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DoubleSpeak Dictionary # 5

Even Michelle Obama in her speech at the DNC said she thought Barack Obama’s name was “weird” when they first met…. what’s behind the emphasis and apologies for his “foreign-sounding name?”

Dictionary Entry by Organizer JP

“Foreign-sounding” or “weird” name:

This descriptor is attached selectively to U.S. citizens’’ names, and it’s use implicitly asserts that only those of northwest European, white descent are appropriate candidates for high office. The term implies that U.S. identity should be given only to those who have names that seem familiar to xenophobic, nativist English-only speakers (so-called “American names”), and suggests that candidates of non-Anglo and non-European descent are not to be trusted. The usage is racist in limiting the pool of candidates to white people.
see also: Barack Hussein Obama (Doublespeak Dictionary entry)

“Barack Hussein Obama:”
Have you ever seen (seemingly neutral) news reports that tell you John McCain’’s middle name? Sarah Palin’’s? Joe Biden’’s? Using Obama’’s middle name suggests affiliation of this presidential candidate of color with Saddam Hussein and terrorism in minds of people who do not know that the name “Hussein” is as common as Jones in some cultures. This selective use of Obama’s middle name is racist in its association of person of color with a threatening image.
see also: “foreign-sounding” name

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