Obama and the politics of blackness: antiracism in the "post-black" conjuncture

Pitcher, B. 2010. Obama and the politics of blackness: antiracism in the "post-black" conjuncture. Souls. 12 (4), pp. 313-322.

TitleObama and the politics of blackness: antiracism in the "post-black" conjuncture
AuthorsPitcher, B.
Abstract

This article sets out think about some of the challenges to U.S. antiracism heralded by Barack Obama's presidency. It begins by examining the relationship Obama negotiates with notions of blackness in his autobiographical writings, and it considers how this exemplifies what has been described as a “post-black” politics. It proceeds to discuss the insufficiency of critiques of “post-black” as having sold out a black political tradition, but it notes that these critiques reveal something of the changing significance of blackness as a form of antiracist practice. Considering how Obama represents a move in black politics from the margins to the mainstream, I argue that the President's symbolic centrality undermines a conception of critical oppositionality hitherto implicit to the antiracist imaginary. Exploring how this challenges longstanding ideas about who “owns” or controls the antiracist struggle, I suggest that antiracism will need to move beyond accusations of betrayal if it is to account for and understand the profound ways in which Obama has transformed the entire field of U.S. race discourse.

JournalSouls
Journal citation12 (4), pp. 313-322
ISSN1099-9949
YearOct 2010
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/10999949.2010.526046
Publication dates
PublishedOct 2010

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