Obama the ‘omnipresent icebreaker’ for talking about race

The New York Times just posted a story on how Barack Obama’s election may have changed the way that we talk about race. Curiously, the Sarah Kershaw story is posted in the Fashion & Style section of the nytimes.com website.

In “Talk About Race? Relax, It’s O.K.” Kershaw relates the views of several 30- and 40-somethings on Obama’s impact on race discussions.  Here’s one of the examples cited in the story:

Christophe E. Jackson, 28, a black Ph.D. candidate in biology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, who is also pursuing a medical degree, recalled that in the past he had uneasy conversations with white students and colleagues about affirmative action. He believed that many whites thought he had an edge, and were sometimes blunt about saying so. But Mr. Obama’s campaign and election seem to have changed those perceptions.

EJS President Eva Paterson blogged last March about “Putting Race Back on the Table in the Presidential Campaign,” in which she includes an article by Tim Wise, “Of National Lies and Racial Amnesia: Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama, and the Audacity of Truth.” Eva received many great comments on that post.

Both Eva and Tim will be the featured speakers in a SpeakOut event titled “Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama” taking place Thursday, February 19, from 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison Street.

Buy tickets to the Feb. 19 event here.

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