Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Racial Politics of Speaking Well

A very interesting article on why Biden's use of the word "articulate" was so offensive.  I share the author's feelings and thinks she makes very good points:

With the ballooning size of the black middle and upper class, qualities in blacks like intelligence, eloquence -- the mere ability to string sentences together with tenses intact -- must at some point become as unremarkable to whites as they are to blacks.

''How many flukes simply constitute reality?'' Mr. Hudlin asked, with amused dismay.


February 4, 2007

The Racial Politics of Speaking Well

SENATOR JOSEPH R. BIDEN'S characterization of his fellow Democratic presidential contender Senator Barack Obama as ''the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy'' was so painfully clumsy that it nearly warranted pity.

There are not enough column inches on this page to parse interpretations of each of Mr. Biden's chosen adjectives. But among his string of loaded words, one is so pervasive -- and is generally used and viewed so differently by blacks and whites -- that it calls out for a national chat, perhaps a national therapy session.

It is amazing that this still requires clarification, but here it is. Black people get a little testy when white people call them ''articulate.''


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