Barack Obama and the White Problem

50 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2011 Last revised: 21 Apr 2011

See all articles by Bruce Baum

Bruce Baum

affiliation not provided to SSRN


This paper will exam some of the difficulties of, or resistance to, Barack Obama's presidency so far in relation to what Richard Wright and James Baldwin called the white problem in the US. As Wright said of the US race problem, it is a white problem because it is the whites [as the dominant racialized group] who impose it every day. The white problem continues to be evident despite the fact that Obama's election gave rise to new talk of a post-racial moment (even though a majority of white Americans voted in 2008 for his Republican Party opponent). In light of recent work in critical whiteness studies, I will explore have the white problem has been evident not only in the Tea Party movement, but also in broader and more subtle ways as many white Americans who supported Obama have apparently withdrawn their support for his policies.

Suggested Citation

Baum, Bruce, Barack Obama and the White Problem. Western Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN:

Bruce Baum (Contact Author)

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