Speaking in Code

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Contessa_Sharra, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Contessa_Sharra
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    Contessa_Sharra Searcher for Accuracy

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    This is a great piece that may help to clear things up for some people......

    Code Black

    Of course Obama talks differently to different groups. So do most politicians.

    By Christopher Beam

    Posted Monday, Jan. 11, 2010, at 6:33 PM ET

    Harry Reid's comment that Barack Obama could get elected because he was a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," may not have been artfully put. But subtract the poor choice of words—Negro sounds more fuddy-duddy than racist—and the statement, reported in the book [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061733636?ie=UTF8&tag=slatmaga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0061733636"]Game Change[/ame], is fairly uncontroversial. Not only is it undeniable that Obama's skin tone and way of speaking [ame="http://www.theroot.com/views/was-harry-reid-right"]had something to do with his election[/ame]. Reid was praising Obama for one of the oldest political skills there is: the ability to adjust one's speech, and one's mannerisms, to different audiences.

    Obama's knack for tweaking how he talks—or code-switching, in linguistics terminology—was on display during the campaign and after. At fundraisers in New York, he'd put on his professorial lilt. In front of mostly black audiences in South Carolina, he'd warn them against believing rumors that he was a Muslim. "They try to bamboozle you, hoodwink you," he said, in a deliberate homage to Malcolm X. On the Ellen show, he won the week by doing a harmless dance that drove the mostly white audience crazy. After a particularly rough debate in North Carolina, he referenced Jay-Z by brushing dirt off his shoulders and got a standing ovation. In an interview with Steve Kroft, he talked about college football and getting a dog. In an interview with MTV's Sway, he complimented his interviewer—"You look tight"—and emphasized his policy position that "brothers should pull up their pants."

    Obama's code-switching isn't limited to style. The substance of what he says changes, too. In front of a Wall Street audience in September 2009, he politely but firmly cautioned against dangerous credit-default swaps. On 60 Minutes three months later, he excoriated "fat cat bankers"—something he probably wouldn't have said to their faces. The practice famously got him into trouble during the campaign when he told an audience at a San Francisco fundraiser that in small-town Pennsylvania, some people "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." No doubt he would have phrased the sentiment differently in small-town Pennsylvania.

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  2. Yurt
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    Yurt Gold Member

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    how strange that no one (none that i recall) on the left came to rush's or chip saltsman's defense when they parodied with a song titled barack the magic negro

    have an old white guy who is a democratic leader say negro and boy oh boy does the left and media pull out all stops to defend him...
     
  3. Samson
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    Samson Póg Mo Thóin Supporting Member

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    No one but whites give a shit.
     
  4. Contessa_Sharra
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    Contessa_Sharra Searcher for Accuracy

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    About what Rush says? I guess maybe many don't.

    I generally ignore most things about him, figure he is a rather bitter man possibly as a result of relationship issues, and that as a "third" R.H.L III, is the last of his direct line, he seems to have not reproduced, other than ditto-heads.

    He is not someone who really has much importance in the long run....


    The whole Reid thing is funnier to me, as among my close-in multi-hued family we dicussed just this thing, and how, exactly, race would figure in, and also how the "son of an African" thing would come into it, and all in all, on this issue, what a very interesting election cycle it was....

    At the time, I also predicted that this would follow the pattern set on the vote, that a Black male would precede a woman, just as African American males got the vote (sorta) before women did.....

    So far we are batting a thousand!
     

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