Obama’s Potential to Transform the Racial Attitudes of White Americans
The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States can have profound impact, currently and into the future, on Whites’ racial attitudes by providing unprecedented virtual intergroup contact. The present chapter considers the extent and nature of contemporary racial attitudes and discusses how, drawing on fundamental psychological principles related to intergroup contact, Obama’s election can transform the internalized racial attitudes of Whites. We examine not only how, by virtue of his role as president, Obama can change the way Blacks are perceived but also how his rhetoric can shape the perceptions of race relations. We also explore the circumstances that can promote or limit President Obama’s effectiveness and positive impact on race relations.
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