Perceiving a Presidency in Black (and White): Four Years Later

Perceiving a Presidency in Black (and White): Four Years Later

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
First published online: 2013-06-25
DOI: 10.1111/asap.12018

Sarah E. Gaither
Tufts University

Leigh S. Wilton
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Danielle M. Young
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

When Barack Obama became the “first Black President” of the United States in 2008, researchers examined how his election impacted Americans’ views of racial progress. When he was reelected in 2012, the minority status of the president had become less novel. In the present study, we investigated whether perceptions concerning racial progress varied: (1) before and after President Obama’s reelection; (2) by whether President Obama was labeled as biracial or Black; and (3) among White and Black individuals. We replicated past findings to demonstrate that after Obama’s reelection, White participants reported that our country had made racial progress and decreased their support for equality programs (e.g., affirmative action). Our results also revealed that labeling President Obama as either biracial or Black did not affect views of racial progress. Additionally, Black participants categorized President Obama as Black more than White participants, while White participants categorized President Obama as White more than Black participants. We discuss these results in terms of the impacts of racial beliefs that stem from exposure to a minority leader.

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