Voice Of A Generation

by Chris Bodenner
In his linguist take on Obama's speech, McWhorter examines the broader impact of Black English:

It has become an unofficial lingua franca for young Americans of all colors. It is not uncommon to hear a group of teenagers speaking in Black English, and find when they pass by that they are actually Latino, Asian, or with the cohort under about 25, white. ... If the only way he could speak was in some degree of black cadence, he would not have been elected. In being so deftly bidialectal, Obama can speak to all of America in a way that neither a John Edwards nor a Jesse Jackson ever could. What's interesting is that his black style--wielded sparingly, to be sure--is useful in reaching quite a few whites.