It has been accepted for inclusion in Faculty Publications: An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Western Political ScienceAssociation's annual meeting in Denver, Colorado. Of course, only the authors can be responsible for the analyses and interpretations presented here. We would like to especially thank Dan Orey, Jr.
How should African American candidates try to reach out to white voters? Because of a legacy of racism in the United States, black candidates have historically faced difficulties convincing some whites to vote for them.
Some voters will never be convinced to vote for a black candidate, but how does a black candidate win over non-black voters who may be able to be convinced to vote for a black candidate? Some candidates have resorted to a strategy called deracialization to maximize their crossover appeal.
Deracializtion is a campaign strategy in which black candidates deemphasize racial issues in their campaign, choosing instead to focus on issues that have a broad appeal. Charles Hamilton first recommended this strategy in the 's after Republicans won working class white voters who thought that Democrats spent too much time embracing civil rights issues.
In effect, African American candidates should, according to deracialization theory, focus their campaigns on issues that can be seen as benefiting, unifying,developing platforms that appeal primarily to the African American community. For all intents and purposes, Barack Obama is running a deracialized campaign.
These goals are not racially driven and were designed to appeal to all Americans. Some blacks will be offended by his tendency to deal gingerly with racial issues. Martin Luther King Jr. They thought it was awkward at best and cowardly at worst for him to not mention King by name on the 45th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
Additionally, we have seen in this race and in previous races that deracialized strategies do not provide candidates from immunity from racial attacks.
Harvey Gantt ran deracialized campaigns against Jesse Helms in North Carolina in andand Helms still primed white consternation over affirmative action to help him win.
On the whole, should Senator Obama indeed be elected in November, it will be fascinating to see how he addresses race. Does his deracialized campaign strategy mean that racial issues will not be a priority in an Obama White House? If he does not address racial disparities, will blacks be as enthusiastic about his reelection bid in ?
And if he does address racial issues, will non-blacks abandon his political coalition? These are questions that only time can answer. Dilemmas in Black Politics.In the U.S., the term deracialization has so far been mainly used by political scientists to describe black politicians avoiding the discussion of racial issues, especially when campaigning for elected office (e.g.
Perry Perry, H. With the election of Barack Obama in , the politics of deracialization achieved its most stunning success. But, the first term (c) of the first African-American elected President of the United States occurred amid a backdrop of economic collapse. (5) Let us now rehearse the events which led to Mr.
Obama’s election. All other variables of the study are null and void for deracialization and the 10 African American candidates used for this study.
It should be noted, there was no uniformity with categories of African American candidates. The best possible choices were assessed and used for this study.
And political activism extended beyond public office, as large numbers of African Americans worked in public service jobs, volunteered on political campaigns, supported Union leagues, which encouraged voter education, advocacy and grass-roots activism, like sit-ins and strikes, and joined fraternal organizations that advanced both personal and civic goals.
White Concern About Black Favoritism in a Biracial Presidential Election Race and class in African-American politics.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. deracialization, and attack speech: A study of negative campaigning in the Los Angeles mayoral election.
Deracialization in Black Politics essaysThere is currently a debate going on regarding the significance of deracialization as an ongoing development in American politics.
The term "deracialization," when applied to American electoral politics, refers to the conduction of a political campaign by a.