School for Social Work
Obama, Barack, Racism-United States, Post-racialism, Anti-racism, Paranoia, Projection (Psychology), Tea Party Patriots, Reverse racism, Tea Party, Whiteness, Post-racial
Using the psychodynamic concepts of projection and paranoia, this paper examines the phenomenon of challenges to Barack Obama's American citizenship. Through analysis of various acts of media and political discourse, the birthers' claim that Obama is not a citizen—and can thus not be president—is situated within the larger context of the current ideological position of 'colorblind' racism and of America as 'post-racial.' Further links are made with sociopolitical conspiracy theory as well as with historical Nativist and populist movements. Through this exploration, the paper suggests that the significance of Obama's presidency and the intensity of the anxiety that it has produced are predicated upon an understanding of America as a white nation. The implications for antiracism work are also considered.
Mechem, Luke David, "There is (not) a black president : a psychodynamic exploration of doubts about Obama's citizenship in a post-racial America" (2011). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.