This work examines how Barack Obama’s speeches and remarks used various rhetorical techniques to strategically maneuver his rhetoric to address racial issues and represent African American concerns. The results of a content analysis of a selection of Obama’s speeches and remarks confirm that Obama and his speechwriters favored the use of statements of color-blind universalism. However, when making certain remarks regarding civil rights issues or perceived racial issues, the pattern shifted, presenting a rare glimpse of the unbalanced representation of African American concerns. These findings suggest that Barack Obama’s speeches and remarks performed double-consciousness; they used universal, balanced, and targeted universalism rhetorical techniques as a genuine, congruent political style for representing African American concerns as a “raced” politician.
Transcending the Veil: Barack Obama’s Rhetoric and Strategic Racial Representation
This research was funded by a grant from the University of North Florida.
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Natasha V. Christie, Shannon B. O’brien; Transcending the Veil: Barack Obama’s Rhetoric and Strategic Racial Representation. National Review of Black Politics 13 April 2020; 1 (2): 208–228. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nrbp.2020.1.2.208
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