Getting over the obama hope hangover: The new racism in ‘post-racial’ America

Book Section

© Cambridge University Press 2015. As Obama’s presidency enters its second term, it is more than time to get over the Obama-induced hangover and realize that his real ‘audacity’ has been to carry out a centre-right political agenda while doing absolutely nothing on the race front. In this chapter, I provide a much-needed aspirin to help readers regain their critical faculties, understand how and why a black man like Obama was elected and assess the likely repercussions of having this black man heading the American political machine. In previous work (Bonilla-Silva 2010; Bonilla-Silva and Ray 2009), I have suggested that the claim that Obama’s election is clear and convincing evidence of racism’s declining significance in the country is based on a flawed conceptualization of the nature of racism in general as well as of its specific articulation in the post–civil rights era. Theoretically, I contend that racism is, more than anything else, systemic or institutionalized (Bonilla-Silva 1997), hence the crux of the matter (with or without a black president) is assessing whether we have practices, mechanisms, traditions and institutions in place that produce and reproduce racial privilege. Traditional racism, and the practices associated with it, have changed and become covert, subtle and seemingly non-racial. These new racial practices are the central cogs behind modern-day racial domination in America.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bonilla-Silva, E; Ray, VE

Published Date

  • January 1, 2014

Book Title

  • Theories of Race and Ethnicity: Contemporary Debates and Perspectives

Start / End Page

  • 57 - 73

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781139015431

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/CBO9781139015431.007

Citation Source

  • Scopus