A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win
Shelby Steele examines the challenges that Barack Obama must overcome in his bid to become President of the United States in A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win. Having to cater to both black voters and white voters in what binds Obama, and his dilemma is that he achieved visibility more as a racial icon than as an individual. In his analysis, Shelby Steele discusses his own mixed race background, and he empathizes with Obama's inner conflicts even as he critiques him. He also identifies the two 'masks' that blacks wear in order to seek success and power in the American mainstream: bargaining and challenging, and he argues that Obama is too constrained by divisive racial politics to find his own true political voice - and proposes a way for him to break those bonds and find his own voice.
Shelby Steele is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of The Content of Our Character and White Guilt, and a contributing editor at Harper's; his work has also appeared in numerous other magazines and newspapers- Cody's Books
Shelby Steele is the Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He specializes in the study of race relations, multiculturalism, and affirmative action. He was appointed a Hoover fellow in 1994.
Steele has written widely on race in American society and the consequences of contemporary social programs on race relations.
In 2006, Steele received the Bradley Prize for his contributions to the study of race in America. In 2004, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Steele is the author of White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era and most recently A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win.
Shelby Steele identifies the racial transcendence paradox in the Obama campaign having more to do with the white voting base than with Obama himself. Steele asserts that while Barack Obama does not typically address race in his campaign, his candidacy is based entirely on it.