Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Half Negro Presidents and Fully Negro Caucasians

It's harder to get much more credible than the President of the United States. Errors in his work would be heavily scrutinized and reflect poorly on the position. Obama uses collective appeals, suggesting the solution begins with "our" actions and things "we" can do together. His appeals are effective in making us like him because in the end, we all just want to belong, with one another. A tone of kindness is the key to making these collective appeals work. Barack Obama isn't suggesting that we all come together under his banner in order to win him more votes; We're doing it "for our children and our grandchildren." Obama brings emotion into the mix by bringing up his family history. He is related to both those who enjoy white privilege and oppressed blacks from Africa, thus a wider variety of readers can relate to him on a human-to-human level. Intellectually speaking, "A More Perfect Union" does a decent job of bringing up historical events and correlating their importance to the points presented. Personally, I think his appeals could've used more subtlety as to not be so obvious and, at times, cliche. But Obama is a skilled writer who, although highly-educated, caters his writing to his perceived audience.
In the "Ally's Choice" podcast, the hosts seemed unprofessional at times.That may seem like a negative criticism, but I believe that actually works in their favor. In a setting where the listener isn't face-to-face with the speaker, the audience will tend to respond better to the more human aspects of the mysterious voices coming from the lightbox. While working as an emotional appeal, the funny banter and shower-esque singing works against the professional nature. The podcast seemed to maintain too much of a neutral position. The hosts could have very well delved into the nitty gritty of what it means to be a Negro, should this woman be allowed to do claim this ethnicity due to the ignorance of others, and why the situation is relevant to our society. Instead, for time or other unknown constraints, the recurrent theme was to go on about how it was just a sticky situation.


  1. Regarding Obamas essay, “A More Perfect Union” I do agree that he caters to his perceived audience. Obama has always been good at saying what his audience wants to hear and I would have to give him that. Obama uses his experiences a lot in his speeches and text. It helps people connect to him on a deeper language and makes one feel like the President of the United States, someone who often is not too relatable, cares about people’s individual problems and that he is going to fix them. His emotions on one hand make some people love him and others hate every word out of his mouth. The way he uses his past experiences sometimes gets him in trouble because he does say cliché things and sometimes uses too much emotion that people don’t believe he is being honest. However, Obama speeks with such fluency and professionalism and that is what makes him such a good writer and public speaker. Regarding “Ally’s Choice” podcast I would agree that the unprofessionalism definitely worked with and against the commentator. However, most people who are listening to mindless gossip podcasts are not going to be the educated professionals so her slight unprofessionalism works mostly in her benefit. Producer Lu Olkowski did not use much emotion however I think the mother and daughter, Clarice Shreck and Ally Manning, showed enough emotion for all of them. Ally gave enough background and Clarice, Ally, and Carlotta filled in the rest of the story. I think most people would at the very least find the topic strange and intriguing.

  2. Obama, in his essay/speech "A More Perfect Union" uses powerful jargon and diction in the opening paragraphs to evoke a sense of Americanism and a sense of patriotism to establish a connection to his listeners/readers. In this essay he is not trying to come off as a black or white individual but an American who is proud of his multicultural background. His emotional appeal to the sense of unity in our country is why he is considered an empathetic and interpersonal speaker who seems to care about each individuals wellbeing. It is of some concern though in his speeches that he is being too emotional, pushing the boundaries of cliche. Better put, he tends to fall on the side of so interconnected that it comes off as fake or too much interest which can be perceived as trying too hard or acting when there are no true emotional ties.
    In "Ally's Choice" emotions run high in the interviewee not as much the interviewer/ commentator Lu Olkowski. The women which are spoken about in this podcast feel a definitive attachment to their "race." They consider themselves as black and don't have any second guesses about it even though their skin is as white as a caucasians. They feel a sense of self-stated identity by affiliating themselves with this part of Ohio which has a unique background and intercultural mix. While to any outsider this scene may seam strange and confusing, light is shed when the daughters Carlotta and Ally give some assistance into the inner workings of their mother Clarice's mind. The strong emotional ties to her black heritage spin from tradition and a sense of belonging to this town of East Jackson and her black heritage as small as her actual biological race.

  3. I agree that President Obama relies on such "collective appeals," to bring together his listeners. Often recalling experiences which give him incite, The President uses emotion in his speeches very often, making it more relaetable, but also as you said, a bit cliche. In "Ally's Choice," the story began with the long history of east Jackson. I agree that their lack of professionalism works in their favor, as the story seems much more believable coming from an "everyday person" rather than any NPR news reporter. The story told from the actual person's point of view allows the listener to truly understand the entire situation as Ally troubled with her identity crises in east Jackson. Obamas over use of emotion and experience sometimes comes off as cliche because of his status, leaving many to believe he's just trying to persuade constituents. This is exactly the opposite in Ally's Choice, making the story much more believable and authentic. Showing the multiple viewpoints of each sister, and the mothers reaction also adds to the authenticity as the story is told from many perspectives. Presenting the story directly from Ally, then adding her sisters additional comments allows the listen to really imagine how tough the situation was. Including the last part about Ally's husband revealing his true racism and brainwashing his son adds more dramatic effect. The news reporters contrasting lack of emotions adds to the credibility of the piece as he is seen as completely unbiased reporting on the racial issue, allowing the women to speak for themselves.

  4. While I do enjoy Barack Obama's A More Perfect Union speech, I actually think that the entire basis for this speech is in its emotion. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, as I think he does a great job of stretching out his points and illustrating them strongly. However, this speech was far from concrete in any of its political messages—it's hardly a strong piece in that regard. Sure, Obama espouses himself to a large number of beliefs and ideologies across this and many other speeches, but none of the talking points in A More Perfect Union are tangible or quantifiable. He simply sings praise to strongly American ideals: His Christian faith, his belief in progress, “hope,” “unity,” etc. They're all very vague, agreeable terms which represent the ideals of many Americans. Additionally, most of Obama's anecdotes are emotional—the story at the end of the speech involving Ashley and her poor, cancer-stricken mother, is a prime example. Anecdotal snippets and inspirational buzzwords pretty much fill up this speech, but it doesn't pretend to be something it's not, at least. I think it's well done and is paced extremely well, with a great attitude to boot. Obama builds to these tense moments where he brings up something taboo or otherwise controversial, like the statements of Geraldine Ferraro or the racial tensions and dynamics which shrouded national news in cases like the OJ Simpson trial or even the infamous clips of Obama's pastor from Trinity. He capitalizes on the emotions woven into the speech and does it to great effect, I just don't think there's much past the emotion in this piece.

  5. In the podcast “Ally’s Choice” I believe that Ally expressed a lot of anger and disappointment. I believe she was disappointed in the fact that her family considered themselves black when truly on the outside they were white. Her family was a 16th black and they took high pride in that. Ally on the other hand knew what her true race was and she was no longer going to put up with hoe others were treating her when she had to claim that she was black. She became angry when the students at her school began to tease her because her family said she was black. When the students threw deodorant at her, she had had enough. She told her family that she was no longer going to be known as black. So when she moved schools she went to school as white and no longer had to put up with bullying.
    In Obamas essay, “A More Perfect Union” I think he expressed an emotion of empathy for our nation. He seems to have strong feelings on America having unity. Sometimes though, when he uses real life explains I do not think that it helps express his emotion on his views just because he could have gone through the same things as others have. I do thinks he expresses that he cares about our nation very well and that he is doing nothing but trying to put our nation back together. He does not want us to fall apart completely.

  6. I found "Ally's Choice" to be interesting. Although the podcast is difficult to follow with the instantiate commentary, I found the story to be perplexing. How does race become such a large issue in one town and then the next town over race is just your family history. Likewise in President Obama's speech he mentions multiple times the history of his family. Most notable is his white mother and Nigerian father. (Black)
    What always intrigued, fascinated and aggravated me the most is race itself. The older I have gotten the more of an anomaly. Race can refer to a group of people with colored skin, but it cannot be white skinned people because that's not considered a color. It can't be a race either because white people have always been in charge. It's this constant debate over race that just goes down a rabbit hole. I try not to judge others just because they look different from me but that's just what happens. I don't understand why race has to be so complex. Racism and slavery is a terrible thing, let's make amends and move on and quit picking on the scab.