chapter  5
22 Pages

Our Foreign President Barack Obama: The Racial Logics of Birther Discourses

ByVincent N. Pham

This essay centers race in taking serious an often-dismissed movement, the Birthers, who question Barack Obama’s citizenship and deem him as an illegitimate president. Through a historical and relational lens, I argue that the Birther rhetoric of constitutional protection relies on racial logics used in previous discourses about foreignness to delineate acceptable citizenship for the presidency and mark Obama as untrustworthy. By analyzing the Birthers.org website and two Birther movementassociated media figures, Orly Taitz and Donald Trump, Birther discourses manipulate rationality, reinforce a White racial state, and activate anxieties over an increasingly multi-racial and global society.