Race Against History

Scheiber, Noam
May 2004
New Republic;5/31/2004, Vol. 230 Issue 20, p21
Presents a profile of Barack Obama, an African-American state senator from Illinois who is running for the U.S. Senate. Claim that Obama, unlike most progressive black politicians, has also been successful in winning over white, blue-collar Democrats; Report that Obama was the overwhelming winner in the Illinois Senate primary; Background on Obama's political career; Details of Obama's multicultural personal background, and his efforts to establish his African American identity, without segregating himself from whites; Obama's achievements at Harvard Law School; Discussion of the challenges faced by African American politicians in winning the votes of moderate whites; Account of how former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder was able to cross racial lines; Reasons why many whites oppose black candidates, and blacks oppose African American candidates who appear to be too moderate; Discussion of Obama's political views, which are unapologetically liberal; Analysis of how Obama won the Senate nomination; Assertion that many white Americans have more positive views of African-born blacks than of African Americans--a prejudice that may help Obama; Speculation about whether Obama's success can be replicated by other African American political candidates.


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