Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Duchess Harris: The State of Black Women Under President Obama

by Duchess Harris 

History was made in November 2008. Record breaking numbers of voters lined up to vote the first African-American President into office, with Barack Obama handily beating Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, winning 52% of the electoral vote, a clear mandate for change.[1] African-Americans made up 13% of the electorate, a two percent increase from the 2006 elections,[2] and approximately 95% of black voters cast their ballots in favor of Obama.[3] Within that 13%, black women had the highest voter turnout rate among all racial, gender, and ethnic groups.[4]

As the election results were posted, the media and the President-elect himself made grand proclamations about the significance of the election, as well as what it portended for the country's future. New York Times writer Adam Nagourney described voters' election of Obama as "sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics," continuing with a quote from Obama's victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.... It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.[5]


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