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The Obama PhenomenonToward a Multiracial Democracy$
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Charles P. Henry, Robert L. Allen, and Robert Chrisman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036453

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036453.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

An Affirmative Act?

An Affirmative Act?

Barack Obama and the Past, Present, and Future of Race-Conscious Remedies

(p.277) Seventeen An Affirmative Act?
The Obama Phenomenon

Cheryl I. Harris

University of Illinois Press

This chapter first offers an overview of contemporary debates over affirmative action to situate Obama's position on the issue. Obama's views on affirmative action expressed before and during the presidential campaign laid the foundation for his policies as president. Despite previously expressing support for affirmative action, Obama has eschewed mounting a vigorous defense of race-based remedies because in his assessment they are politically freighted, yield limited gains, and can be replaced by race-neutral measures that reduce overall inequality. The administration's position—which is ambivalent at best—has largely left uncontested the dominant color-blind framework and its affiliated racial narratives about “racial preferences,” thereby narrowing the space for broader social and economic reform.

Keywords:   Barack Obama, affirmative action, race, inequality, social reform, economic reform, racial preferences

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