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Don't believe "articulate" is more often used to describe smart blacks than smart whites?

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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:38 PM
Original message
Don't believe "articulate" is more often used to describe smart blacks than smart whites?
Edited on Fri Feb-02-07 02:49 PM by beaconess
Here's a quick snapshot:

A Nexis search of "Obama" and "articulate" in the same sentence in the two years prior to Biden's comment turns up more than 100 hits.

Examples:

"Barack Obama, another senator, is the new glamour boy. No, really: Clark Gable had those ears, too. The problem for Obama is that he's still wet behind his. Smart and articulate, he's little experienced and, here we go again, dares Americans to overcome their racial hesitations and misgivings." Interestingly, this piece also features observations of 18 other potential presidential candidates - all white. Obama's the only one described as articulate. Hillary Clinton is the only other one described as "smart." "Somewhere in the Scrum for the White House is the Next President," Cox News Service, January 24, 2007

"The 45-year-old Hawaii native is a freshman U.S. senator who easily defeated Republican Alan Keyes for the Illinois seat vacated by Peter Fitzgerald in 2004. {New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Kathy}Sullivan called him 'very articulate and very charismatic. He is a very interesting person in that he represents to a lot of people the future of our country.'" "Democrats Land Obama for Dec. 10 NH Celebration," Union Leader, November 29, 2006

On the other hand, a search of "John Edwards" and "articulate in the same sentence during the same time period turns up THREE hits - and only one of those contains a description of John Edwards as "articulate."

This, of course, is not a scientific analysis, but it is certainly instructive.
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terisan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks. n/t
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Evergreen Emerald Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. or, maybe
Edwards is not as articulate as Obama.
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I think most people would beg to differ. Edwards is quite articulate
Edited on Fri Feb-02-07 02:50 PM by beaconess
He's probably one of the most articulate people in politics today.

But he's white, so it's not a surprise to anyone that he is articulate.
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Evergreen Emerald Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. I disagree
I have watched both of them speaking and I have to say that Obama's strength is in his discourse. He is smart, but he is also smooth and compelling when he speaks and...dare I say it..articulate.

I would describe Edwards as smart and honest and caring, but I would not use articulate. Biden, I would describe as experienced, and plain-speaking--again I would not use articulate. Hillary is another politician I would describe as articulate. I have always been surprised when I hear her speak, because she is nothing like the press makes her out to be. Pelosi: not articulate. Indeed sometimes painful to listen to, although she is getting better.
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. What you're describing is "eloquence"
not articulateness.

Webster's defines "articulate" as: "expressing oneself readily, clearly, or effectively"

Webster's defines "eloquent" as: "marked by forceful and fluent expression" or "vividly or movingly expressive or revealing"

Most educated people are articulate. Most politicians are articulate. While some may not be, that is the exception, not the rule. Yet educated black people are frequently referred to as "articulate" when similarly well-spoken educated white people are not, since it is assumed that they are capable of "expressing themselves readily, clearlym or effectively."

Eloquence is a different category. If Obama were described as "eloquent" I'd have no problem since eloquence is a rare enough quality in even the most educated people of any ethnicity that it's worthy of comment.

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Evergreen Emerald Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I will agree with eloquent.
Which just goes to show you that I, along with Biden, am inarticulate as I was not expressing myself clearly or effectively. Obama is the only politician I can think of currently who could be described as eloquent (as well as articulate). Hillary I will still describe as articulate, but not eloquent.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
4. I hear whites more often described as "glib."
It's not a compliment.
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terisan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:53 PM
Response to Original message
5. Check out John Kerry or Howard Dean + articulate---many hits

I did a search for these two and found numerous references.
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. someone's name and the word "articulate" in the same article tell me nothing
since many articles might contain the same words yet one has no connection to the other. That's why I searched the name and the term "articulate" in the same sentence, which is a much more accurate way to test the point.
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terisan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. I have read the articles and find Kerry frequently described as articulate.......

one even refers to Bush as being less articulate.
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Since I have not claimed that white politicians are never described as articulate
I don't understand your point.
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:54 PM
Response to Original message
6. I think there is something to that. BUT...
I have read some of what Barak Obama has written. And he is... well, I'm not sure that there is any way to say this, without using various phrases that are synonymous with "articulate." He is a word smith to a degree that is highly unusual for a modern politician. He is the only candidate running who I can imagine, in his later years, becomes a historian or author. He may be the most intelligent person in the race. If one says Obama is "articulate and intelligent," it can sound racist, for all the reasons that have been explained to detail in recent days. Nonetheless, those are his personal characteristics that stand out, not as a black man, but as a presidential candidate.

That doesn't necessarily excuse what might have been said with other intent. I'm just pointing out that in Obama's case, someone might innocently say something along these lines quite straightforwardly that comes out sounding like a slur. I hope it didn't above!

:hippie:
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. If it were just Obama, you might have a point - but this is something that is so commonly used to
describe educated black people that it goes beyond just Obama. The reason this comment rankled black folks so much - check out Eugene Robinson's column in today's Washington Post - is that we are subjected to this condescending description all the time - and then told we should be grateful for it because it's a compliment, even though we know it's a backhanded one at best.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
12. Try Googling instead, for 92,000 hits linking "John Edwards" & articulate
Edited on Fri Feb-02-07 04:57 PM by pnwmom
(After eliminating any hit that might also contain the name "Obama.")

Examples:

" the theme of Edwards as an articulate, appealing, and energetic political force. ..."

"The veteran personal injury attorney John Edwards was an articulate speaker and an extremely effective litigator"

"John Edwards is bright and articulate and really, really youthful."

"The charismatic, passionate and articulate former U.S. Sen. John Edwards is speaking out about the need to lift more Americans out of poverty"


http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22John+Edwards%22...

On the other hand, a similar search for references to Obama being articulate (leaving out references to Edwards) yields 129,000 hits. (Some of them, however, are reacting to the controversy over the Biden statement, or to the use of the word "articulate" to describe an African American. It would be interesting to know how many hits there would have been two days ago, before the controversy.)

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Barack+Obama%22...

By the way, I disagree with your contention that it's more accurate to search for links within the same sentence. Nexis left out MANY Google hits where the name "John Edwards" and articulate were used in the same sentence. A "sentence only" search also would leave out the many references to John Edwards that referred to him with a pronoun, or in some other way (e.g, "the articulate Southerner.)

The important thing is to conduct the same sort of search on Obama and Edwards, and when that is done on Google, both searches yield very high numbers of references to the candidates' being articulate. If there are somewhat more references to Obama, it may very well be because he is even more eloquent than Edwards.

One last thought: yes, this kind of search will yield a number of links where the word "articulate" is used as a verb, or where it is not actually being used to describe the candidate. But there's no reason to think this will happen any more often in articles about Edwards than about Obama. Just look through a few pages of Google hits on Edwards and you can see that the Nexis search is a very poor indicator of how often Edwards is described as articulate.
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Google is not a valid indicator for this discussion.
Edited on Fri Feb-02-07 05:15 PM by beaconess
Google, since it contains all manner of sources, regardless how reliable, much of it repetitive with dozens or even hundreds of hits on the same story, and pulls up every article, blog, webpage, etc. in which "articulate" and "john edwards" appear in the same piece, regardless whether there is any connection between the two.

For example, Google cannot restrict searches to the appearances of two words in the same sentence or paragraph (rather than in the same piece - many of the "John Edwards" + "articulate" hits pulled up articles in which Edwards was mentioned but "articulate" was used in a completely separate section of a webpage unconnected to the Edwards' reference.

Nexis, while not perfect, is a much more reliable indicator.

I made clear that this was not a scientific search, but if you want to ignore it and rely on Google to try to disprove my point, be my guest. But it doesn't disprove my point - in fact, it only further supports it since it shows that Obama + articulate has considerably more hits than Edwards + articulate.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. On Google, the search conducted in exactly the same way for both men
Edited on Fri Feb-02-07 05:15 PM by pnwmom
yields HIGH numbers for both candidates. Yes, Obama's is higher -- though we don't know how much higher they were before the Biden controversy -- but they're in the same ballpark.

And if Obama's is truly higher, it might be simply because he IS more articulate even than Edwards.
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Google search proves Edwards is even more racist than Biden
Edited on Fri Feb-02-07 05:35 PM by beaconess
Based upon the following search: "Biden" + "Racist" = 571,000 hits, "Edwards" + "Racist" = 1 million+ hits

If the reason that "Obama" + "articulate" yields more hits than "Edwards" + "articulate" is that Obama IS more articulate than Edwards, wouldn't it follow that the results of a comparable search of Biden and Edwards + "racist" is proof that Edwards IS more racist even than Biden?

Just wondering.

:sarcasm:
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. Very funny. "Edwards" is a much more common name than "Biden."

There are far fewer hits linking "John Edwards" and the word "racist." There are more, actually, that link "Barack Obama" and "racist." Of course that doesn't mean more people think Obama is a racist, or that many people at all think either one of them are racists. If you read several pages of the hits, you'll see that the word racist, when linked with either of the candidates, isn't used (or is rarely used) as a descriptor of the candidate. Unlike the word articulate, which is frequently used to describe both men.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. These semantic discussions are wearing on my nerves.
WE, who were born, bred and educated in America, WE, who have been required to navigate and understand its embedded racism and code language IN ORDER TO SURVIVE, WE, who have experienced racism FIRSTHAND, WE, who have excelled against all odds are telling our fellow DUers that a RED FLAG has been waved in front of our faces. The response from our "fellow liberals" is to call us LIARS, "too sensitive," incapable of comprehending, "reverse racists," to assume to DEFINE THE TERMS for us, to REFUSE to listen or consider our collective experiences of "nuance," indeed to discount them out of hand und so weiter und sofort.

I was relating my recent experiences on this board to a friend tonight. I quoted Biden verbatim. Her jaw dropped and eyes widened in horror and disbelief. "Bitte, NEIN!" "DOCH." I replied. "Don't these people have ADVISORS? Even if they have such thoughts is there NO ONE to tell them to be careful how they express themselves IN PUBLIC???" When she said that I just HOWLED!!! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: SHE has no point of reference for the word "articulate." She is a librarian with a great interest in all things American. Her reaction as a non-native speaker was to the quote in toto. How is it that people around the world can "get it" and Amis NOT???
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AspenRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. Tell your friend I called Biden's office when this happened
and asked them the same question. The staffer emphatically agreed that someone should be coaching Biden on speaking with cultural sensitivity (since this has happened more than once).

So we'll see what happens. Maybe he can hire Mel Gibson's coach. :rofl:
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #20
26. What a great post - you NAILED it!
It's amazing that people will go through such effort to parse and explain and justify Biden's comments while turning a complete deaf ear to the views of minorities - completely disregarding the obviously consistent experiences upon which these views are based or suggesting that we're victims of some kind of mass hysteria.

I am SO glad you're here - perhaps, against all evidence to the contrary, your eloquent explanations are actually sinking into some minds.
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goodhue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
18. I'm with you
But many more will argue the point
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 07:30 PM
Response to Original message
21. I wonder how many hits you get with "Biden" and "dipshit"...
in the same sentence.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
22. Interest.
But there's a confound. Ok, there are a few confounds.

1. Obama's being described and sold in the last two years. Edwards is known, and needs no selling, and little describing.

2. You'd need to make sure that you're not getting the same person reported in numerous sources. 50 hits from one editorial printed in 20 papers and quoted in 30 more is still one token.

3. And even if you did that, you'd just be comparing two people.

But I think you're right, in a sense. I don't know that 'articulateness' needs to be said for everybody, but black candidates come with two possible drawbacks even in non-racist discourse. First, people are predisposed to be against them, so even trivial virtues need to be highlighted (highlighting trivialities for other reasons can be, but need not be, a left-handed or condescending compliment). Second, many traditional African-Americans do not speak standard English well enough to be considered articulate by norms based on other than their own speech communities, nor do they speak a dialect that is accepted as compatible with being educated by the majority of Americans; this is as true of AAEV as it is of some other southern and Appalachian dialects, and no number of descriptive grammatical works showing consistency and systematicity will change that social judgment. Then there's an unrelated reason--the political discourse today spurns Bushisms, and pointing out any non-Bush characteristic is deemed the thing to do.
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #22
27. How do you define "traditional African-Americans?"
And why do you assume African-Americans who "do not speak standard English well enough to be considered articulate by norms based on other than their own speech communities" are "traditional?"

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Jai4WKC08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 08:14 PM
Response to Original message
24. Chris Rock talked about this years ago
I clearly remember a routine he had where he talked about how educated black men were always labeled "articulate." As I recall, he was talking about Colin Powell at the time. The idea was that we white folks remark on it because we're so surprised when it's true. I'd say that's about right.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 08:36 PM
Response to Original message
25. I've never considered Edwards particularly articulate myself...
he tends to stumble when he speaks...

:shrug:
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