In this paper, I argue that the sociocultural structuring property of whiteness has been utilized to marginalize President Obama and effectively undermine his presidential authority. Whiteness functions in a largely invisible and ostensibly deracialized way to normalize the interests, needs, and values of whites, while at the same time marginalizing and devaluing the voice of people of color. Analyzing the health care debate through this theoretical lens generates insights into how the debate reproduced the system of racial oppression, and how whiteness functions in political discourse.
David Owen, University of Louisville
David S. Owen is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Diversity Programs for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville. His research interests are mainly in social philosophy, including critical race theory, philosophy of social science, and the Frankfurt School. He has previously published Between Reason and History: Habermas and the Idea of Progress (SUNY, 2002), and is currently working on developing a critical theory of whiteness that will explain the structural and unconscious mechanisms by which racial oppression is reproduced.