Panel Two: Critical Studies in Race

The Center of African American Rhetoric and Public Address at the National Council of Black Studies

Day: Friday, March 13, 2020

Place: Place: Marriott Buckhead Hotel and Conference Center, Floor: Atrium Level, Heritage C

*To see the other panels, click here

Panel Two: 5:00pm to 6:15pm

Title: Critical Studies in Race

Abstract: In this panel, presenters examine the role and function of Blackness and Whiteness. By examining the role race plays in church, politics, and the construction of language and identity, panelists seek to, not only expose the fallacy of a post racial construction, but also offer suggestions on having better conversations centered around race.

Chair: Damariye Smith 

DamariyƩ L. Smith was born and raised in the Bay Area (northern California). His research interests are primarily focused on the rhetorical tradition, specifically in the context of African American studies, Higher Education and Education policy in the United States. Other research areas of interest include film criticism, leadership, organizational communication, and communication theory. He is an active member of the National Communication Association, Western States Communication Association as well as Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. His personal interests include working with disadvantaged and first-generation college students, mentoring, leadership development, cooking, spending time with my daughter, and our family, and playing as well as officiating basketball. His current research focuses on the commencement speeches of President Barack Obama.

Kami Anderson, CEO Bilingual Brown Babies

Dr. Kami (pronounced kah-MEE) Anderson, CEO, and director at Bilingual Brown Babies, is an interculturalist, scholar and language advocate. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisc., she has spent the past two decades immersed in languages and cultures. From working overseas in relief and development to teaching language in the classroom to molding future intercultural scholars in the lecture hall, Kami has always kept a tight grip on her passion and compassion for others and difference through language. Her primary focus is family empowerment through language with an emphasis on application and confidence.
Kami holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Spelman College, a master’s degree in international affairs, interdisciplinary studies in international communication and anthropology from American University, and a Ph.D. in communication and culture from Howard University.

Title: Our Black is Noir and Negro 

Abstract: Language and identity have been intrinsically linked because of the relationship both have with experience. We use language to be able to describe our experiences and these experiences help with providing us the way in which we see ourselves. Historically, African Americans have manipulated language in a way that allows for creativity of expression that serves a functional purpose. Beginning with the historical notions of Black identity and the use of language in identity in order to set the foundation for expanding beyond traditional limits, first, this paper will address how identity has been discussed within the discipline of communication and how an identity biography enhances this discussion within the discipline. This will be followed by the communication benefits of foreign language knowledge as a means of expanding linguistic styles in order to more accurately depict a sense of self. This portion of the discussion is reflective of personal experiences as well as previous research with African American sojourners.

Andre E. Johnson, University of Memphis

Andre E. Johnson is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies in the Department of Communication and Film at the University of Memphis. He teaches classes in African American Public Address, Rhetoric, Race, Religion, and Interracial Communication. Dr. Johnson is the author of “The Forgotten Prophet: Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and the African American Prophetic Tradition (Lexington Books, 2012) and the co-author (with Amanda Nell Edgar, PhD.) of “The Struggle Over Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter” (Lexington Books, 2018). He is also the author of the forthcoming “No Future in this Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner with the University Press of Mississippi.

Title: The Absence of Race: A Rhetorical Analysis of Christianity Today’s Editorial, “Trump Should Be Removed from Office.”

Abstract: In this presentation, I offer a rhetorical analysis on Mark Galli's editorial published in Christianity Today titled, "Trump Should Be Removed from Office." The editorial received praise from many evangelicals and some even argued that Trump's evangelical base has started to crack. However, instead of cracking, the base rallied behind Trump and that support remains. Drawing from Philip Wander's notion of the third persona, I suggest that the editorial left out the many evangelicals of color who shared many of the concerns that the Galli addressed but also highlighted Trump's racist rhetoric from the beginning of his campaign and how it continues throughout his presidency.