Barack Obama and the politics of race: The myth of postracism in America

Martell Teasley, David Ikard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Many scholars across racial lines argue that the historic election of Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States marks the dawning of a "postracial era" in our country. Despite this claim and unprecedented enthusiasm that abounds within African American circles about the direction of race relations in this country, there seems to be a glaring ideological disconnect between the desire and reality of a race-free society. Focusing attention on this disconnect and the symbolic capital of "hope" that Obama's presidency constitutes for the Black community, this article exposes the potential pitfalls of wholesale investment in postracial thinking, particularly for the most economically vulnerable African American populations. Chief among the questions that the authors ask is how African Americans can productively address the continuing challenges of race-centric oppression under an Obama administration that is itself an embodiment of this postrace thinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-425
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Black Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Capital of hope
  • Inequality
  • James Baldwin
  • Postracial thinking
  • Postracism
  • Race
  • Rhetoric of hope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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