The Obama Effect

Even before President Barack Obama took office, the way whites think about African-Americans was changing dramatically. A study conducted by UW psychology professor Patricia Devine and a colleague at Florida State University measured racial prejudice during fall 2008, starting after Obama’s nomination by the Democratic Party and ending with the November 4 election. Among their findings:

When asked who comes to mind when they think of African-Americans, 22 percent of respondents named Obama — a finding, the researchers noted, that shows he had “permeated many people’s consciousness to the point that he was highly accessible.”

Will the positive awareness last? That, the researchers say, may depend upon the success of Obama’s presidency.

Published in the Summer 2009 issue

Tags: Research, Social sciences

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