January 11, 2010

Obama's accents

The most interesting thing about the incredibly predictable and boring hoo-haw over Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) mentioning that Obama had advantages at getting elected President over other black politicians because he was "light-skinned" (Obama's not particularly fairer than the average African-American, due to his father being what Obama calls an "ink-black Luo," but obviously Reid was referring shorthand to Obama's wholly non-black upbringing) and having "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one" is Reid's acute observation that Obama changes his accent to fit his audience. As I wrote a couple of years ago:
For example, here's a wonderful video of Obama giving a 2007 speech to a conference of black clergy, where he has a much different accent and body language: languid, cocky, florid, and Southern. Here, Obama sounds and looks like the preacher who has the biggest church and the biggest Cadillac in Tupelo, Mississippi. (He does a shout-out to Rev. Wright between 1:00 and 2:00 of the 36:00 video).

I like this alternate persona of Obama's better than the one he usually does on TV. I hope he does his 220 pound Baptist minister who loves his BBQ ribs number for visitors to the White House just to freak them out.

(I wonder what other impressions Obama does? Maybe that's the secret part of Obama's diplomatic strategy of personally meeting with rogue foreign leaders. He'll invite Ahmadinejad to a summit conference, then do Borat the whole time they're negotiating. Or invite the Castro Brothers and do Ricky Ricardo: "Fidel, you got some 'splainin' to do!")


Reid's an older guy, and he got punched in the head a lot when he was a young boxer, so it's hardly surprising that he's not at all times as facile with the latest jargon as the PC Age demands. More fundamentally, Reid's in trouble because he's getting a little too close to the fact that is too embarrassing to say publicly: we elected this lightweight President because people got (briefly) enthused by the idea that he's black by nature but white by nurture.

Look, we make up stupid nature-nurture fantasies about politicians all the time. We elected another lightweight President in 2000 because by nature he comes from the New England Puritan/WASP leadership caste who have been more or less running things since the 1630s but by nurture he's a regular guy. George W. Bush: the best of both!

Fortunately, we're at least allowed to talk about WASPs.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

98 comments:

Dutch Boy said...

Y'all didn't buy that Texas twang? Still figgered they was a Yankee in the woodpile anyhow?

keypusher said...

I think Obama is lighter-skinned than the average American A-A, but more importantly he doesn't have what white Americans tend to think of as classic African physiognomy. I think that was a pretty significant advantage for Obama.

Re your suggested explanation -- particularly at the time Reid was speaking, very few Americans knew anything about Obama's upbringing. I remember being startled when I learned just what a tiny role his father played in his life. I would bet most people still don't know.

Anonymous said...

But, who will have the guts to say Obama REALLY became president because liberal Jewish money and media power backed him 100%?

He is to politics what Will Smith is to Hollywood. A cultural creation of liberal Jewish funders, writers, and managers. Of course, Obama and Smith are clever enough to use those who use them. It's a symbiotic relation between Jews and blacks.

Le Mur said...

Heh - I watched "Zelig" last night.

Helene Edwards said...

What I've yet to hear anyone say is that Reid was factually wrong, at least if he was implying that the characteristics noted were needed to elect a black President. Thomas Sowell, who's darker than Obama and speaks with more of the traditional southern inflection, could have been President in 1996 or 2000 if endless government hadn't been what black voters really wanted.

Anonymous said...

In what actionable sense is Obama more of a lightweight than anyone else who ran for Prez in 2008? What genius solution to the financial meltdown would he be applying right now if he had been elected?

Kris Eric said...

(Obama's not particularly fairer than the average African-American, due to his father being what Obama calls an "ink-black Luo," but obviously Reid was referring shorthand to Obama's wholly non-black upbringing)

Wrong! Finally. Steve, many of the things you write I can't disagree with because they're usually logical interpretations.

You're wrong here because while all black people might be essentially the same shade to you, those with more personal experiences with blacks know that this issue is more complex.

There are studies that have shown that white voters looking at candidates with identical resumes will prefer white over black and a light-skinned black person over a darker skinned black. Probably because whites can identify closer to someone who looks like they're part-white than someone who has come straight out of Kenya.

Most blacks are darker than Obama and often resent light-skinned blacks for the perceived preference they get from white Americans. That said, I think even blacks prefer light-skinned blacks. Think Adrian Fenty.

So there's some internal fighting that you may not have known. But your focus is on the black and white war, not on sectarian violence.

P.S. Reid comment about "light-skinned" has nothing to do with who he was raised by. Think Adrian Fenty.

MarAkin said...

I say, we're allowed to talk about WASPs but not blacks because they were only very recently truly emancipated.

I say, that's okay.

I say, we still have some apologizing and tip-toeing to do.

What says you?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Reid...

When I read he was once a boxer, I was shocked because to me he has always come off as effeminate because of his speaking voice.

Now, now, I can just hear some with the retort, "There's a whole continuum of behavior among straight males, from effeminate to heavy duty masucline so don't go stereotyping gays....." to which I'd yawn, "Yeah, yeah, sure, but the guy's got a really effeminate voice."

And then, I remembered what Mike Tyson sounds like.

couchscientist said...

Accent changing is pandering. See Madona and others who live in England for a while and try to get away with the accent. I believe that it comes from a desperate need to fit in, and or an oversized amount of empathy. Either way, it fits Obama's persona to change his accent for his audience. He goes to the Europeans and tells them how bad we are, he gives money to settle our collective wrongs against the NA's, etc.

Anonymous said...

I think Hilary Clinton tried doing the same thing during her campaign,"talking black" in front of black audiences, until she was derided for it. Didn't she also invent a jewish ancestor some time back to try to appeal to jewish voters? Or claimed to have dodged gunfire at a balkan airport, which turned out not to have happened. Obama also seems quite the chameleon, doesn't he? Or perhaps he's merely a ventriloquist's dummy, with the banks/military-industrial complex supplying the words. Is there a real person at the core of all this, or is it all just a narcissistic drama?

Anonymous said...

I dislike and disagree with your take on Obama's "impressions". Those of us who are personable when interacting with strangers and audiences are truly chameleon-like in terms of what we say and how we sound. That we happen to generally be facile with accents and able to empathise with a wide variety of personality types is beside the point. We don't modify our speech patters as a gimmick, our speech patters betray who we truly ARE at that time.

I have plenty of South African friends whose accents change radically depending on whether they're speaking with fellow South Africans or with North Americans (where they've lived for a dozen years). Similarly, my own accent changes somewhat depending on where I am in the country and if I'm feeling close with my interlocutors there. I imagine that this adequately explains George Bush's Texan twang and Barach Obama's MLK preachin' without having to resort to view them as liars. That they're lying scum is a given based on what they do for a living, their accenting however may be the most honestly human thing about them.

You mentioned in the past being a far better writer than speaker and implied that most people are similar. This may in fact be so, but among personable outgoing folk who are instantly comfortable with strangers, accent-shifting is a sincere reflection of who they are and what they're feeling and not an evil tool used to pull the wool over people's eyes.

mnuez

Anonymous said...

McCain would have been worse. I wish the Evangelical Christians could get over their dislike of Mormons so Romney could be elected.

black shoes said...

"I dislike and disagree with your take on Obama's 'impressions'. Those of us who are personable when interacting with strangers and audiences are truly chameleon-like in terms of what we say and how we sound. That we happen to generally be facile with accents and able to empathise with a wide variety of personality types is beside the point. We don't modify our speech patters as a gimmick, our speech patters betray who we truly ARE at that time."

It's true that people act different in different situations. How one talks and acts depends on with whom: family, friends, workers, bosses, underlings, and etc.

But, there are clearly limits. When Dubya went to Africa and danced like jungle man, we rightfully laughed at his ass.
And, how would it be if Mitt Romney talked black with blacks and talked Mexican-ish with Mexicans? It would be ridiculous.

Now, it may be that some people have traversed across many cultures and developed more than one cultural personality. Many Mexicans are genuinely American with Americans, genuinely Mexican with Mexicans.

BUT, I tend to be wary of politicians who do this. Besides, Obama sold himself as a GENUINE personality who 'transcended' race. So, excuse us if we find something calculating and manipulative about his act. Furthermore, I would argue that he ALWAYS acted black. With blacks, more so, but he even added some black inflections with white audiences because he understood that 'black charisma' is SWPL. White liberals pride themselves on being 'authentic' and prefer a real black guy to someone like Colin Powell. (On the other hand, they prefer a lighter and whiter black guy than the likes of Al Sharpton. I guess TOO MUCH authenticity is, well, too much.)
So, it's not like Obama totally spoke white with whites and totally black with blacks. He talked 80% white/20% black with whites, and 20% white/80% black with blacks. This way, white liberals could flatter themselves that they were not supporting Obama simply because he was a uncle tom Oreo but because he was a REAL black guy. And, Obama's 20% whiteness even among blacks made blacks feel good cuz here was a dude with not only style but class and smarts.

Obama is a natural, but a natural snake and chameleon. His whole shtick is to fool everyone for HIS OWN benefit. And gulliberals like you kiss his ass.

Anonymous said...

I think Hilary Clinton tried doing the same thing during her campaign,"talking black" in front of black audiences, until she was derided for it.

Wrong, that was a fake scandal. She was reading Harriet Tubman and that's how it was supposed to be read.

Whiskey said...

Good point Steve. But recall that the first President was not a New England Puritan, and indeed with the exception of the Adamses, the early Presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe) were from Virginia. WASPs to be sure, but Anglicans or Deists to the Puritan descendants like Adams. Later, we had Jackson and other frontier figures who were Southerners or "near Southerners" (Lincoln was born in Kentucky, Grant in Southern Ohio).

Yes, Bush's "sorta Aristo, sorta regular guy Texan" played better against Al Gore's "All Aristo" presentation.
-----------------
The "genius solution" to the economic melt-down would be four hard politically but very straightforward things:

1. Lower regulations on small-medium sized businesses to stimulate hiring.
2. Lower taxes on small-medium sized business to stimulate hiring.
3. CHEAPER ENERGY to jump-start business.
4. Keynesian pump priming ... in MILITARY SPENDING on: ships, planes, tanks, small arms, and space.

Japan's lost decade of massive infrastructure spending did as much as FDR's. Which was nothing. Meanwhile WWII got us out of the Depression, and Reagan's low taxes/regulations, cheap oil (he leaned on the Saudis), and military spending got him re-elected with about 4.8 million jobs created in 1984 (highest post-War rate/number ever).

This isn't rocket science, everyone knows it, people are just unwilling to pay the price of not looting the treasury for pork-patronage, building a big Navy/Airforce/Army with space stuff, and so on. Building a new bridge means employing a few hundred people for about a year -- a single naval shipyard can employ with multipliers about 100K jobs with mandated US sourcing (steel, etc) for years, at full-run. It is not permanent, of course, but is very good pump priming because the economic effect is bigger.

Anonymous said...

anon said

"But, who will have the guts to say Obama REALLY became president because liberal Jewish money and media power backed him 100%? "

_________

Hmmm... I thought the meme among the Stormfront types here was that Jews were desperate and hungry to start a war with Iran so that american boys could spill blood for the sake of Israel.


The Jews had a perfect chance to get war with Iran. All they had to do was get McCain elected. Boy these Jews that run everything must be pretty dumb to pass up their great chance for war with Iran by electing Obama.

I think the Stormfront crowd that posts here should charge for the entertainment value they provide to the rest of us. This can't get much funnier

wren said...

I put this video in the thread about Mindy Jones and reporters affecting a different accent, but perhaps it belongs here.

Otis the Sweaty said...

Do you really want to credit the Jews with Will Smith? I think Will Smith is great.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Sowell, who's darker than Obama and speaks with more of the traditional southern inflection, could have been President in 1996 or 2000 if endless government hadn't been what black voters really wanted.

Sowell does sound more "traditional," but his accent sounds like a New York or Northeast accent to me.

Anonymous said...

When I read he was once a boxer, I was shocked because to me he has always come off as effeminate because of his speaking voice.

Now, now, I can just hear some with the retort, "There's a whole continuum of behavior among straight males, from effeminate to heavy duty masucline so don't go stereotyping gays....." to which I'd yawn, "Yeah, yeah, sure, but the guy's got a really effeminate voice."

And then, I remembered what Mike Tyson sounds like.


Don't forget Oscar de la Hoya. He has an effeminate voice as well.

Anonymous said...

"Thomas Sowell, who's darker than Obama and speaks with more of the traditional southern inflection, could have been President in 1996 or 2000 if endless government hadn't been what black voters really wanted."


Huh? Sowell does NOT speak with a "traditional southern inflection" or accent--at all. The average person listening to that rich voice would not be able to detect a "southern inflection."

Anonymous said...

"Accent changing is pandering."

Remember Hilary doing her MLK imitation?

Anonymous said...

"I say, we're allowed to talk about WASPs but not blacks because they were only very recently truly emancipated.

I say, that's okay.

I say, we still have some apologizing and tip-toeing to do.

What says you?"

I say you're trolling.

I say that, considering that
40 + years have passed since civil rights legislation and many trillions of dollars
have been spent on gov't programs, since the black family is WORSE off
by virtually every measure, whether it be incarceration rates, drug use, out-of-wedlock births, lack of father in the home, etc., as compared to the '50s, any more tiptoeing and apologizing is
exactly what we should NOT be doing.

Svigor said...

I say, we're allowed to talk about WASPs but not blacks because they were only very recently truly emancipated.

I say, that's okay.

I say, we still have some apologizing and tip-toeing to do.

What says you?


Nah. We're the best thing to ever happen to them. We get to talk openly.

Concerned Netizen said...

"I like this alternate persona of Obama's better than the one he usually does on TV."

You do? I hate it.

"Thomas Sowell, who's darker than Obama and speaks with more of the traditional southern inflection,"

YOu must be deaf. Sowell hasn't a trace of a Southern inflection. He has a thick New Yawk City accent.

"black by nature...."

What does THAT mean? His 220 pound Southern black southern preacher routine is a cultural adaptation of West African blacks to Southern life. Look at T.D. Jakes, whose genes say that he is an Ibo. And he looks it!

Obama's African background is East African. And he looks it, albeit 10 shades lighter.

Paleo Truth Squad said...

"I say, we still have some apologizing and tip-toeing to do.

What says you?"

You can have my share.

Dennis Dale said...

Bill Clinton's Southern-Baptist shtick, trundled out for black crowds, sounded more authentic. But then it was more authentic.

Christopher Paul said...

The term you're all looking for is code-switching.

Bill Clinton can do it, George W. Bush can do it, Al Gore can do it.

Obama's efforts, to me, sound strained.

kudzu bob said...

I had a college girlfriend, A., whose parents grew up dirt-poor in Appalachia, although they were smart and ambitious people who went on to do quite well for themselves. At school, A.—who possessed a Mensa-level IQ--spoke with a very subdued accent. But whenever we went to visit her folks her drawl would intensify to a degree that astonished me. The one time that I asked her about it she professed to have no idea what I was talking about. I wisely dropped the matter, figuring that one or another of those accents was a form of protective coloration.

Not manhy years later she died quite unexpectedly, and left the bulk of her sizable estate to a charity for poor Appalachian kids. Only then did I realize which of her accents was the most truly genuine.

Feminine said...

Mnuez is right. Very social people are very adaptable and we (often) naturally pick up accents when we're exposed to new environments. I lived in England for two years and never innately picked up the accent. After one week in Cork I had a semi-Irish accent. So it seems very plausible that Obama, who had long identified with American blacks, naturally picked up that accent. I don't buy it in Hillary one bit.

Truth said...

"At school, A.—who possessed a Mensa-level IQ-"

Now there's a shocker Bobby; let me guess, she looked like Scarlet Johannson too.

(I'm just playin' with ya Bud, it's no fun picking on Whiskey any more, I think even his own dog bites him.)

OneSTDV said...

Why does the HBDosphere hate Will Smith so much? For some reason his name gets mentioned all the time.

Anonymous said...

When the White House pet arrived...he called it the new 'puppeh'.

Very irritating.

Uncle Peregrine said...

I wonder if "negro dialect" was a set phrase that Reid would have used in a high school or college American literature class, something along the lines of "negro spiritual". It seems much less likely he would use "negro" to refer to a person.

Anonymous said...

"Mnuez is right. Very social people are very adaptable and we (often) naturally pick up accents when we're exposed to new environments."

Not just with accents, but extroverts tend to learn languages faster than introverts, for obvious reasons.

I agree with the other posters who do not see anything particularly "sinister" behind Obama's code-switching. I do it all the time myself.

Anonymous said...

"But, who will have the guts to say Obama REALLY became president because liberal Jewish money and media power backed him 100%?"



That's a good parody.

girl of the harbor said...

"Do you really want to credit the Jews with Will Smith? I think Will Smith is great."

Will Smith is a glib, slick, and narcissistic black guy tailored to appeal to white teen masses. And yes, he is the creation of Hollywood calculation, the so-called 'cross-over negro'.

kudzu bob said...

Stay classy, Twoof.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

Affecting someones speech (or mannerisms) is absolutely offensive. People who engage is "code-switching" are pieces of sh$t.

Anonymous said...

"Why does the HBDosphere hate Will Smith so much? For some reason his name gets mentioned all the time."

I have noticed the same thing and I am not sure to be honest.

Maybe it is because he is black and super-successful and they are envious, or maybe it has something to do with getting admitted to MIT, and not attending?

"While it is widely reported that Smith turned down a scholarship to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he never applied to MIT,[8] although he was admitted to a "pre-engineering program" there.[9] According to Smith, "My mother, who worked for the School Board of Philadelphia, had a friend who was the admissions officer at MIT. I had pretty high SAT scores and they needed black kids, so I probably could have gotten in. But I had no intention of going to college."[10]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Smith

http://usjamerica.wordpress.com/2007/12/27/true-fact-will-smith-was-accepted-to-mit/

The part I italicized really hit me since it confirms a quasi-pattern I've been noticing when it comes to both blacks and women(as well as some intelligent white men) of all races. Basically, it's that if a black or a woman is intelligent enough and meets all the requirements and has the right degrees(let's assume without affirmative action)to do intellectually demanding work, they usually seek out something entirely different that is often less intellectually demanding.

I've noticed this among some female friends and acquaintances who have engineering or advanced science degrees yet absolutely hate any work involving this specialized knowledge. I see no reason why they couldn't succeed as electrical engineers, or physicists. Instead what they do is seek out work as artists(fashion designers, graphic designers, art teachers, etc), entertainers or basically work that involves more socialization and "self-expression". Women with business degrees are often the same way.

I've noticed much the same thing among some highly intelligent blacks I've known. I suppose this even relates to the "shortage" of black and Latino firefighters around the U.S. Those who are qualified(a small number due to HBD) prefer finding other types of work; those who are drawn to it tend to not be qualified.

I'm surprised this phenomenon doesn't have a name yet, although I am sure a lot of you know what I am talking about. I believe it relates to how different the female brain is from the male brain.

This ultimately transcends race and gender, as even Steve Sailer seems to prefer writing about the issues he cares about to his old marketing research career. It's an interesting problem when a person can be intellectually qualified for a certain career, yet lack the temperament for it.

Truth said...

"Nah. We're the best thing to ever happen to them. We get to talk openly"

"We?"

What the hell have you done for anyone except give a Mexican a 78 cent tip for washing your Saab?

Testio said...

This isn't rocket science, everyone knows it, people are just unwilling to pay the price of not looting the treasury for pork-patronage, building a big Navy/Airforce/Army with space stuff, and so on. Building a new bridge means employing a few hundred people for about a year -- a single naval shipyard can employ with multipliers about 100K jobs with mandated US sourcing (steel, etc) for years, at full-run. It is not permanent, of course, but is very good pump priming because the economic effect is bigger.

Tack economics as yet another topic about which Whiskey knows nothing about yet glibly bloviates about.

Unless you plan on exporting all that military hardware output to countries that have the capacity to demand and absorb it (i.e. countries with large reserves i.e. countries that Whiskey doesn't like i.e. basically every country except for Israel), you're just going to end up with a bunch of inflation and a bunch of military hardware that is of marginal use in pursuing that favorite pastime of yours, killing Arabs/Muslims and trying to vanquish them in a 4th Gen., asymmetrical conflict.

And no, some sort of super technology is not going to necessarily magically arise out of this military Keynesianism you're proposing. Judging from your track record, I have the feeling that you don't know anything about technology.

Anonymous said...

I fell over laughing again about the "white supremacists" who come here to incessantly blog about how AIPAC put Obama in to power.

I sure wish I lived in the fantasy universe constructed by the toothless friendless maladjusted "majority rights" crowd. Sounds like a much more magical place than the grim reality we are living in.

Let's! said...

"We elected another lightweight President in 2000 because by nature he comes from the New England Puritan/WASP leadership caste who have been more or less running things since the 1630s but by nurture he's a regular guy."

Did Howard Zinn guest-blog that last graf?

The only "leadership caste" President other than the Bushes over the last 60 years was JFK, hardly a Puritan.

(Though a Google search does reveal several un-ironic imprecations against "puritanical Catholics"!)

Kylie said...

mnuez said: "I dislike and disagree with your take on Obama's 'impressions'. Those of us who are personable when interacting with strangers and audiences are truly chameleon-like in terms of what we say and how we sound."

I'm one of those chameleon-like people whose accent tends to come and go and I strongly disagree with your take on Obama's "impressions".
You're talking about a manner of speaking and behaving that becomes more or less pronounced, depending on one's companions--a question of degree. Obama turns his on and off--a question of type. I think that makes him less a chameleon and more a poseur.

mnuez said: "That we happen to generally be facile with accents and able to empathise with a wide variety of personality types is beside the point."

No, I think it's germane. You may be able to empathize with a variety of personality types but I have not seen that ability in Obama. His remarks about whites like "typical white person", "clinging" to guns, religion and bitterness indicate little if any ability to empathize with, say, his own white grandmother or working-class whites. For all his talk about dialogue and reaching out, he seems to have a tin ear when it comes to talking to or about certain demographics. That's part of the reason I think his switching is so phony.

mnuez said: "We don't modify our speech patters as a gimmick, our speech patters betray who we truly ARE at that time."

I'm very much of the opinion that Obama modifies his speech patterns as a deliberate gimmick. The first time I ever heard his voice, when he spoke at the 2004 Dem convention, I listened to him droppin' those g's and declaiming in that black preacher sing-song, I knew he deliberately trying to come across to his audience of blacks and white liberals as authentically black. He didn't have to worry about sounding too black for whites because he naturally lacks that thickness in his voice that blacks like Sharpton and Jackson have. My accent tends to come and go in terms of cadence but I never lose it completely in terms of pronunciation. There are times when Obama just doesn't sound [stereo]typically black at all--not in his word choice, cadence or pronunciation.

mnuez said: "...among personable outgoing folk who are instantly comfortable with strangers, accent-shifting is a sincere reflection of who they are and what they're feeling and not an evil tool used to pull the wool over people's eyes."

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

"Don't forget Oscar de la Hoya. He has an effeminate voice as well."

You're right. Never thought of it. What's going on?

kudzu bob said...

True, Whiskey doesn't know very much, but I find his posts useful nonetheless. I merely have to adopt a stance diametrically oppposed to whatever boneheaded position he puts forth on a given topic and thereby have a strong chance of being right, all without having to go to the trouble of doing any actual research. It saves me a great deal of time.

I wish he offered investment tips. I'd die a rich, rich man.

PS. James Cameron says that there'll be a sequel to the allegedly money-losing Avatar, genius.

Anonymous said...

OT. Uh-oh, marriage and fertility rates will sink further--especially among white and Asian geeks--if this trend continues.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/01/11/worlds-life-size-robot-girlfriend/?test=faces

Winston Smith said...

"And, how would it be if Mitt Romney talked black with blacks and talked Mexican-ish with Mexicans? It would be ridiculous."

Yes, it would be.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDwwAaVmnf4

OneSTDV said...

"Will Smith is a glib, slick, and narcissistic black guy tailored to appeal to white teen masses. And yes, he is the creation of Hollywood calculation, the so-called 'cross-over negro'."

Really? I've always found him humble and palatable. Is he "white? Sure, but why is that a bad thing again? Don't we want blacks to act more "white"?

It's funny that the HBDosphere takes one of the few down to earth black guys who doesn't harbor a hatred of white people and casts him as some horrible person.

Anonymous said...

Reply to TRUTH:

What exactly is your problem?

OhioStater said...

Well Will Smith seems like a decent guy. America would have far fewer problems if all of black America was like Will Smith.

Anonymous said...

Huh. Personally, I find code-switching pretty cool. Then again I like the negro dialect too.

If authenticity is the issue, I thought Bush's country-fied twang was way more fake.

Anonymous said...

The Obama video Steve linked is quite funny.


Its universally humorous to see a person imitate another person's delivery, speech, dialect, and mannerisms, ESPECIALLLY if they are of a different race.

Robin Williams has made a career of this, and Rich Whateverhisnamewas did it even better back in Johnny Carson's day.



I heard Michael Savage emulate Fred Thompson (who really does have a pretty good radio show, because he knows what he is talking about) once, the Brooklyn-Jewish Savage throwing his voice, slowing it down, elongating his vowels was very funny.


Seeing Barack Obama, who usually does "white G-8 super-slick politician" throw down and do a pseudo-southern Al Sharpton is funny for the same reasons that watching a white kid who thinks he's a black gangbanger trying to rap is funny. Remember that song, "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" a few years back and the rib-tickling video?

Anonymous said...

Accent changing is pandering. See Madona and others who live in England for a while and try to get away with the accent.

To be fair its hard to maintain your own accent when constantly surrounded by others.

Watching the Osbourne it was interesting to note that Kelly & Jack's accents shifted about between American and British. When Kelly has been on British TV she sounds pretty well English. Its partly deliberate I'm sure but partly unconscious and therefore not really pandering.

Anonymous said...

Im in England, I used to know guy from Glasgow (in Scotland), unmistakeable accent. He said that when he went back to Glasgow his family and friends would joke about how English he sounded (he'd lived down south for years). But after a few days or weeks in Glasgow his old accent would come back in force. Then back down south his English friends would joke about how Scottish he was sounding again.

He himself professed to being quite unawre of the process, that, to himself he sounded the same all the time.

Peter A said...

"The only "leadership caste" President other than the Bushes over the last 60 years was JFK, hardly a Puritan."

What are you talking about? JFK was the son of an Irish gangster and rum-runner. He was one of the upstarts who helped destroy WASP power in Massachusetts. If Kennedy seemed like "leadership caste" to people outside New England, then you're the idiots, sorry.

FDR was the last real American aristocrat elected until Bush. Al Gore probably had the best pedigree of any candidate - the Gore family has been prominent in the US since the 1700s and has always been less Tory and more patriotic than the Bush clan. Ironically, in an America with less immigration maybe Gore would have gotten elected.

airtommy said...

Japan's lost decade of massive infrastructure spending did as much as FDR's. Which was nothing.

It did nothing for the elites, while it eased the suffering of the non-elites. To some people that matters.

airtommy said...

"Will Smith is a glib, slick, and narcissistic black guy tailored to appeal to white teen masses. And yes, he is the creation of Hollywood calculation, the so-called 'cross-over negro'."

Really? I've always found him humble and palatable. Is he "white? Sure, but why is that a bad thing again? Don't we want blacks to act more "white"?


It sounds like you never watched Will Smith's TV show "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air". The message of the the show, as transmitted through the two main characters Will and Carlton, was that blacks who find themselves with an invitation to wealthy society should NOT assimilate. They should continue to speak with a negro dialect and disobey the rules of society. In other words, the message was "don't act white" under any circumstances.

This TV show was created and written by Andy Borowitz, who by pure coincidence is Jewish.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised no one has mentioned Obama's "upspeak". I find it annoying, probably because I don't understand what he is trying to convey when he uses it (which is often).

bjdouble said...

I was in the presence of a senior House Democrat a few months ago who said the same thing as Reid, just not as diplomatically. What happens to the Democrats when they lose the
white, working-class politicians? There is no next generation of Tip O'Neills, instead you get Martha Coakley and Ed Markey.

Anonymous said...

Will Smith is ok with me. He seems like a nice, happy-go-lucky family guy. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is probably the only black sitcom I've been able to watch since the Cosby Show. It's pretty funny.

And wouldn't we prefer Will Smith as the the go-to "crossover black guy" instead of, say, 50 Cent? I would think HBDers would save their vitriol for people who reflect the actual social pathologies they observe. Attacking Will Smith for being a part of some kind of secret dastardly Hollywood plan is descending into paranoia. The guy is funny, reasonably smart, and charismatic, thus he is successful. And it's not like there aren't plenty of white Hollywood creations.

Baloo said...

Most code-switching, as I understand it, is completely unconscious. McWhorter is useful to read on the subject.

David said...

> I fell over laughing again about the "white supremacists" who come here to incessantly blog about how AIPAC put Obama in to power. <

You mean the Pritzkers. Someone else will have to link to the rest of BO's little helpers from way back until today. He is a classic manufactured personality, like MLK under Stanley Levinson. "White supremacists" - nice troll term.

David said...

Palatable?

dearieme said...

Accent-swapping is just one of the many ways in which O resembles Tony Blair. Unfortunately Mr Blair has "the morals of a whore and the manners of a dancing master", to quote Dr Johnson.

OhioStater said...

Well what both men said was true to the ears of many white Americans and we need to acknowledge that.

Trent Lott basically said he misses the America of the 50s and 60s (Mad Men America), and a Strom presidency would have fought harder to preserve that lifestyle.

Harry Reid said Obama was elected because he seems American, or as mainstream as a black man can be.

Accent is very important in the Anglosphere (all important in England) as a class indicator, so Harry's comment implies that in addition to skin color black Americans are second rate in culture and social class.

Accent is related to culture, so Harry is basically saying blacks need to shed their culture to enter mainstream white America. This is true with the exception of entertainers and athletes.

But Harry at least leaves open the possibility that blacks can enter parts of white society, as Barack Obama has done.

However, many blacks don't choose to assimilate, and most blacks aren't successful enough to crack through into white America. That said, for every winner like Obama, there are dozens of other awkward situations, and difficult situations when whites and blacks live and work with each other.

My opinion is I would like to see all Americans, black, yellow, and white live in white picket fences, eat apple pie, have a stay at home mom, and drive Chevrolets. That's the life I want and I don't want to see it taken from anyone.

I think diversity is a good way to increase productivity since it leads to sharper division of labor, but Trent is right that something was lost in the last 40 or 50 years. I don't know if that something was lost externally via trade, or internally in the culture wars.

But both men are right to a degree. It's only a gaffe if you tell the truth.

Anonymous said...

Kylie said:

--His remarks about whites like "typical white person", "clinging" to guns, religion and bitterness indicate little if any ability to empathize with, say, his own white grandmother or working-class whites.--

He didn't just say "bitterness," he accused working-class whites of racism and false consciousness. For some reason the "antipathy to [basically non-white, non-Americans" (or whatever the construction) part of the quote always gets cut off. I think it was the most offensive part of the statement. In any case, he WAS sympathetic to "gramp's disappointmens," which I think had something to do with never getting enough sleep despite never having a job.

JohnS

Dutch Boy said...

The poster boy for musclebound bodies and effeminate voices: Barry Bonds (hands down)! I didn't know the cream and the clear could shrink one's vocal cords.

Justin said...

"I wish the Evangelical Christians could get over their dislike of Mormons so Romney could be elected."

I wish Mormons could get over their dislike of Baptists so Huckabee could be elected.

Who's really at fault for McCain? Baptists? Or Mormons?

One thing is for certain: Huckabee would be the President of the Confederate States today, and Romney would be the President of the Rocky States Union.

But back in the USA, we have BHO.

Svigor said...

What the hell have you done for anyone except give a Mexican a 78 cent tip for washing your Saab?

Do try to follow the conversation. The question was predicated on the assumption of inherited racial responsibility, as was my answer. (And if the assumption is removed, the answer remains the same; we still get to speak freely)

Anonymous said...

"It's funny that the HBDosphere takes one of the few down to earth black guys who doesn't harbor a hatred of white people and casts him as some horrible person."

LOL.... there is no such thing as as "unified" HBDosphere. Even with your Will Smith example in this discussion - there are more people defending him than attacking him. But don't let that get in the way of your excellent HBDosphere crowd analysis.

The anti-antis in these discusssions are so predictably boring. They already have the mainstream, does their need for domination extend to everything else too? Rhetorical question....

WASP-Harvard-Mafia said...

"Fortunately, we're at least allowed to talk about WASPs."

Somebody mention WASP's???

CJ said...

Thomas Sowell has never displayed any political aspirations. His entire career, after a short period as a government economist, has been writing and teaching. The posters above must surely have been thinking of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Anonymous said...

When I was growing up I played aau basketball year around and spent A LOT of time in the company of blacks. For a period I was the only white guy on the team. I started talking with an accent when I was around them less out of a desire to impress them than a fear that they would resent me if I made my whiteness audible. I didn't really care about being liked by the black players and I knew I sounded ridiculous with the accent. In the depths of my psyche there was though this fear that being resented by them might lead to being attacked by them. I think Obama is the same way. The people he cares about impressing are not down-home blacks who he knows would vote for him if he sounded like Mike Tyson. He knows he sounds a little ridiculous feigning the accent. He does it anyways because, like me, he feels uncomfortable and even, deep down, a little afraid of them.

dk said...

I'm gonna go with many other posters here...obama definately is lightskinned....as for accents Ive always been extemely poor at word discrimination(hearing words in songs, hearing in a crowd etc) so my hearing may not be that great but I've never noticed obama putting on a black accent...and ive heard many black accents...maybe it is very fine ...i dunno

Sian said...

Was Obama's key to success his light skin and manner of mostly speaking white? Partly, but that may not be the main reason. Jeremiah Wright is even more white-looking and as the interview with Bill Moyer showed, he's also perfectly capable of speaking in a 'white way'. But, I think most white Americans loathe Wright.

Obama's 'whiteness' had a certain edge because it was slicked and oiled by black hipness. It wasn't bland whiteness but groovy whiteness.
Also, though Obama spoke 'black' in front of blacks, he held himself back and didn't totally lose himself like so many black preachers and politicians. It was a watered-down and 'loftier'--at least in the eyes of whites--kind of blackness. So, Obama spiced his whiteness with black pepper and sobered his blackness with white salt.

When we see guys like Wright acting totally white with Moyers and then totally black in a church, it's like seeing a madman, a kind of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, a bi-polar lunatic. But, there was less divergence between Obama's whiteness and blackness. Even footages of his talking black among blacks wasn't so outlandish as to turn off white people. Even when he turned on the juice around blacks, he was still less 'wild and crazy' than most blacks. Indeed, he seemed to have a RELATIVELY calming effect on the blacks--as opposed to Farrakhan, Sharpton, Wright, Jackson, etc. So, white people liked Obama as 'the hope' who may inspire black people to be less 'wild and crazy' and more 'lofty' and 'clean cut'. White liberals don't expect blacks to go from 'wild and crazy' to 'stable and disciplined' overnight. Going cold turkey off blackness may be asking too much. So, Obama is like a nicotine patch for curing 'wild and crazy' blackness. He does the 'black thing' but not 100%. He does it enough to win street cred; his black fans swoon than holler and jump up and down. White folks like Oprah for the same reason. White liberals used to encourage and support crazy blackness as being authentic, but after the rise of gangster rap and black crime, many white liberals secretly hope to return back to the days of 'Lilies of the Field'.

Also, it was not so much about WHAT Obama said as what he didn't say--whatever the dialect. Obama learned early on not to leave a paper trail nor to express his real feelings. Even though he had radical associates, he was careful not to say a lot of outlandish things. And, even when he said them--in interviews yrs back--, he was careful not to say them in a 'radical' manner but in a calm mainstream way. Obama figured he has the right image and style to win over a lot of white suckers. So, let them see him the way they wanna see him. He decided not to spell things out but be as vague and suggestive as possible--so that 50 different people will see him as 'my guy'. Some call him the 'magic negro', but 'magic me-grow' is closer to the truth. It was all about 'what magic trick can I pull to make Me Grow?'

So, Obama understands how to play blackness against the whiteness in an insidious, deceptive, and subtle way. In the end, it's more about dialectics than dialects.

I Love Accents said...

I can't comment on Obama as I haven't watched him enough and in all honesty don't really care. He's not my president. But I just want to say this:

I frequently change the lilt of my accent depending on who I am talking to.

I often subtly mimic the accent of the person I'm talking to.

I often match the tone and the pace of the person I am talking to.

I'll even use different words to describe the same thing, depending on who I'm talking to.

Here in the UK, for a relatively small place we have a very large number of accents and dialects, some of which can be quite incomprehensible - even for a native of these islands who comes from a different part of the islands.

Not only that, accent gives away class.

I love accents, and one of the things I love about Britain, is the vast variety of accents and dialects we have.

Much as I would like to say it isn't so, there is quite a lot of regional and class prejudice in the UK.

So, in the UK, if you have a distinctive accent that gives away your class and your region, and, if you work in a job where you speak to many people of different regional and class backgrounds, changing the way you speak depending on who you are speaking to, isn't being sneaky, it isn't being dishonest, its just communication skills.

light steps clip clop said...

OT.

Clinton got in hot water or hot coffee as the case may be.

But, was he referring to Obama's blackness or greenness? Was he saying that 'back in the days', blacks like Obama would have been waiters serving white folks coffee in train cars

OR

was he saying that Obama simply didn't have enough credentials--and hadn't paid his dues or bore the scars in politics--to be president?
After all, to rise to the top in any corporation, you must first 'serve coffee' and 'fetch water' for the bosses. You have to kiss ass before you rise up and have others kiss your ass.
Clinton served as governor for 2 terms before he ran for President. Obama hadn't done shit except serve as Bullshit state senator voting 'present' a 100 times and 4 yrs as Illinois senator doing little but running for president.

I think many people willfully or foolishly misconstrued Clinton's words as a racial remark when it was really a professional remark. Larry Holmes threw a fit about Gerry Cooney's getting the title shot for the same reason. It wasn't that Cooney was white but that he was green and hadn't paid his dues. A green guy was being elevated simply because he was white. Similarly, Clinton was saying a green guy was being elevated simply because he was black.

Of course, it was not the right thing to say to Ted Kennedy who got into and was protected in politics for reasons other than competence. Teddy boy rested on Big Money and the Kennedy aura. So, Clinton's attack on Obama's thin resume might have sounded like an attack on Ted's thin resume when he first became Senator.

ben tillman said...

"Don't forget Oscar de la Hoya. He has an effeminate voice as well."

You're right. Never thought of it. What's going on?


It's the boy-named-Sue syndrome.

Dutch Boy said...

How would you characterize Obama's standard accent? It is vaguely Midwestern, presumptively Chicagoan but he was not raised in Chicago. Perhaps he got it from his mother and grandparents, whom I believe were from Kansas (or is it a put on like the Southern black preacher act?).

keypusher said...

I had a college girlfriend, A., whose parents grew up dirt-poor in Appalachia, although they were smart and ambitious people who went on to do quite well for themselves. At school, A.—who possessed a Mensa-level IQ--spoke with a very subdued accent. But whenever we went to visit her folks her drawl would intensify to a degree that astonished me.

Yup. Any of you people ever watched Eartha Kitt? I am pretty sure she didn't dress or talk like that growing up.

It's funny that the HBDosphere takes one of the few down to earth black guys who doesn't harbor a hatred of white people and casts him as some horrible person.

You know, I am beginning to suspect some of them just don't like black people.

David said...

Listened to Obama on NPR not long ago. He sounds like a dumber version of Jesse Ventura. A kind of jock-airhead black with some good vocabulary words but nothing to say.

Even when reading the teleprompters he simply doesn't sound like he's mentally connecting with what he's saying; like there's nothing going on in his head. I wouldn't trust him for one second, just from hearing him.

He also always sounds exhausted, tired, unenthusiastic, maybe with contempt for listeners. Not for Barry the feistiness of Jorge Boosh, the squeal of Howard Dean, or the smirkiness of Clinton. Is Obama just more serious? Is that an accent? Dunno.

Anonymous said...

was [Clinton] saying that Obama simply didn't have enough credentials--and hadn't paid his dues or bore the scars in politics--to be president?




I'm sure that is what he was saying. And the interesting thing is that nobody, least of all on the left, is willing to admit it. The revolution always eats its own.


Which is why I don't see why people on the right should bend over to help Reid out here. I want them to eat their own. It's a change from their eating us.

Otis the Sweaty said...

I'm really interested in this Will Smith thing. I have to agree with whoever it was that said the Will Smith bashing is motivated by envy, because I really can't think of any other reason somebody would dislike him.

I don't know if any of you are football fans, but amongst fans of the Philadelphia Eagles there has always been a subset who have HATED Donovan McNabb (although the media exagerrates their numbers). And I think people hate Donovan and Will Smith for the same reason, because they always handle themselves with class and they want their black celebrities to be raving jackasses. This would also explain why there is so many black fans who can't stand McNabb but loved Terrell Owens.

albertosaurus said...

This comment is probably too far down in the list to ever be read but I do have a unique perspective on this whole "negro dialect" issue.

There was a time in the early sixties when most of my friends were black - or negro as we said then. My first professional singing job was at the downtown Washington D.C. African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion)church singing Negro Spirituals. I was not only the only white face on stage but the only white face in the building.

The spirituals themselves were easy to sing (except for that B Flat below Low C). But almost everybody had trouble with the "negro dialect". All the nice middle class black voice students were embarrassed. For me it was a bit easier I just channeled Amos and Andy - no problem.

BTW our conductor was Roberta Flack.

Svigor said...

Similarly, AA (which you seem to advocate, insofar as you have the nads to advocate anything openly) depends on inherited racial responsibility.

Svigor said...

There are probably plenty of Philly fans who hate McNabb simply because they're douchebags. Ma always told me to hate the sin, not the sinner, but I hate Philly and everyone in it because of the Eagles and their fans.

Hey, who got to peep Ochocinco's birthday present to himself the other day? Hilarity.

Truth said...

"Yup. Any of you people ever watched Eartha Kitt? I am pretty sure she didn't dress or talk like that growing up."

I think you'd be hard pressed to find any 8-year old who talked or dressed like Eartha Kitt.

BTW, what the hell is up with having to reset my log in every day, are you trying to tell me something Sailer?

Anonymous said...

compared to the president we elected in 2000 this president is a super heavyweight.

obama is running circles around these folks.

headache said...

So Whiskey, whatya gonna do with all those ships and planes?
Nuke iran and reconquer germany to show those f. krauts who's still the boss?

bluffs said...

"compared to the president we elected in 2000 this president is a super heavyweight.
obama is running circles around these folks."

Obama is running circles because white people are desperate for a healing 'magic negro'. They let him run circles around them. Same is true of Oprah. And the liberal media is providing Obama with a horse to ride around in.
Obama runs circles not because he's a heavyweight but because he's a lightweight. He light on his toes and fast and zippy. He doesn't go for the big right acrosses but a lot of jabbing and dodging.

At any rate, the main issue for white conservatives should not be whether Obama is qualified or not. Even if his IQ were 200 and he had all the qualifications in the world, we should oppose him because we despise his ideology and policies. He's a stealth socialist, a spiritual(if not dogmatic)Marxist, a black tribalist who merely uses post-racialism as a trojan horse, an open borders advocate, a partner with the liberal Jewish power elite, a global welfare-ist(especially for Africa), and pro-gay agenda guy.

Indeed, it should worry us more if he really is highly intelligent and knowledgeable because that makes him more formidable in carrying out his agenda.

Politics is more than about qualifications. Pat Buchanan has a very high IQ and is very knowledgeable, but do you think most Jews would vote for him for his superior qualifications? Trotsky was very smart, well-read, and had political experience, but would any decent American have voted for him? We do need better qualified people on our side, but even an unqualified politician who agrees with our values is better than a qualified politician whose values offend us.

Another reason to oppose Obama is symbolic. He has been put forth and promoted as a interracial ideal. He is being used as a message to white youths that they should mix with other races--especially white women with black men--to wash away the innate evil and sinfulness of whiteness. Jared Taylor said whiteness and Western culture go together. We must then guard not just our culture but our race.

PS. Neocon Jews who said they voted for Obama because he's better qualified than Sarah Palin are lying through their teeth. Ron Paul is very qualified, but neocon Jews would never have voted for him because he's not beholden to Zioinst interests. Neocon Jews voted for Obama because Obama is owned by Jewish money and media.

bluffs said...

"compared to the president we elected in 2000 this president is a super heavyweight.
obama is running circles around these folks."

Obama is running circles because white people are desperate for a healing 'magic negro'. They let him run circles around them. Same is true of Oprah. And the liberal media is providing Obama with a horse to ride around in.
Obama runs circles not because he's a heavyweight but because he's a lightweight. He light on his toes and fast and zippy. He doesn't go for the big right acrosses but a lot of jabbing and dodging.

At any rate, the main issue for white conservatives should not be whether Obama is qualified or not. Even if his IQ were 200 and he had all the qualifications in the world, we should oppose him because we despise his ideology and policies. He's a stealth socialist, a spiritual(if not dogmatic)Marxist, a black tribalist who merely uses post-racialism as a trojan horse, an open borders advocate, a partner with the liberal Jewish power elite, a global welfare-ist(especially for Africa), and pro-gay agenda guy.

Indeed, it should worry us more if he really is highly intelligent and knowledgeable because that makes him more formidable in carrying out his agenda.

Politics is more than about qualifications. Pat Buchanan has a very high IQ and is very knowledgeable, but do you think most Jews would vote for him for his superior qualifications? Trotsky was very smart, well-read, and had political experience, but would any decent American have voted for him? We do need better qualified people on our side, but even an unqualified politician who agrees with our values is better than a qualified politician whose values offend us.

Another reason to oppose Obama is symbolic. He has been put forth and promoted as a interracial ideal. He is being used as a message to white youths that they should mix with other races--especially white women with black men--to wash away the innate evil and sinfulness of whiteness. Jared Taylor said whiteness and Western culture go together. We must then guard not just our culture but our race.

PS. Neocon Jews who said they voted for Obama because he's better qualified than Sarah Palin are lying through their teeth. Ron Paul is very qualified, but neocon Jews would never have voted for him because he's not beholden to Zioinst interests. Neocon Jews voted for Obama because Obama is owned by Jewish money and media.

catperson said...

"was [Clinton] saying that Obama simply didn't have enough credentials--and hadn't paid his dues or bore the scars in politics--to be president?"

If the quote is true, I think he meant that not long ago, it would have been unthinkable for a black to occupy anything other than a subordinate position to the political elite.

David said...

bluffs said

> He is being used as a message to white youths that they should mix with other races<

This message seems to be ubiquitous. From "Star Trek" to "Doctor Who," from "Avatar"'s rehash of "Dances with Wolves" to TV commercials, from Harry Potter's enemies opposing "mudbloods," to Wal-Mart print ads showing grinning white mothers cradling their black infants. Many more examples could be adduced. Why is this? Is Ben (page down) Wattenberg or his acolytes running ad agencies and Hollywood studios now?

Nah. Conspiracy.

Svigor said...

The Clinton quote seems more like it was about green than black. He WAS a nobody a few years ago, folks.

Svigor said...

On the other hand, it's the sort of thing that's easily misinterpreted, and Clinton seems too smart to say something like that wholly accidentally. He probably intended the double meaning (with built-in plausible deniability), or at least didn't mind the possibility of misinterpretation. Dems are supposed to be hypersensitive to that kind of remark, right?