Race threads and race threats

How obama/race-discourse among conservatives changed through the 2008 presidential campaign

Adam Murphree, Deirdre Royster

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    This chapter uses critical race theories to interpret Obama-related content and changing discourse patterns on discussion boards maintained by a pro-gun, overwhelmingly white, male, and conservative virtual community. Beginning during the 2008 presidential primary season and continuing through Barack Obama's election as president, our analysis focused on the proliferation of negative "nicknames" ("Obamathets") that were posted in race-oriented discussion threads over 16 months. We identified three types of frequently voiced Obamathets: those indicating general dislike, political disdain, or racial derision, and we analyzed usage patterns - which types of Obamathets appeared and at which times. Our results revealed a changing state of mind - annoyance to extreme anger - among posters whose sense of racial threat seemed increasingly palpable as Obama approached, and eventually won, the presidency. Over time, posts increasingly included racially derisive terms whose incidence intensified after the election and remained high; racially derisive terms overtook terms of general dislike (that had been more popular) as well as terms of political disdain several months into our analysis. Because posters tended to be more openly libertarian in orientation, we doubt our findings would generalize to the majority of conservative whites; however, our findings probably shed considerable light on activist elements among conservatives, including the "Tea Party" movement. Moreover, capturing sentiments expressed in a semiprivate venue - virtual community discussion boards - probably allowed us to uncover less censored racial sentiment (or racetalk) than is typical when social scientists solicit racial opinions from whites in face-to-face interviews, when many may omit racially hostile thoughts to appear more racially sensitive to researchers.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationRace in the Age of Obama
    Pages267-299
    Number of pages33
    Volume16
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2010

    Publication series

    NameResearch in Race and Ethnic Relations
    Volume16
    ISSN (Print)01957449

    Fingerprint

    virtual community
    campaign
    poster
    threat
    discourse
    election
    social scientist
    anger
    proliferation
    president
    incidence
    interview
    time

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Public Administration

    Cite this

    Murphree, A., & Royster, D. (2010). Race threads and race threats: How obama/race-discourse among conservatives changed through the 2008 presidential campaign. In Race in the Age of Obama (Vol. 16, pp. 267-299). (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations; Vol. 16). https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-7449(2010)0000016014

    Race threads and race threats : How obama/race-discourse among conservatives changed through the 2008 presidential campaign. / Murphree, Adam; Royster, Deirdre.

    Race in the Age of Obama. Vol. 16 2010. p. 267-299 (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations; Vol. 16).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Murphree, A & Royster, D 2010, Race threads and race threats: How obama/race-discourse among conservatives changed through the 2008 presidential campaign. in Race in the Age of Obama. vol. 16, Research in Race and Ethnic Relations, vol. 16, pp. 267-299. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-7449(2010)0000016014
    Murphree A, Royster D. Race threads and race threats: How obama/race-discourse among conservatives changed through the 2008 presidential campaign. In Race in the Age of Obama. Vol. 16. 2010. p. 267-299. (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations). https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-7449(2010)0000016014
    Murphree, Adam ; Royster, Deirdre. / Race threads and race threats : How obama/race-discourse among conservatives changed through the 2008 presidential campaign. Race in the Age of Obama. Vol. 16 2010. pp. 267-299 (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations).
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