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November 15 , 2007

Communication Realities in a "Post-Racial" Society

What the U.S. Public Really Thinks of President Barack Obama


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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