However the race for the U.S. presidential nomination is settled, one thing is already here: the campaign between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has changed American politics forever – and brought to light questions that have never been openly discussed at a national – or international – level. In forums as different as internet-based psychological testing, churches and talkshows, Americans have been asking themselves: how racist are we? How sexist are we? Which is worse, which is deeper, which are we less likely to admit? As Obama’s widely praised (and viewed over one million times on Youtube) speech made clear, the discussion ís both passionate and analytical. Completely unclear is the question: how much will the 2008 election depend on questions of race and gender? Will Americans choose John McCain, who represents a continuation of the policies of the Bush administration which the majority have rejected, rather than choose a woman or an African-American?
Participants: Perry Anderson, Los Angeles; Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Atlanta; Diane McWhorter, New York; Walter Benn Michaels, Chicago; Susan Neiman, Potsdam