AP Accused of Being Racist

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Alissa_Sal's picture
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AP Accused of Being Racist

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/cutline/associated-press-transcription-obama-cbc-speech-racist-173438340.html

By most accounts, President Obama gave a fiery speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual awards dinner in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, telling blacks to "quit crying and complaining" and support him in the fight for jobs, according to the Associated Press. But was the AP transcription of Obama's remarks racist?

That's the subject currently being debated after the issue was raised on Chris Hayes' MSNBC show on Sunday.

On MSNBC, the African-American author Karen Hunter complained the news service transcribed Obama's speech without cleaning it up as other outlets did--specifically including the "dropped g's."

Via the AP version:
"Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes," he said, his voice rising as applause and cheers mounted. "Shake it off. Stop complainin'. Stop grumblin'. Stop cryin'. We are going to press on. We have work to do."
Hunter called the AP's version "inherently racist," sparring with New Republic contributing editor and noted linguistics expert John McWhorter, who argued the g-less version "is actually the correct one," noting that the president's victory in the 2008 election was due, in part, to how effortlessly "he can switch into that [black] dialect."

Whatever the reason, Hunter found it offensive. "I teach a journalism class, and I tell my students to fix people's grammar, because you don't want them to sound ignorant," she said. "For them to do that, it's code, and I don't like it."

It's worth noting that the same sorts of arguments arose during George W. Bush's presidency, with the White House cleaning up the president's speeches to make him sound smarter, and news outlets sometimes not doing so.

According to Mark Smith, the AP reporter who filed the story, Obama was making a point by dropping his g's, making the transcription a no-brainer.

"Normally, I lean toward the clean-it-up school of quote transcribing—for everyone," Smith told Mediaite. "But in this case, the President appeared to be making such a point of dropping Gs, and doing so in a rhythmic fashion, that for me to insert them would run clearly counter to his meaning. I believe I was respecting his intent in this. Certainly disrespect was the last thing I intended."

"The AP Stylebook counsels against using spellings like gonna or wanna--or in this case, complainin' and cryin'--'in attempts to convey regional dialects or informal pronunciations, except to help a desired touch or to convey an emphasis by the speaker,'" Tom Kent, the AP deputy managing editor for standards and production, said in a statement to The Cutline. "In this case, our reporter, who was there in person, felt the spellings were appropriate to convey a particular touch that President Obama appeared to be intentionally making use of."

Conservative bloggers agree--mainly because the story showed Obama pandering to a black base.

"The first job of a journalist is to report a story as accurately as possible," Howard Portnoy wrote on HotAir.com. "Part of the job of reporting Obama's speech last night was to highlight his obvious pandering, which is borne of desperation. The only element missing from the story is whether any of the listeners were offended by the president's 'blaccent.'"

"The AP did not print the words as written for the president," Mike Opelka wrote on Glenn Beck-owned TheBlaze.com, "instead choosing to transcribe the speech with what might be considered a bit more accuracy."

"He was specifically, and intentionally, using an African-American linguistic style to emphasize his message," a conservative blog called the Last Refuge noted.

"Now that the presidential campaign season has begun," Courtland Milloy wrote in an op-ed column for the Washington Post, "it's okay for President Obama to openly court black people again."

Debate questions:
1. Was it racist of the AP to transcribe the President's speech with missing "g's"?
2. Do you believe that the President is "pandering" by dropping the "g's" in his speech?

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1- nope
2- possibly he is a smart one.

I am not pro-Obama at all, but he is an amazing orator. He knew what he was doing, and I totally agree with Smith that it sounds rhythmic to leave them out.. and I do think it makes even a stronger statement to drop them.

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1. Was it racist of the AP to transcribe the President's speech with missing "g's"? Not at all. It was an accurate transcription that, as the reporter said, reflected the tone & intent of the message.
2. Do you believe that the President is "pandering" by dropping the "g's" in his speech? Probably, but it doesn't offend me. That's what politicians do. No one votes for someone they don't feel a connection with.

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1. nope
2. Yep

If she was going to be offended, shouldn't she be more offended by the pandering then the transcript? Why shouldn't he be able to speak the way his audience does? Because I convert to a Southern accent when I'm in my hometown and my dh's hometown and would be frustrated if someone tried to "correct" my language to proper usage if I was trying to make a point with my choice of words.

eta-Why shouldn't he court black people?

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1. Was it racist of the AP to transcribe the President's speech with missing "g's"? - Not at all. If it was in quotes, it was an accurate representation of what was said. IF they wanted to added the correction, they can use paranthese, cryin'(g)

2. Do you believe that the President is "pandering" by dropping the "g's" in his speech? No, he is being a politician or honestly any effective speaker. He is evaluating (or more likely his speech writer as well) his audience and speaking to them in a manner that creates familiarity.

Do I agree, no. I don't think it is a good example to promote incorrect english and then tell everyone they must go to college. Seems condescending to me when you know it is a political ploy to get an audience to identify with you.

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The only thing moderately racist is the assumption that Black people drop their -g's. To me, dropping g's is more a Southern accent thing then a Black people thang :roll:. I think the President talks the way the President talks and maybe his more casual speak was not about the Black audience but about his impassioned way of talking to his colleagues and supporters?

I find it funny that when he talks eloquently, he is considered as acting White or uppity and if he drops his -g's he is being too Black and pandering to Black people. Maybe that is just how he talks for fart sakes.

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He was at a Black Caucus meeting in Washington DC.....and where *exactly* would President Obama have gotten a southern accent from?

Kansas, Kenya, Hawaii, Illinois, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Pakistan, India or New York City?

eta-And what is wrong with pandering to your audience?

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I think of the g dropping as a Mid-Atlantic thing. Funny. Everyone around here drops their Gs.

I think he did it to convey familiarity. It sounded like he was speaking more formally and then changed the tone to show that he was speaking right to each one, personally. I don't see anything wrong with that. And, I don't see anything wrong with the AP article. I agree that the author was showing Obama's tone and it was an appropriate way to handle it.

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"wlillie" wrote:

He was at a Black Caucus meeting in Washington DC.....and where *exactly* would President Obama have gotten a southern accent from?

Kansas, Kenya, Hawaii, Illinois, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Pakistan, India or New York City?

eta-And what is wrong with pandering to your audience?

I didn't say he did it because he was using a Southern accent. I said TO ME dropping -g's is more a Southern thing. I don;t know why he did it. Maybe that's how he talks. Maybe he was being passionate and expressive. Maybe it's what he says when he is being more casual. I just think assuming automatically that it is a Black thing and he did it to pander to Black people is a weighted assumption.

BTW, I think they drop their g's in Kansas.

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So Karen Hunter is actually the racist one in this story? :confused:

eta-They didn't in the Southwest portion; no clue about the rest of the state.

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I didn't say anyone was racist.

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I know a lot of people who drop their ending g's. They go huntin' and fishin' and can sometimes be found drinkin' a beer. They aren't black or southern, and some of them are even well-educated. To me it seems like somethin' that people seem to slip into when they're feelin' really comfortable.

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"Spacers" wrote:

I know a lot of people who drop their ending g's. They go huntin' and fishin' and can sometimes be found drinkin' a beer. They aren't black or southern, and some of them are even well-educated. To me it seems like somethin' that people seem to slip into when they're feelin' really comfortable.

ITA!

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"b525" wrote:

I think of the g dropping as a Mid-Atlantic thing. Funny. Everyone around here drops their Gs.

.

What are yooooouuuuuu doin' later? Gonna go out drinkin? I agree, this is a very common thing in certain areas/demographics in this ares (NE).

I think that the AP version of the speech was not racist.

Of course he was pandering ~ don't we want a president who can adapt his message to his audience, even if for nothing more than the sake of relating? I mean ~ I would think that it was weird if he was talking at/to a church and was talking about hitting the club, or if he was talking to a bunch of eskimos about his plan for dealing with sand storms. And yes, those are awful examples, I'm going to bed.

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"culturedmom" wrote:

The only thing moderately racist is the assumption that Black people drop their -g's. To me, dropping g's is more a Southern accent thing then a Black people thang :roll:. I think the President talks the way the President talks and maybe his more casual speak was not about the Black audience but about his impassioned way of talking to his colleagues and supporters?

I find it funny that when he talks eloquently, he is considered as acting White or uppity and if he drops his -g's he is being too Black and pandering to Black people. Maybe that is just how he talks for fart sakes.

I agree. I find the way he was pronouncing words more of a Southern (country) type accent then a 'black' one. You hear people speak that way ALL of the time in Arkansas. I think more then anything, perhaps he was trying to be more relatable to the audience. Instead, he should be speaking the way he does normally - he's a great speaker, as much as I dislike him as a President, he can talk and should do so in the way he typically does.

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I have lived in TN for the last 11 years and I would not say the average person here leaves of the g. I am sure some do, but not the majority.