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“A Radical Thing”: Educational Perspectives on Race in the Age of Obama

by Zoë Burkholder - February 09, 2009

Speaking to a reporter from the Washington Post a few weeks ago, President Obama remarked, "There is an entire generation that will grow up taking for granted that the highest office in the land is filled by an African American." He continued, "I mean, that's a radical thing. It changes how black children look at themselves. It also changes how white children look at black children. And I wouldn't underestimate the force of that.” As an educational historian who studies racial discourse in schools, I can tell you that Obama is absolutely correct. Americans are about to radically alter the way they see, understand, and speak about race on an everyday basis thanks to the presidency of Barack Obama. Especially in places like schools.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: February 09, 2009
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15563, Date Accessed: 7/30/2021 7:34:30 AM

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About the Author
  • Zoë Burkholder
    Harvard University
    E-mail Author
    ZOE BURKHOLDER, Ph.D. is a fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. Her recent dissertation won the Claude A. Eggertsen Dissertation Prize from the History of Education Society and the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. She is currently finishing her book, Reconstructing Race: A History of Race, Reform, and Civil Rights in American Schools, 1900-1954.
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