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January 2009

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INTRODUCTION The 2008 political season provided us with sublime political spec- tacle. The contest for presidential nominee of the Democratic National party was an exciting and historic race. The subsequent presidential race whipped Americans, and indeed many throughout the world, into a frenzy. Never before did two white women and a black man exemplify the dreams and aspirations of so many. People the world over hoped and sought to change the course of history through the selection of the Presi- dent and Vice President of the United States of America. There appeared to be a captivating yet ironic handwringing around identitarian politics at the same time that this elephant in the room was downplayed. The con- test elevated, yet simultaneously sublimated, Americans' struggle with race, gender, religion and national origin. As everyone was well aware of the monumental contests for symbolic firsts' the 2008 Presidential race took on added momentum. With the designation of "First black President of the United States of America" looming within sight, suppor- ters and detractors of Barack Obama were plagued by the weighty histo- ry of America. This racist history was cast as both past and prologue. With so many "firsts" at stake-either the potential for the first woman President and Vice President or the first black President-both crude and subtle identity politics were revealed which challenged claims that the citizenry of the United States had moved beyond identity-politics, or race more specifically.

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