Talkin That Talk: Language, Culture, and Education in African America

By Geneva Smitherman | Go to book overview

14

TESTIFYIN, SERMONIZIN, AND SIGNIFYIN

ANITA HILL, CLARENCE THOMAS, AND THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VERBAL TRADITION [1995]

SPEAKING THE TRUTH TO THE PEOPLE

SEVERAL EXPLANATIONS HAVE been advanced to account for the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas phenomenon, both in terms of the conduct of the Thomas hearings themselves and in terms of public reaction to the hearings and the controversy. Such theories have ranged from the argument that US senators lack sensitivity to and understanding of the dynamics of sexual harassment (they just don’t get it); to the issue of Hill’s and Thomas’s credibility; to a recognition of the continuing cataclysmic significance of race over gender (it’s better to be a sexist than a racist); to the ludicrous notion advanced by Orlando Patterson (1991) that Thomas was simply engaging in a “down-home style of courting” toward Hill. Attention has focused on the issue of sexual exploitation, the historical facts surrounding the Hill-Thomas relationship, and legal and social arguments about how to operationalize the construct of sexual harassment. For the African American community, however, the Hill-Thomas phenomenon raises issues far beyond the immediate problematic of sexual harassment in the workplace. This essay seeks to advance our understanding of these broader implications from the vantage point of the African American Verbal Tradition.

The rhetorical situation created by the Hill-Thomas conflict represents an excellent case study for revisiting the linguistics of the “Talented Tenth” (see Woodson, 1925; Smith, 1969; Smitherman and Daniel: see Smitherman, 1979a). As articulated by W. E. B. Du Bois ([1961] 1903), the notion of a Black talented tenth refers to the strategy for creating a leadership class by targeting societal resources to the development of the upper 10 percent of the community. This group of African Americans would then struggle for

-251-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Talkin That Talk: Language, Culture, and Education in African America
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 458

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.