Not a Traditional America Anymore: A Roundup of Commentary on Obama's Reelection and the (Presumed) Gradual Demise of White Hegemony

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Even Bill O’Reilly, perhaps the most rational of Fox News pundits, called it: “It’s not a traditional America anymore.”

After President Obama’s reelection Tuesday night, many writers have set out to explain the victory. Specifically, they maintain that this country will longer surrender to the ideas of those who’ve governed it for so long: conservative white men who fear and/or disrespect women, minorities, the working-class, the LGBTQQIA community, the poor, immigrants, non-Christians, and atheists. No, a chunk of America, it seems, has had enough of such patriarchal, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic, and prejudiced ways of thinking and governing.

Granted, there’s still a way to go and there are certainly other explanations for Obama’s win; but in the meantime, here are some of the most revealing thoughts from the aforementioned journalists, bloggers, and the like:

Welcome to the Future

The brown people and the black people and the women handed the white men’s asses to them as unsentimentally as white men have bought and sold and manipulated America for centuries now. Welcome to the future. — “Dying of the White: Requiem for the 2012 Election,” Cord Jefferson

Going, Going, Gone

Today, Obama is still the president, thanks to being the choice of an overwhelming margin of women, after (for the most part) not backing down, or away from, reproductive rights and women’s autonomy. A dazzling change achieved last night after years of hard work is the unprecedented wave of women elected to office, many of whom, like Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin, are strikingly progressive. Instead of projecting words asserting women’s rights outside the Capitol, these women will be asserting them inside. It appears there could even be 20 women senators.

Today, Akin is gone. Mourdock is gone. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., who said an abortion could never save a woman’s life, is gone. Tom Smith, who said that his daughter having a child out of wedlock was as bad as if she’d been raped, is gone. Republican women who were variously wielded as proof against the party’s misogyny, including Michele Bachmann (who narrowly held on to her seat) and Mia Love, mostly did not do well. Their recent foremothers, Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, are mostly forgotten. — “Still Want to Fight a War on Women?” Irin Carmon

Behold the New Jerusalem

This may be the last election in which anyone but a fool tries to play — on a national level, at least — the cards of racial exclusion, of immigrant fear, of the patronization of women and hegemony over their bodies, of self-righteous discrimination against homosexuals. […]

A man of color is president for the second time, and this happened despite a struggling economic climate and a national spirit of general discontent. He has been returned to office over the specific objections of the mass of white men. He has instead been re-elected by women, by people of color, by homosexuals, by people of varying religions or no religion whatsoever. Behold the New Jerusalem. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a white man, of course. There’s nothing wrong with being anything. That’s the point.” Barack Obama and the Death of Normal,” David Simon

We’re Growing

Women are people. Latino Americans are people. Asian Americans are people. Lesbians are people. Gays are people. Bisexuals are people. Transgendered are people. African-Americans are people. This broad coalition reflecting the America that was always here, rendered invisible by a majority older white male demographic in so many previous election cycles, buckling to reality that we’re not going anywhere. We’re growing. — “It’s Not a Traditional American Anymore,” Feministing

White “Identity” Politics

Conservatives are creating their own electoral enemies. The beating heart of modern conservatism is its visceral appeal to anxieties and fears of white Christians. This is a different statement than saying the beating heart of modern conservatism is white racism or white supremacy. It’s not, or not principally. It is simply white “identity” politics, with all of the pathos and ugliness that implies. — “White identity politics doomed 2012 Republican effort,” Chris Hayes

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PhD. Film, Shakespeare, TV. Child of pop culture. Advocate of social media. Gene Kelly junkie. Co-editor of Locating Shakespeare in the Twenty-First Century. DePaul University.
  • Kelli Marshall (@KelliMarshall)

    Brief round-up of commentary on Obama’s reelection and the gradual demise of white hegemony:

  • @notjustmovies

    Nice roundup by @KelliMarshall of articles about what the election means for new demographics:

  • film doctor (@filmdrblog)

    RT @notjustmovies: Nice roundup by @KelliMarshall of articles about what the election means for new demographics: