Black Awakening in Obama’s America: The End of an Illusion


  • Tatjana Vukelić Ph.D. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka, Croatia


racial politics, Barack Obama, police brutality, #BlackLivesMatter, transition


The aim of this study is to present and describe the social and political situation in the United States before and after Barack Obama’s presidency regarding Black people and their position in the American mainstream society. What exactly does Obama’s election portend for race in America? This essay uses the tremendous racial disparities in the American social and political system to assess race and racism as key features of contemporary society. In America, African Americans were, and are, locked in a “racial prison”. As Blacks, their identities were defined in opposition to whites and whitness. Of course, Blacks could free themselves by changing their names, reframing their identities, and discharging their culture and heritage. To do so, as Malcolm X pointed out, required some radical action, a kind of suspension of judgement that would permit Blacks to see themselves in tension with the normative white gaze. As long as African Americans place their faith in political rightness and correctness of American democracy, they would never know what it feels like to be equal. The hope and optimism that coursed through Black America in anticipation of Obama’s victory as the first Black president in 2008 seemed a million miles away. It seems like slavery was never abolished; it was only redesigned.




How to Cite

Vukelić, T. (2023). Black Awakening in Obama’s America: The End of an Illusion. European Journal of Social Sciences, 6(1), 62–71. Retrieved from