Obama’s Potential to Transform the Racial Attitudes of White Americans

John F. Dovidio, Samuel L. Gaertner, Tamar Saguy and Eric Hehman

in The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America?

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735204
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894581 | DOI:

Series: Series in Political Psychology

Obama’s Potential to Transform the Racial Attitudes of White Americans

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The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States can have profound impact, currently and into the future, on Whites’ racial attitudes by providing unprecedented virtual intergroup contact. The present chapter considers the extent and nature of contemporary racial attitudes and discusses how, drawing on fundamental psychological principles related to intergroup contact, Obama’s election can transform the internalized racial attitudes of Whites. We examine not only how, by virtue of his role as president, Obama can change the way Blacks are perceived but also how his rhetoric can shape the perceptions of race relations. We also explore the circumstances that can promote or limit President Obama’s effectiveness and positive impact on race relations.

Keywords: common ingroup identity model; contact theory; extended contact; intergroup contact; intergroup relations; prejudice; racism; social identity

Chapter.  8680 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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