Communication Realities in a

Communication Realities in a "Post-Racial" Society: What the U.S. Public Really Thinks of President Barack Obama

by Mark P. Orbe
     
 

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This book seeks to go beyond existing public polls regarding Barack Obama, and instead offers a comprehensive treatment of public perceptions that resist mass generalizations based on race, gender, age, political affiliation, or geographical location. Drawing from a large national qualitative data set generated by 333 diverse participants from twelve different

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Overview

This book seeks to go beyond existing public polls regarding Barack Obama, and instead offers a comprehensive treatment of public perceptions that resist mass generalizations based on race, gender, age, political affiliation, or geographical location. Drawing from a large national qualitative data set generated by 333 diverse participants from twelve different states across six U.S. regions, Mark P. Orbe offers a comprehensive look into public perceptions of Barack Obama's communication style, race matters, and the role of the media in 21st century politics. Communication Realities in a "Post-Racial" Society: What the U.S. Public Really Thinks about Barack Obama is the first of its kind in that it uses the voices of everyday U.S. Americans to advance our understanding of how identity politics influence public perceptions. The strength of a book such as this one lies within the power of the diverse perspectives of hundreds of participants. Each chapter features extended comments from rural volunteer fire fighters in southern Ohio, African American men in Oakland, CA, religious communities in Alabama; New England senior citizens; military families from southern Virginia; Tea Party members from Nebraska; business and community leaders from North Carolina; individuals currently unemployed and/or underemployed in Connecticut; college students from predominately White, Black, and Hispanic-serving institutions of higher learning; and others. As such, it is the first book that is based on comments from multiple perspectives - something that allows a deeper understanding that hasn't been possible with public polls, media sound bites, and political commentary. It is a must read for scholars interested in contemporary communication in a time when "post-racial" declarations are met with resistance and political junkies who seek an advanced understanding of the peculiarities of rapidly changing political realities.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Orbe (Western Michigan Univ.) argues that the Obama presidency has forever altered the way communication and diversity are discussed in America, but the discussion is still often about race. His meticulous research reveals how the public's attitudes about President Obama's communication style affect perceptions of his temperament and leadership ability. Orbe's data are drawn from interviews with 300-plus participants from 12 states; one facet of the book that provides great interest—too rare in scholarly efforts—is extensive excerpts from these interviews with a variety of people. At the center of the book are four chapters on the role of race in a "post-racial" society. While conducting his research, rather than asking questions about race he allowed his focus groups to bring up the issue of race independently, an excellent strategy. Orbe argues in his concluding chapter that race continues to make a difference in people's perceptions of Obama, and that a "post-racial" society has not yet eventuated. The work is the latest in the "Lexington Studies in Political Communication" series edited by Robert E. Denton, Jr. Summing Up: Recommended.
Choice
Orbe (Western Michigan Univ.) argues that the Obama presidency has forever altered the way communication and diversity are discussed in America, but the discussion is still often about race. His meticulous research reveals how the public's attitudes about President Obama's communication style affect perceptions of his temperament and leadership ability. Orbe's data are drawn from interviews with 300-plus participants from 12 states; one facet of the book that provides great interest—too rare in scholarly efforts—is extensive excerpts from these interviews with a variety of people. At the center of the book are four chapters on the role of race in a "post-racial" society. While conducting his research, rather than asking questions about race he allowed his focus groups to bring up the issue of race independently, an excellent strategy. Orbe argues in his concluding chapter that race continues to make a difference in people's perceptions of Obama, and that a "post-racial" society has not yet eventuated. The work is the latest in the "Lexington Studies in Political Communication" series edited by Robert E. Denton, Jr. Summing Up: Recommended.
Frank Rudy Cooper
"This is an important book for anyone who cares about U.S. politics or race. Orbe's thorough research reveals important patterns in people's feelings about President Obama. The book suggests that people may disagree about whether we are or should be post-racial because they disagree about whether we are post-racist. Orbe's book is simultaneously entertaining and thought provoking."
Amardo Rodriguez
"Communication Realities compellingly showcases Mark Orbe's scholarly command of these issues, reflecting his distinguished career as a scholar devoted to the study of communication and diversity. Orbe presents findings and insights that deepen our understanding of how people perceive the communication competency and temperament of President Obama, especially in regards to racial issues, and discusses the implications and consequences that attend to these public perceptions. What emerges is a set of realities about race that is complex and nuanced, and will certainly enrich our understanding of race and communication in our ever evolving society."
Catherine R. Squires
"Orbe has executed an ambitious project, undertaken with extreme care and attention to the personal and political facets of Obama's impact on people every day. This book sets a tone and a standard for future research, and provides the kind of intimate details we need to get beyond polls and punditry. A must-read for anyone concerned about how we communicate about race in the Obama Era."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739169919
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
10/14/2011
Series:
Lexington Studies in Political Communication Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
236
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.13(h) x 0.58(d)

Meet the Author

Mark P. Orbe is professor of communication and diversity at Western Michigan University.

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