IDA Faculty Director H. Samy Alim appeared on MSNBC's "The Cycle" yesterday to discuss President Barack Obama's skill at code-switching, the ability to speak in the manner of the audience he is addressing, whether "Black" or "white" speaking norms. The video, for example, opened with a clip from 2008 of Obama saying to a mixed crowd, "Don't fall for the okey-doke."
Pundits like Rush Limbaugh have attempted to use this against Obama. Alim said, "These ways of speaking almost delegitimize him at every turn...his speech does get racialized as Black." But his ability to code-switch is also the key to Obama's success. "Talking Black actually Americanizes and Christianizes Barack Obama in the eyes of many whites."
View Alim's interview with the panel of "The Cycle" here:
Professor Alim presents his acclaimed new book, "Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language and Race in the United States" next Wednesday, October 17th, at the Brandon Family Committee Room of the Black House. Don't miss this historic event!