A Qualitative Analysis of the Deracialization of the African American Candidate: A Critical Race Theory Perspective

Chaniqua D. Nelson


In Mack Jones’s A Note From A Black Political Scientist, he states that “members of an oppressed minority almost all of whom depend upon their oppressor either directly or indirectly for their wherewithal to survive find it extremely difficult to analyze their predicament and develop strategies for liberation unencumbered by undue deference to sensitivities of the oppressor. This dependent relationship seems to blur the distinction between the selfinterest of the oppressor and the oppressed (1971).” When analyzing the concept of deracialization, the candidate being deracialized, in order to win a particular political office, submits to the will of the oppressor or the politically powerful by foregoing his/her identity and subscribing to another. This has been the case with prominent African American candidates including, but not limited to, Harvey Johnson, Andrew Young, L. Douglass Wilder, and recently Barack Obama. This paper hypothesizes that a Critical Race and Africana approach to exploring deracialization will yield evidence to show that deracialization is a racist concept, employing that African American candidates must transcend race in order to be elected and maintain office politically. Employing the Critical Race Theory and Africana perspective delineated from literature on the deracialization of African American candidates, this paper tests the tenability of these propositions by utilizing qualitative data systematically collected from primary and secondary sources by using the document analysis technique, augmented by expert interviews. The findings from the data analysis suggest that many African Americans utilize deracialized political platforms and strategies to win political office.


Critical Race Theory, Africana, Deracialization, African American Candidates

Full Text:  Subscribers Only


  • There are currently no refbacks.

The Proceedings is produced as a service of UNC Asheville.