Abstract

After Barack Obama's historic election, media reports overwhelmingly credited white independents with setting aside decades of racially polarized voting to send the nation's first black president to the White House. Lee looks more closely to reveal that Obama owes a greater debt to non-white voters (partisan and nonpartisan) than to white independents. As more people of color – including immigrant and second-generation Latinos and Asian Americans – join the ranks of nonpartisan voters, the concept of pan-racialism can shed light on how individuals of a shared demographic category come to engage, politically, as a group. The age of Obama calls not for the celebration of a post-racial politics, but rather for a collective struggle to build a pan-racial politics: that is, a politics of mutual recognition, inclusion, and moral partiality between all racial and ethnic groups.

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