I met an older African-American man who told me, almost in passing, that the election of Barack Obama as president made him reconsider his hyphen. He said that although he had been identifying himself as African-American for years, he now was going to drop the hyphen and get rid of the qualifier. From now on, he would simply describe himself as "American."
He said he never believed so many white people would vote for a black man for president. Exit polls showed that Obama won 44 percent of the white vote, more than Democrats John Kerry, Al Gore or Bill Clinton received in their presidential bids. So Obama, who also received an overwhelming percentage of the black vote, as well as large chunks of the Hispanic and Asian votes, won with a true rainbow coalition.