McNair Scholars Research Journal


This is such a historic time in our country's story, due to the reprieve from the usual choice of middle-aged White males in a presidential election. The make-up of candidates' age, race, and sex in the 2008 primaries and general election allowed the unique opportunity for multiple stereotypes to be engaged. This was an exploratory qualitative study, relying on descriptive data, participant observation during the general election campaign, and in-depth interviews (N-8) that happened within six months after the election of Barak H. Obama, first African-American elected president of the United States. The purpose of this study is to examine the influences stereotypes of race had on the 2008 presidential election. My finding was that the preponderance of negative stereotypes in the campaign counter-intuitively catalyzed the positive discussion of race.