Thoughts on an Obama Win, or Loss

Klein professor of law Randall Kennedy argues that Barack Obama's nomination as a major-party candidate is a milestone in itself...

Writing in Sunday's Washington Post, Klein professor of law Randall Kennedy argues that Barack Obama's nomination as a major-party candidate is a milestone in itself—it "has opened the public mind to the idea of a black president and made that idea broadly attractive," he writes.

But Kennedy also believes an Obama loss is a distinct possibility, due at least in part to lingering prejudice. He writes:

If Obama loses, I personally will feel disappointed, frustrated, hurt. I'll conclude that a fabulous opportunity has been lost. I'll believe that American voters have made a huge mistake. And I'll think that an important ingredient of their error is racial prejudice—not the hateful, snarling, open bigotry that terrorized my parents in their youth, but rather a vague, sophisticated, low-key prejudice that is chameleonlike in its ability to adapt to new surroundings and to hide even from those firmly in its grip.

Read more about Kennedy's work and, specifically, his latest book, Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal, in this article from the November-December 2007 issue of Harvard Magazine.

You might also like

Kevin Young Named 2024 Harvard Arts Medalist

Museum director and poet to be honored April 24

How Air Pollution Affects Our Brains

An expert Harvard panel discusses the links between air pollution and dementia, learning, mental health, and mood.

Harvard Magazine March-April 2024 Scavenger Hunt

March-April 2024 Print Issue Scavenger Hunt

Most popular

Harvard Corporation to Drop Law School Shield Linked to Slavery

The announcement follows a Law School committee’s recommendation to abandon the shield. 

The Intellectual Clash Over Final Clubs

Faculty members debate final clubs and freedom of association. 

The Senior Alumni

The oldest graduates at Commencement

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults