College of Communication Master of Arts Theses

Date of Award

Spring 6-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Dustin Goltz

Second Advisor

Prof. Kimberlee Perez

Third Advisor

Dr. Willona Olison


On September 2, 2005, hip-hop artist Kanye West’s made the comment on live television that standing President “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, contributing to the national debate surrounding the government’s response to the storm and its survivors and the impact of race (and class) on such circumstances. An ideological criticism is conducted to assess how the dominant ideologies of whiteness and racism emerge in Bush’s rhetoric and affective performances in reaction to that accusation. In my analysis of Bush’s discursive and emotional enactments that responded to Kanye’s comment against him, three strategies emerged: argument from fallacy, patriarchal scolding, and the performance of strong, dismissive emotions. By using these rhetorical strategies to pinpoint where and how ideology – specifically whiteness and racism – and rhetoric intersect, overlap, and even pull apart, this thesis is driven by the ultimate goal of attempting to unveil, challenge, and offer alternatives to the dominant ideologies that contribute to the racial inequality that still plagues our society to this day.

Included in

Communication Commons