The Politics of Race and Class in the Age of Obama

The Politics of Race and Class in the Age of Obama

Revue de Recherche en Civilisation Américaine
Number 3 (March 2012): Post-racial America?

Myra Mendible, Professor of English and Department Chair for Language and Literature
Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida

This essay explores the revival and misappropriation of identity politics in the age of Obama. I argue that Obama’s presidency has exposed the fault lines of American society, evoking deep-seated apprehensions about race, immigration, and America’s role in a post-9/11 world. As a result, it has generated a range of discursive strategies intended to both disguise and deploy racialist ideology. In particular, my analysis focuses attention on three developments in the wake of Obama’s election: the emergence of “whiteness” as an endangered identity; the prevalence of “class” as a code word for “race”; and the reconfiguration of “passing” and miscegenation tropes in political discourse. I consider the ways that these rhetorical sleights-of-hand exploit post-racial discourse in order to dismantle decades of progressive civil rights legislation in the United States.


  • Post-Racial America: New Myth for a New Age?
  • “Passing” for “Black”?
  • Is White the New Black?
  • Exploiting the “Obama Effect”

Read the entire article here.

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