Honestly, I find notions such as ‘transcending race’ and ‘post-racial politics’ not only nonsensical but rather troubling. Although people use the terms as though they are a cause for celebration, when you read between the lines you find that they actually carry with them inherently racist ideas.
Let me break it down:
1) The dictionary definition of the word ‘transcend’ is ‘to rise above or go beyond; exceed; to outdo in excellence’.
2) The idea that one should ‘transcend race’ suggests that race (in this particular case, being black) is a hindrance that needs to be overcome before success can be achieved.
3) The inference, therefore, is that ordinarily Obama’s race would be a problem. However, apparently he has been evelated by his education, intelligence, articulate manner and charm – all of which according to this question shouldn’t really be associated with being black – where his race is no longer seen as a challenge.
4) The question ‘has Obama transcended race?’ suggests that it is because Obama has overcome the limitations of being black that people (white people) like him.
5) This question carries with it an inherent notion that being black is in itself problematic and, dare I say, an obstacle to success. If that was not the case, why would Obama be seen to have ‘transcended race’ just because he is a black man who is well liked?
Do you get my drift?
There is nothing for Obama to ‘transcend’. He’s a black man AND he is educated, intelligent, articulate and charming. Simple.
Obama & The Hidden Black Man