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The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America?$
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Gregory Parks and Matthew Hughey

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199735204

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199735204.001.0001

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The Role of Race in American Politics: Lessons Learned from the 2008 Presidential Election

The Role of Race in American Politics: Lessons Learned from the 2008 Presidential Election

Chapter:
(p.218) Chapter 10 The Role of Race in American Politics: Lessons Learned from the 2008 Presidential Election
Source:
The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America?
Author(s):

Thierry Devos

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199735204.003.0010

Despite the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, the scientific literature reveals that race and racial attitudes continue to shape how political candidates are perceived and voting behavior. This chapter discusses the multiple ways in which racial attitudes and identity play aubiquitous role in American politics. Blatant expressions of resentments, fears, or concerns for group interests have declined, but research on symbolic racism suggest that lingering racial biases account for affective and cognitive responses to political candidates and social policies. Today, racial prejudices operate largely at an automatic or unconscious level. In addition, the prevalence of egalitarian principles and an increasingly multicultural societal context have fostered more complex racial stereotypes and categorizations. Finally, the election of Barack Obama may produce paradoxical effects on political attitudes that underscore the challenges of overcoming racial divisions and oppression.

Keywords:   voting, racial attitude, racial identity, symbolic racism, political candidate, political attitude, social policy, automatic prejudice, unconscious prejudice, stereotype

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