Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 6 22:40:56 UTC 2010

On Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 3:48 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:

> "African American" features of Obama's speech? Â They are not inconsiderable, it seems to me.

I'm of the same opinion, a fact that I find somewhat surprising, given
that he didn't really "live black" till he moved to Chicago. Contrast
Obama's speech-patterns to those of Colin Powell, who has always lived
black. Of course, Powell has surely had as much occasion *as an adult*
to find himself the only black in a gathering of whites as has Obama.
But, Obama didn't spend his childhood entirely in the society of
blacks, as Powell did.

Yet, if I didn't already know better, were someone to play me tapes of
the speech of these men, then ask me to name the one that was born in
Hawaii and spent his childhood in Hawaii and the South Pacific as
opposed to the one that was born and grew up in New York City, I
wouldn't hesitate:

Harlem : goss t'be Obama, f'sho
Hawaii  : clearly, the choice is Powell, without a doubt

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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