Black Man in the White House: Ideology and Implicit Racial Bias in the Age of Obama
This chapter discusses questions of racial bias and political ideology in the context of Barack Obama’s 2008 historical election and the first year of his presidency. In contrast to various claims that his election signifies that racial bias in the United States has vanished, social scientific evidence demonstrates that ours has yet to become a “post-racial” society. Unfortunately, implicit (i.e., relatively less conscious and uncontrollable) racial negativity toward African Americans remains robust and pervasive. Moreover, both implicit and explicit racial bias played a significant role in the 2008 election and reactions to Obama’s first year in office. The evidence to date fails to support the notion that Obama’s presidency has reduced aggregate levels of implicit racial bias. Ironically, some experimental studies suggest that circumstances for African Americans could worsen to the extent that Obama’s election encourages people to dismiss evidence of racial discrimination and lessen their commitment to egalitarian goals.
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