Professor Richard Leeman and the Teleological Discourse of Barack Obama

Uploaded by unccharlottevideo on 05.10.2012

What inspired me to write it was that I was invited to participate in a colloquium, a
course taught by Africana Studies, where each week, a different professor from across the
university would come in and talk about the presidency of Barack Obama.
I was asked to speak on his rhetoric and his public speaking and so in taking a look at
in and preparing for the class, one of the questions that confronted me was that what
Barack Obama talks about sounds very familiar to our ears.
And, so I was curious about where it is that you see the origins for it.
So, I looked at Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan and I looked at
civil rights leaders such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr.
And what you find is that you see some of those strings, but that you see teleological
discourse but you see them in very different ways and in varying amounts.
In many times, you go without really seeing them at all.
What I found is that consistently, uniformly, his (Obama’s) rhetoric is teleological and
so that became the spring board for the research for the book.
I think President Obama’s style is critically important for reaching the people.
If you take a look at his acceptance speech, it is teleological from start to finish.
He frames those two paths that we have that we can go by, and his path is the right path
because of its teleology and the Republican path is the wrong path because they deviate
from America’s teleology.
It is a very comfortable delivery because he keeps speaking from the same consistent
philosophical perspective, and what I would argue is that time and again when he’s had
to look at those problems and say what direction should we be going in, he has looked at them
through a teleological perspective.