By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - A black man is returning to the White House.
Four years ago, it was a first, the breaking of a racial barrier. Tuesday night, it was history redux.
In the midst of national splintering and a time of deep ideological animosity, Americans elected President Barack Obama to a second term. And thousands rejoiced in his victory, one that seemed sweeter and, perhaps, more significant.
"This is affirmation that his color doesn't matter and that his message resonated with people," said Yale University sociologist Jeffrey Alexander, author of "Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power."
"It is very important in that it will indicate that an African-American can be viewed for what he says and not what he is."
Had Obama lost the election, he would likely have been remembered in history as the first black president, and maybe little else, Alexander said.
Now, he has a chance to create a legacy rooted not in his identity, but in his ideas.
Hes biracial. Get that through your thick skulls. And I DO mean everyone
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
Send Feedback | Subscribe