Role of Racial Categories in the United States

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Role of Racial Categories in the United States Speaking about race, Michael Omi and Howard Winant said that "We utilize race to provide clues about who a person is. This fact is made painfully obvious when we encounter someone whom we cannot conveniently racially categorize someone who is, for example, racially "mixed" or of an ethic/racial group we are not familiar with" (Omi and Winant, p.59). This is a particularly interesting observation when considering President Obama, widely lauded as the nation's first African-American president, though he was born to a white mother and raised by that white mother and his white grandparents, with no real influence by his black, African father, so that he is not only racially mixed, but culturally different from most African Americans. However, in a society like America, where race is such a predominant factor, Obama's blackness has become an integral part of his identity; he is criticized as being too black or not black enough by people with various agendas attached to their concept of black Americans. The public perception of Obama, and Obama's reaction to that perception, is interesting, because many people in America have become complacent about racism. While the 20th century was a time of significant racial conflict, in which many times oppressed groups of people were rising up against oppressors, in a wide range of political movements, the 21st century has been less vocal about racial oppression. The result is that "race
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