Rhetoric, identity and the Obama racial phenomenon: exploring Obama’s title as the “first black president”
In 2008, a nearly 200 year U.S. historical precedent was overturned when Barack Obama was named the “first Black president.” Although Obama is of mixed heritage, he adopted an almost singularly Black identity and has long been characterized by the media as Black. This study is concerned with the role that society and Obama’s acceptance of the title play in identifying and portraying him as the “first Black president.” This study compares Barack Obama’s self-portrayal in his book, Dreams from my Father, to mainstream and Black media portrayals of his race. Results track Obama’s self portrayal as Black, mainstream media’s sensemaking of his classification as the “first Black president” and Black media’s unquestioned acceptance of the classification.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The Elliott School of Communication.