Miss Ashley’s Book Club


Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S.: H. Samy & Geneva Smitherman

I bought this book for one of my classes, and we ended up not using it. But, since I bought it, I decided to read it anyway. The book discusses in great detail the struggle many Blacks face in regards to their speech and stereotypes they face. If a Black person is deemed “articulate” even though it may be meant as a compliment, it can be highly offensive. The book is interesting because it uses President Barack Obama as a prime example.

When Obama was first coming into the limelight as a presidential candidate, many were in awe of how “articulate” he was. While this was meant to highlight a positive characteristic, it quickly became a back-handed compliment. Why is it that it is mandatory to state that a Black man is articulate, as if that is a rare finding? That my friends is the object of the book. The in depth analysis of the topic is not only intriguing, but very educational. Overall, it is a very easy and enlightening read. If you are interested in history, Black history, or even language in America, this is a great option.

What are your fave books on African-American studies or history? Let me know in the comments!



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