Whatever the hell is going on with Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and their fake southern/black accents, it’s time to quit. It’s an insult, okay? It’s pandering, it’s cartoonish, and it’s an insult – not just to blacks and southerners, but to me – a middle class, middle aged white woman from Iowa.
How dare you turn the dialect on when you feel you need to sound a little more down-home, and turn it off when you return to your uppercrust homes and your elite fundraising friends! How dare you present yourselves as something you are not (which is to say, authentic), in the name of gathering votes, raising money, and advancing your own selfish agendae.
And how dare you insinuate that somehow you are “multi-lingual” (Senator Clinton) because you manage to affect an accent! If you suddenly visited England and started talking like John Cleese, do you think the Brits would embrace you? Do you think that makes you skilled in some other language?
You insult not only the character of hard-working people who happen to speak in the tones you try to imitate, you insult their intelligence by assuming that they will fall for your claims that you are so much like them, that you have such a connection to them.
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared in April 2007. As President, Obama still slips into Preacher Mode when speaking, with insulting frequency.