America Is Obsessed With Identity. Thanks, Obama?

America Is Obsessed With Identity. Thanks, Obama?

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio

Alicia Montgomery

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

When Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, there was a lot of talk about “The Obama Effect”: how the nation’s first black president signaled a new era of racial harmony and understanding.

That didn’t happen. But what did? The Obama family’s tenure in the White House has overlapped a revolution in the way Americans deal with identity. From race to religion, from gender to sexual orientation and beyond, marginalized groups that historically worked and waited for “a seat at the table” increasingly demanded their share of cultural power.

And people who once assumed that they could define what it means to be American were called on to defend their ideas and “check their privilege…

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