The Permanence of Race: Governor Deval Patrick and the Deracialization Concept

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation examines the deracialization concept through a case study of Governor Deval Patrick's first administration and reelection campaign. The study use critical discourse analysis to explore how race as a discursive social construct was present in the speeches made by Governor Deval Patrick from June 2007 through June 2010. The discursive presence of race is also explored during Governor Patrick's reelection campaign in the reporting of the Boston Globe and the Bay State Banner newspapers, a mainstream newspaper and an African American newspaper, respectively, that both endorsed Patrick's campaign for the unprecedented reelection of a black governor. This study finds that Governor Patrick used strategic faming and racial signifiers in his public discourse; Patrick symbolically affirmed his blackness and politically advocated issues, especially in education, sensitive to black and underprivileged communities.This case study proves problematic for the deracialization concept. Important to Patrick's discourse is his framing of issues through explicit appeals to the American dream and a message of inclusivity for all Massachusetts residents that includes racially marginalized groups. There were differences in representation of Patrick in both newspapers, but in regards to race the Bay State Banner emphasized specific issues of importance to the black community whereas the Boston Globe portrayed Deval Patrick as the more likable candidate amongst his political opponents without any emphasis to Patrick's race.

deracialization, race, black politics, Deval Patrick