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Education, English, Global Politics

Obama’s 2008 Speech On Race

An effective speaker is one who incorporates the various aspects of speaking into his or her speech. Thus, an effective speaker gets the attention of his audience, is well-prepared for the content about to be delivered, and has a well-structured form of speech. A speech by and effective speaker contains a logical flow from the introduction, the main ideas as well as the conclusion. For the sake of this discussion, the speech race by Barrack Obama in 2008 is taken into consideration. He appears to be an effective speaker in his speech organization and the ability to incorporate body language. He may not have been a perfect speaker, but he is quite effective. This is due to his ability to follow the various principles of speaking (Ong et al., 2016). His messages and speeches are quite memorable and enjoyable to the audience. The following content indicates why Barack Obama’s speech in the 2008 race was effective and continues to be effective all along.


The speech was actually quite effective. In this case, effectiveness is the ability to drive the message home and make the intended recipients understand it. In this case, Obama used body language to emphasize the main ideas that he had for the country. In addition, he used the ability to insist to make clear his points all along. The effeteness could be taken from the high level of cheering from the audience, meaning that they well understood what he said. In addition, the speech was quite interesting and thus left the audience yearning for more.


The speech took place in Grant Park, Chicago. This created a historical illusion of being the home city for Barrack Obama and the family. By choosing to make the speech in Chicago, Obama made it possible to concentrate and even form a celebratory mood among the audience. Being the home area, people took the victory as their own and thus keenly followed the entire content delivered by Obama step by step. On the other hand, Barack Obama used a podium to address the audience standing alone. He used a microphone as the crowd was too big to address literally. By standing alone at the podium, Obama portrayed a sign of confidence and power to the audience, thus creating suspense for what they expected from him. Indeed, the set-up of the stage and the venue got the speech a mile higher.


Obama used an introduction in his speech by highlighting the famous slogan of the campaign. The main ideas were previewed in that he described the various struggles that the country has gone through in the past and the hope that lay ahead. The main idea presented and previewed in the speech included the need to hope the lay ahead for the country under his leadership. The main ideas were highlighted in the speech and thus were easy for the people to follow as Barrack used simple English. The speech was more motivating as it kept stressing the need to remain hopeful for the future. However, Obama’s speech was not conversational, as he gave the speech without expecting any response from the audience.


The aim of the message was to thank the audience for entrusting Obama with the top job in the country. In addition, it was meant to give hope to the audience that there was light at the end of the tunnel. The message was quite logical and emotional as it traced the humble roots of the speaker and the struggles gone through to make it to the top. Indeed, the message was interesting as it identified with the audience’s everyday form of life and thus was quite important for them. Obama asked the audience to support him so as to attain all the objectives they had set for themselves.

Style And Logistics

The speaker did not use a manuscript but had the speech memorized all along. However, he had a good and logical structure in the delivery of his messages. Obama gave the speech on a one-on-one basis without the need to refer anywhere else. Indeed, Obama had an effective persuasive plan and thus drove the message home effectively.


Obama was well prepared for the speech. This is because the speech was quite fluent without any challenges along the way. The message was factual and quite real, meaning that he was confident in what he said. Also, Obama captured the main idea relating to the event, meaning that he had done his homework well.

Body Language, Appearance And Tone

Obama used body language quite effectively. In this case, he used his hand effectively to stress the main points. He also had a good posture and was well-groomed for the occasion. This seemed to increase his confidence in the delivery of the speech (Campbell & Wiggins 2015). Also, Obama’s tone indicated a high level of confidence in the content that was being delivered during the speech. The use of colourful language makes the speech quite memorable across the world.

Audience Orientation

The audience reacted in a good way that Obama would have wanted. In this regard, they were all celebrating after the delivery of the speech. Indeed, the message could have been different if it had been delivered by someone else (McDuffie 2016). This is because the tactics applied could have been different. The speech impacted many people’s way of life and the decisions made, increasing confidence in the personal ideas that one wishes to have materialized.

Personal Point Of View

I actually enjoyed the entire speech. The speaker exhibited various strengths, including the ability to use body language effectively, the ability to remain confident all through and the ability to get in touch with the audience. On the other hand, Obama showed weaknesses in an inability to use the entire podium, the inability to induce jokes and the inability to get a response from the audience. I would, therefore, do various aspects differently, including walking around the podium, inducing humour in the speech, and engaging the audience in the speech by asking for a response. However, the speech by Obama was quite effective and enjoyable. It is memorable to date.


Campbell, K., & Wiggins, E. L. (2015). Walking a tightrope: Obama’s duality as framed by selected African American columnists. Journalism Practice9(2), 184-199.
McDuffie, K. (2016). COLOR-BLIND RHETORIC IN OBAMA’S 2008 “RACE SPEECH”: THE APPEAL TO WHITENESS AND THE DISCIPLINING OF RACIAL RHETORICAL STUDIES. Rhetorics of whiteness: Postracial hauntings in popular culture, social media, and education, 71.
Ong, A. D., Burrow, A. L., & Cerrada, C. (2016). Seeing the other in the self: The impact of Barack Obama and cultural socialization on perceptions of self-other overlap among African Americans. Social Cognition34(6), 589.



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