for the White House
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One of the fascinating developments in the 2008 presidential election has been the insertion of black religion and black theology into the discourse. For instance, on February 10, 2007, Senator Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the White House. ...
12. The New Negro in African American Politics: Barack Obama and the Politics of Racial Representation
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Barack Obama’s success in American politics presents an unparalleled opportunity to reconsider the salience of race and the politics of racial representation. Obama’s victorious bid for the U.S. Senate in 2004—becoming only the fourth African American elected to upper house in American history ...
13. Barack Obama’s Anomalous Relationship with the Hip-Hop Community
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Interlocutors in different theoretical discussions have pointed to the election and presidency of Barack Obama as a signal to a changing racial, cultural, and political milieu in the United States. More than any other election, the 2008 election entailed a pronounced involvement from the hiphop community. ...
14. Too Black and Too Strong: First Lady Michelle Obama
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Two days before the historical election of Senator Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States of America, New York Times journalist Mark Leibovich interviewed undecided voters who were still wrestling with the question, “Who are you voting for?”1 The article pushed beyond the typical back and forth between conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, ...
Part III: Policy
15. President Obama: Freedom Democrat or Neoliberal?
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As the world savored Barack Obama’s ascent to the highest post in the United States, the same political pundits who impatiently insisted that we transcend race by not talking about it made race the issue du jour. We’ve all heard the jubilant claims that Obama’s victory marks the final nail in the coffin of racism. ...
16. Multicultural Hegemony: Globalization and the Obama Doctrine
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President Barack Obama, during his campaign for the presidency, ignited a movement of progressive activism that has the potential to reshape U.S. and global politics in a manner unseen in generations. One critical area of politics that requires urgent attention is the nature and status of U.S. foreign policy ...
17. An Affirmative Act?: Barack Obama and the Past, Present, and Future of Race-Conscious Remedies
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On the night of the election news commentators effused over the historic nature of the Obama win: Despite the racial odds, a black man had been elected President of the United States. Moments later, in an interview with the same commentators, Obama’s campaign director and close advisor David Axelrod sincerely asserted ...
Epilogue: The Legacy of the Obama Era: A New Electoral Majority?
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Whether Barack Obama is regarded primarily as the first black president of the United States of America or more prosaically as an American president who happens to be black, it remains the case that he is first of all the American president at the moment. And, as with the American presidents before him, African Americans, despite being critical to his election, ...
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Josephine A. V. Allen is professor at the College of Community and Public Affairs at Binghamton University and professor emerita at Cornell University’s Department of Policy Analysis and Management. ...
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Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2011