Further Thoughts on Obama's 1995 Video

The passage from Dreams from My Father that Obama reads in his recently unearthed 1995 book presentation video contains the following lines, “I looked to corroborate this nightmare vision. I gathered up books from the library -- Baldwin, Ellison, Hughes, Wright, DuBois (sic).” What caught my ear were two things, one consequential, one superficial, both revealing. Starting with the superficial, the pronunciation of “Du Bois” is something of a shibboleth on the left, meaning a word whose pronunciation is used to “differentiate members of ingroups from those of outgroups.” A black Communist, W.E.B. Du Bois himself wrote in a letter to a newspaper, "The pronunciation of my name is Due Boyss, with the accent on the last syllable." The pronunciation was well known on the left for the confusion it caused. In 1964, the Communist Party USA sponsored a national youth organization, the W.E.B. Du Bois Clubs of America. As the story goes, the...(Read Full Article)