Abstract

The point of departure for this article is that the current white backlash over the use of the framing device “Black Lives Matter” is a correlate of the diminished capacity to make race-based claims fostered by neoliberal conceptions of race. The article attends to how President Obama, paradoxically, has deepened color-blind forms of racism and thus weakened the ability for grass-roots Black challenges to the discursive and political status quo. His implicit conception of whiteness as invisible, singular and of transcendent power, is discussed as a theo-politics and assessed via two examples: the rhetoric he uses with Black audiences, and his foreign policy choices in Africa. This article hopes both to show that Obama's management of the complex conditions he inherited have not been fruitful for African Americans, the group that offered such unmitigated supported for his campaigns; and to inspire momentum against neoliberal ways of thinking about race and its concomitant color-blind whiteness.

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