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Magic Mulatto: Barack Obama's Biracial Body and Race Performance

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abstract
This thesis explores the ways President Barack Obama navigates his biracial identity through race performances in his discourse. Born to a Kenyan father and European mother, Obama was in a unique position to speak on racial issues, especially since occurrences of racial violence began to debunk the myth of a post-racial America after his election. After Dylan Roof shot and killed nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina and Micah Johnson, provoked by police killing African Americans in multiple incidents, shot and killed five police officers, Obama was presented with a rhetorical situation. Although he mostly avoided discussing race in his speeches, these racially charged incidents indicated an urgent need for him to address race and its impact in his eulogies for the dead. I analyze his eulogies for Clementa Pinckney, who was a reverend for the Methodist Episcopal church in South Carolina and the five police officers to argue that Obama embodies racial ideologies to connect with audiences and their experiences to provoke new meanings of identity. His experiences as a biracial man assist him in redefining inclusive notions of citizenship and provoking audiences to a more intense sense of W.E.B. DuBois’ double consciousness, hyperconsciousness in order to truly overpower the color line.
subject
Barack Obama
Biracial Identity
Hyperconsciousness
Multiracialism
contributor
Summerville, Karoline (author)
Atchison, Jarrod (committee chair)
Von Burg, Ron (committee member)
French, Nate (committee member)
Watts, Eric (committee member)
date
2017-06-15T08:36:08Z (accessioned)
2017-06-15T08:36:08Z (available)
2017 (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/82236 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Magic Mulatto: Barack Obama's Biracial Body and Race Performance
type
Thesis

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