Articulate While Black

Articulate While Black Cover

Articulate While Black

Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S.

By H. Samy Alim; Geneva Smitherman; Michael Eric Dyson (Foreword by)

Oxford University Press, USA, Paperback, 9780199812981, 205pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2012

Description
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.


About the Author


Geneva Smitherman is University Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the African American Language and Literacy Program at Michigan State University. The author of BLACK TALK: WORDS AND PHRASES FROM THE HOOD TO THE AMEN CORNER and TALKIN THAT TALK: LANGUAGE, CULTURE AND EDUCATION IN AFRICAN AMERICA and the editor of AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN SPEAK OUT ON ANITA HILL-CLARENCE THOMAS, she also directs the My Brother's Keeper Program in Detroit.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON is a New York Times op-ed contributor, a Georgetown University professor, an MSNBC political analyst, and best-selling author of seventeen books, including the American Book Award-winningCome Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster.He lives in Washington, D.C.