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  • Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, Volume 6, Issue 1
  • April 2009, pp. 1-14

A CHANGE HAS COME: Race, Politics, and the Path to the Obama Presidency

  • Lawrence D. Bobo (a1) and Michael C. Dawson (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2009

Has Barack Obama's success transformed the racial divide? Did he somehow transcend or help bring to an end centuries of racial division in the United States? Did he deliberately run a strategically race-neutral, race-evading campaign? Did his race and ingrained American racism constrain the reach of his success? Have we arrived at that postracial moment that has long been the stuff of dreams and high oratory? Or was the outcome of the 2008 presidential election driven entirely by nonracial factors, such as a weak Republican ticket, an incumbent party saddled with defending an unpopular war, and a worsening economic crisis? It is at once too simple and yet entirely appropriate to say that the answers to these questions are, in a phrase, complicated matters. These complexities can, however, be brought into sharper focus.

Corresponding author
Professor Lawrence D. Bobo, Department of Sociology, William James Hall, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. E-mail:
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Herbert Blumer (1958). Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position. Pacific Sociological Review, 1(1): 37.

Lawrence D. Bobo and Camille Z. Charles (2009). Race in the American Mind: From the Moynihan Report to the Obama Candidacy. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 621(1): 243259.

Donald R. Kinder and Corrine M. McConnaughy (2006). Military Triumph, Racial Transcendence, and Colin Powell. Public Opinion Quarterly, 70(2): 139165.

David O. Sears (1988). Symbolic Racism. In Phyllis A. Katz and Dalmas A. Taylor (Eds.), Eliminating Racism: Profiles in Controversy, pp. 5384. New York: Plenum.

Nicholas Valentino and David O. Sears (2005). Old Times There Are Not Forgotten: Race and Partisan Realignment in the Contemporary South. American Journal of Political Science, 49(3): 672688.

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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
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