Obama Deception?: Empire, ‘postracism’ and White Supremacy in the campaign and election of Barack Obama

Tamari Kitossa


This essay aims to provide a socio-historical account of the role that white supremacy played in the Presidential ascendancy of Barack Obama. Far from transcending race, Mr. Obama explicitly crafted his political ontology to articulate a discourse of post-racism. A central claim I make is that Mr. Obama selectively and strategically appropriated the enterprise of anti-racism by deploying a postmodern amorphous blackness that simultaneously undermined it. On one hand he assuaged White anxiety about whether a Black President will seek to call in the lien African Americans have on the state and White US society. On the other, he propagated the belief that where Whites voted for him, this confirmed the triumphal defeat of racism. In either case, by trading on his ambiguous biography, his personage was made to affirm both the end of racism and the redundancy of anti-racist action.


barack obama; racism; anti-racism; 'post-racism'; whiteness; white anxiety; united states

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