Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S.

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OUP USA, Oct 11, 2012 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 205 pages
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Barack Obama is widely considered one of the most powerful and charismatic speakers of our age. Without missing a beat, he often moves between Washington insider talk and culturally Black ways of speaking--as shown in a famous YouTube clip, where Obama declined the change offered to him by a Black cashier in a Washington, D.C. restaurant with the phrase, "Nah, we straight." In Articulate While Black, two renowned scholars of Black Language address language and racial politics in the U.S. through an insightful examination of President Barack Obama's language use--and America's response to it. In this eloquently written and powerfully argued book, H. Samy Alim and Geneva Smitherman provide new insights about President Obama and the relationship between language and race in contemporary society. Throughout, they analyze several racially loaded, cultural-linguistic controversies involving the President--from his use of Black Language and his "articulateness" to his "Race Speech," the so-called "fist-bump," and his relationship to Hip Hop Culture. Using their analysis of Barack Obama as a point of departure, Alim and Smitherman reveal how major debates about language, race, and educational inequality erupt into moments of racial crisis in America. In challenging American ideas about language, race, education, and power, they help take the national dialogue on race to the next level. In much the same way that Cornel West revealed nearly two decades ago that "race matters," Alim and Smitherman in this groundbreaking book show how deeply "language matters" to the national conversation on race--and in our daily lives.
 

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,,,Oh there is power in the word....
Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S. is an important work for today's understanding of the challenges that African Americans
must face in a multi-leveled English speaking society.
Every day Africans in America must protect our citizenship and our culture.
I remember, back in the day, when leading the Advance Team for the late Ald. Marian Humes, (D-Chgo) a then candidate and community organizer, Barack (Berry) Obama checked in our campaign mobile camper and hollered about his intentions to be a US Congressman. We connected because he kept the conversation real.
Articulate While Black.... is a well writen insite into how President Obama used his skills to connect with a nation with-in a nation. I connected with the meaning of "...naw we srtaight..." he used to talk to the people.
Obama shows his "flexible iinquistic abilities as he united " standard English mastery with hood speak. He bridged the gap with white America by linking the intellectual of Black Scholar with Progressive White Christian Americans.
This work examined in detail how President Obama uses his story telling skills to connect with and influence an audience. In "dicourse mode and linquistic form of "The Black Preacher",he shows is skills inform and involve the public while holding the interest of the media and analysts.
'Articulating While Black...",is a must read work for anyone understanding the power of the word and it's importance in our lives.
i
 

Contents

Black Language and Americas First Black President
1
Language and Racial Politics in the United States
31
The Race Speech and Obamas Rhetorical Remix
64
How Black Communication Becomes Controversial
94
Hip Hop Race and the Culture Wars
130
Language Education and the Cruel Fallout of Racism
167
Index
199
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About the author (2012)


H. Samy Alim is Associate Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Anthropology and Linguistics at Stanford University, where he directs the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Language (CREAL) and the Institute for Diversity in the Arts (IDA). Some of his most recent books include You Know My Steez, Roc the Mic Right, Talkin Black Talk, and Global Linguistic Flows. He has also written for various media outlets, including The New York Times, Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo), and The Philadelphia New Observer, among others.

Geneva Smitherman is University Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, Co-Founder and Core Faculty, African American and African Studies, and Core Faculty, African Studies Center, at Michigan State University. She is a pioneering scholar-activist in the struggle for language rights and for Black Studies. Her list of books includes Talkin and Testifyin, Discourse and Discrimination, Black Talk, Talkin That Talk, Language Diversity in the Classroom, and Word from the Mother.

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