SOCIAL ANGST is more than just a blog, it is an invitation to aid in the building of wealth through the shared task of information distribution and discussion. It is a call to engage – engage in society, engage with your peers, engage in your political system, engage in spreading the wealth that is information, and engage in multiplying that wealth through discussion – so that collectively we may become more socially aware, more socially responsible, more socially vocal and ultimately more socially valuable.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Obama Effect? - Introducing A New Social Angst Series

It is too soon to speculate about Barack Obama's presidential legacy.  What he will accomplish for this country in terms of domestic and foreign policy cannot be so prematurely measured.  However, what we can evaluate is if Obama's rise to the presidency has effected a change in the national perception of Black Americans and how. 

Obama is a well educated, articulate, Black (centrist) liberal.  He is highly unlike most Black caricatures propagated by mainstream media.  He is not violent or angry. He is a loving husband and father.  He is highly educated, yet he doesn't quarantine himself from the average Black American.  He does not use race as an excuse, nor does he overlook the social significance of race as it relates to opportunity in America.  He is likable and he is successful.  And in simply being all of these things, he is managing to remove a social cataract from American sight, one that previously left the majority of Americans blind to existence of socially, economically, and morally viable Blacks.

While it is clear that Obama's Presidency has not ushered in a post-racial era, he is ushering in an era of racial rebranding among American Blacks.  Since his candidacy announcement there has been a noticeable increase in positive Black images in the media - from news reporting to advertising - and studies are finding that the presence of an Obama Effect on racial attitudes among Whites.   Obama is also changing the self-perception of Blacks which is in turn causing a shift in the universal perception of Black Americans.  One study has shown that Black students have benefited from an Obama Effect, noting better test scores after Obama's acceptance speech.  In August, a GreatSchools survey suggest that Black parent volunteer participation rose by 37% after Obama won the election.  And CNN has  reported that mentoring programs across America have seen a similar increase in volunteer efforts among Blacks.

Over the next year I will be using Social Angst as research think tank on the subject of The Obama Effect as it relates specifically to  social capital,  racial identity and cultural perceptions of Black Americans.  It is my sincerest wish that you find this new series both interesting and enjoyable.

So concludes this introduction, well except for the obligatory cry for help below. :-)

(If you would like to aid me in cataloging instances of The Obama Effect, please contact me at or  I'm looking for all the help I can get including but not limited to supporting research and writing.  This would be a great social science thesis for all you college students out there...)
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