One time, I paid $60 to watch Michael Spinks and Mike Tyson duke it out on a big screen in the ballroom of a nearby hotel. It was 1988 and 60 bucks was no small change.

Before I could sit down, Tyson flattened Spinks. The much-hyped contest was over in all of 90 seconds.

Election Night was the same way. If you blinked, you could have missed the whole thing.

I looked up and saw John McCain delivering his concession speech and thought, "What? Already?"

Barack Hussein Obama didn't just defeat McCain to become the first African-American to be elected president of the United States; he crushed him.

Even Florida, land of the infamous hanging chads, delivered its 27 electoral votes to Obama, helping him rack up a whopping 364 to McCain's 174, according to unofficial results.

In his landslide victory, Obama debunked every myth fabricated by the media over the past 20 months to convince people there was no way he would be elected president.

First and foremost was the notion that Obama would never be able to get enough whites to vote for him because he was biracial — the son of a white mother and an African father.

Many whites — especially working-class whites, we were told — were too racist to ever vote for a black man for president.

Yet in soaring to his decisive majority, Obama carried some of the very heartland states pundits said he couldn't win. In the end, the Republican race-baiting strategy failed. The GOP increasingly became identified as a party of religious neocons and angry white men. The self-defeating clannishness of regionalism that gave us eight long, miserable years of George W. Bush bit the dust.

When polls showed Obama leading in the weeks before the election, the same pundits crowed about how Obama could still lose because of the Bradley effect. That is the unproven hypothesis contesting that white voters will lie and say they are voting for a black candidate, then really support a white opponent. Again, because they supposedly hold unfavorable views of blacks, but don't want to appear racist.

Instead, if anything, we may have had a reverse Bradley effect. Obama's support among white voters — across a broad socioeconomic spectrum — was stunning. The coalition that swept Obama to power included some of everyone: whites, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, young, middle-age, old, Jewish. But most of his support came from whites younger than 40 — people who clearly don't view race the same way as their parents or grandparents.

Obama was supposed to be "in trouble" with Latinos because of his liberal views.

Some key pollsters tracking the Latino vote disputed those claims at the time — as did New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Still the drumbeat in the mainstream press continued.

On Election Day, my Mexican-American neighbor who works at a foundry raced past me in his car. When he saw me, he backed up and rolled down his window, "I'm going to vote for Obama," he said, giving me the thumbs-up sign.

So apparently did millions of other Latinos. Obama garnered 66 percent of the Latino vote. Why?

Because people working for his campaign like my friend Hope in Denver knocked on door after door explaining Obama's position on key issues affecting people's lives.

Obama's gains among Latinos in turn helped turn the tide in Colorado, a battleground state.

The fact is, team Obama flipped the script on the entire mainstream press cabal, because he understood that old racial categorizations are obsolete in 21st-century America.

We remain a country with deep racial wounds, but we are not as black-vs.-white polarized as we used to be.

Biracial youths born 18 years ago haven't had the same experience of race as someone my age, or John McCain's age, for that matter. God willing, we are moving toward a society where race will have less and less meaning because we will be such a multiethnic nation.

There is the suggestion in some quarters that since we have our first African-American to be elected president, racism is dead.

It would be great if it were that simple. Yet Obama's win is certainly a giant leap forward.

Drummond is a columnist for the Bay Area News Group-East Bay. Reach her at tdrummond@bayarea newsgroup.com.