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The ‘Obama Moment’: Sangay Mishra and Jinee Lokaneeta

The ‘Obama Moment’ and Conversations on Race

[The ‘Obama moment’ is much more than the man. Elementary, one would have thought. But maybe not. For, it has been intriguing to watch and listen to people – radical and nonradical liberal alike – mock this moment in a cynical, ‘we-know-it-all’ and ‘what-do-you-expect?’ mode. Intriguing, because, somewhere the insinuation is that those who celebrate are just being carried away by an ephemeral event. Maybe. It seems however, and the authors argue below, that this persona we now know as ‘Obama’ was not there even a year or two ago; he emerged in this present form, through a series of ‘encounters’ – with race, with his own history and with ‘blackness’. In his present form, Obama is produced by a certain African American investment in the earlier Obama (of, say, the pre-campaign Obama). – AN]

Much as the Obama victory on the 4th of November was expected and already predicted by a number of polls, the reaction to his victory both inside and outside the United States was breathtaking.

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