HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Democratic Primaries (Forum) » Ok, someone please educat...
Undecided 48%
Joe Biden38%
Bernie Sanders14%

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 06:17 PM

 

Ok, someone please educate me...

This is reposted here as it was considered off-topic for general discussion. Moderator advised I repost in Democratic Primaries forum

I just read that Bloomberg is being attacked for using a "common racist trope" of calling Corey Booker "well-spoken". In addition, I recall a journalist on MSNBC recently saying something about how racist it is to call a person of color articulate.

Now, yes, I am white and maybe that's why I don't understand this. I understand that racism is woven into the fabric of our culture, through our language, traditions, and I want to help us heal from it too. But I do not understand why we cannot use these terms when referring to someone who has a great facility with language if they also happen to be a person of color.

When Barak Obama ran for president, George W. Bush was in office. How could anyone not notice that Obama was beautifully articulate, especially compared to the nincompoop Bush? I can remember hearing Obama's first speeches and listening to that beautiful voice and clarity of communication and his ability to impart understanding to his audience of very complex issues. Please help me understand why making the observation that he was articulate, eloquent, was racist? I think Elizabeth Warren is also articulate. Why is it okay to verbalized that, for her, but it's racist to make the same observation with someone of color? And can I say here without any racist intention, Corey Booker ALSO is very talented with helping people understand complex issues, one might even say he is well-spoken or articulate? Please help me.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

17 replies, 772 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ok, someone please educate me... (Original post)
Trueblue Texan Dec 2019 OP
left-of-center2012 Dec 2019 #1
StarfishSaver Dec 2019 #2
Trueblue Texan Dec 2019 #13
StarfishSaver Dec 2019 #15
treestar Dec 2019 #3
Trueblue Texan Dec 2019 #6
madville Dec 2019 #4
Trueblue Texan Dec 2019 #7
StarfishSaver Dec 2019 #8
Trueblue Texan Dec 2019 #14
abqtommy Dec 2019 #5
Iggo Dec 2019 #9
Garrett78 Dec 2019 #10
Blue_true Dec 2019 #11
Trueblue Texan Dec 2019 #16
Blue_true Dec 2019 #17
ChubbyStar Dec 2019 #12

Response to Trueblue Texan (Original post)


Response to Trueblue Texan (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 06:33 PM

2. I simply don't have the energy to explain this again

 

It's literally exhausting having to explain these things over and over - especially when people go out of their way to challenge and argue against what we've been trying to help them understand

But there are several active threads with excellent explanations. If you're really interested in understanding why this comment is insulting, you can start by reading here:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/1287372462

https://www.democraticunderground.com/1287372377
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 01:52 AM

13. I am sincere...

 

...I appreciate that this can be exhausting, and I thank you for the links. But I still want to be able to compliment people if they express themselves verbally on complex issues. I reposted this here not to be argumentative or dense, but to see the responses to broaden my understanding--and to figure out a way to comment on verbal skill without offending anyone. The moderator told me to repost here as she had locked my previous post because it was posted in general discussion instead of primary candidates.

I know there is a perspective I am struggling with here, but I think it's just not right that I can compliment Elizabeth Warren, Beto (and Rachel Maddow, though she's not a candidate) on their facility with explaining the issues, but it's not ok for me to say the same things about Corey Booker, for example, just because he is not white. I know I can't really fully empathize with the issue people of color have with comments about their verbal skills, but regardless of race, a word person like me cannot help but be refreshed by great communication skills. Reagan was the great communicator? My ass. Barack Obama is a masterful communicator. Those words do not do him justice...but they're the best I can do.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 02:06 AM

15. Others have explained it well below, so I'll just add

 

that what you're describing isn't being "well-spoken" but extraordinary eloquence, which isn't common for anyone, even people in public life. So noting that Obama is unusually eloquent does not suggest that he's unusual for a black person but for humans.

On the other hand, being well-spoken (i.e., able to speak well) or articulate (i.e., able to express oneself clearly) are not extraordinary qualities, especially for a politician who is a US Senator. It would be unusual if he WEREN'T well-spoken. Such a comment suggests that Bloomberg found this quality in Booker u usual enough to remark upon, that he didn't see it as a given.

This wouldn't be a big deal if it weren't a long-standing, common back-handed compliment given to black people who don't fit certain negative racial stereotypes. "MY but doesn't he speak well (for a black person)!" "He's not like the others. He speaks so WELL!" etc.

Bloomberg has been around enough to know better. And I'll bet no one has examples of him making a special point of pointing out that any white person "speaks well."
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 07:42 PM

3. It is because it is assumed you mean

 

Wow I would not have thought a black man could be eloquent. So you think it worth mentioning it if he is. With white men, it goes without saying and you don’t have to mention it.

It is suggested you would not say this about a white man because it would not strike you in any way.

It’s funny you mention Dubya. With him and the Dotard it is harder to come up with someone white to say it about. Biden the gaffer isn’t much help either. Bill Clinton I recall was said to speak for too long.

JFK was well spoken. But that’s a long time ago.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to treestar (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 09:02 PM

6. But race aside, there are PLENTY of moronic candidates ...

 

mostly on the right, we must admit, who sound like IDIOTS! It is so refreshing when someone is articulate! When one speaks with eloquence, you cannot help but notice what with the abundance of fools out there! Current dummies have so far surpassed George Bush with their stupidity, how can you not express appreciation for those who have skill with language, no matter what their race? It's not like anyone is saying, "Dang! You don't even sound like an idiot!" I feel like this is an area the right has stolen from us with their verbal foolishness.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 07:49 PM

4. Should be common knowledge to be careful

 

When complimenting black people, it comes across to many like you expected otherwise.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madville (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 09:02 PM

7. this sounds like you can't compliment black people...

 

...but surely that's not what you mean.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 09:33 PM

8. I don't think that's what they mean

 

But people should be mindful of what they're complimenting black people about.

One thing to consider is whether they would level the same compliment to a white person under the same circumstances and in the same way.

if Bloomberg regularly remarked on the "well-spokenness" of other U.S. Senators who happened to be white, this might not be an issue.

Another thing I always take into consideration is the exposure the person who's making the compliment has had to black people and how much they understand dog whistles. So, for example, I would react differently to an average white guy who hasn't been around a lot of black people or hasn't had experiences that make him understand what some of this means than I would to a 70-something-year-old billionaire who's been in politics for decades and should know better.

In the former case, I would most likely explain to him how such a comment can be perceived and hope they learn from the experience. But if, after it's explained to them, they continue to do it or try to turn it into a "how dare you play the victim" attack, I will have a different view of their motives.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to StarfishSaver (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 01:57 AM

14. This makes sense...

 

"One thing to consider is whether they would level the same compliment to a white person under the same circumstances and in the same way."
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 08:59 PM

5. There's a lot of what is called "dog whistles" around. They go with the "wink-wink" and you

 

can bet that TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMberg knows them all.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 11:53 PM

9. Like you said...

 

...it's "woven into the fabric of our culture, through our language."

You know that. So remember that.

A good rule: If you know it pisses people of, don't say it.

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Original post)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 12:10 AM

10. A. Gordon from The Root explains it well:

 

https://www.theroot.com/he-s-so-articulate-what-that-really-means-1790874985

“Articulate,” of course, doesn’t have the same negative connotations as “bossy.” But we’re all familiar with the scenario in which someone comments in surprise at how “professional” or “well-spoken” a new black co-worker comes across, or how “articulate” an African-American presidential candidate might be—as then-Sen. Joe Biden once remarked about then-Sen. Barack Obama, an episode chronicled at the time for the New York Times by former managing editor of The Root Lynette Clemetson in the essay “The Racial Politics of Speaking Well.”

In that context, the underlying message is clear: We (a white-dominant society) expect black folks to be less competent. And, speaking as a white person, when we register surprise at a black individual’s articulateness, we also send the not-so-subtle message that that person is part of a group that we don’t expect to see sitting at the table, taking on a leadership role.


Subtle expectations and stereotypes, however, can have huge impacts. Researchers have found that simply changing the description of a task so that it falls more or less in line with societal stereotypes can impact performance. In one study (pdf), researchers described a task involving golf as measuring intelligence, and white participants performed better than black participants—consistent with a stereotype of whites as being more academically intelligent. When the task was described as measuring athletic ability, white participants performed worse and black participants performed better—consistent with a stereotype of African Americans being more athletic.


What does all this have to do with calling a woman bossy, or a black friend articulate? By calling a woman bossy, we’re reminding her that society expects her to back down, be a follower and not be too aggressive or loud. When we call a person of color articulate, it can suggest—either intentionally or unintentionally—that she’s exceptional, whereas, by contrast, it can suggest that white people are automatically assumed to be articulate.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Original post)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 12:14 AM

11. It is about context.

 

Bloomberg was talking about how Booker led Newark NJ. He could have described the good things Booker did there and Bloomberg, to his credit did. But then he threw in the articulate statement out of the blue, that is a no-no for a White that is talking about a Black person. Bloomberg could have used different phrasing, like Booker was passionate about making his city better and was dynamic at executing on his goals for his city.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Blue_true (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 02:09 AM

16. This makes total sense.

 

I totally understand this and why Bloomberg may actually have been discounting Booker due to race. I don't give him a pass. I understand he should have known better. But I hope I never offend anyone when I just have to notice they can speak the truth and speak it clearly after all the Rethug BS we have to listen to. I can see there is a good chance Bloomberg didn't mean his words in an appreciative way, but My God in Heaven (which I don't believe in) aren't you just ecstatic when a politician can string some words together and make good sense nowadays? I know I am. Thanks for all the comments, you guys. I think I understand better now.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 11:17 PM

17. Given our country's race history, calling a Black person well spoken or

 

"clean" is just loaded with history and pitfalls. The speaker may have meant to compliment the Black person, but end up insulting not only that person, but an entire ethnic group.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Trueblue Texan (Original post)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 12:44 AM

12. Welcome back!

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread