A Demagogue’s Words Matter

Trump’s immigration metaphors set a divisive tone from the top. His immigration metaphors do not constitute “plain speaking,” “strong language,” or “passionate debate,” nor can they be innocently excused as his “own style.” His language is textbook demagoguery, and his immigration metaphors help constitute our current sociopolitical moment.

Speaking with Silence

Words take center stage in the verbal sparring of the Twitter age. But, amidst the endless talk and noise of today’s political landscape, we often overlook the powerful communicative potential of silence.

What “Types of Racism” Does Trump Recognize?

Trump’s tweet on the anniversary of Charlottesville fails to conceptualize racism as anything other than a decontextualized form of personal prejudice unconnected to current and historical power relations in US society.

Reclaiming “Allahu Akbar” from Semantic Pejoration

Allāhu akbar, the Arabic phrase meaning “God is the greatest,” has gained connotations in US public discourse that differ vastly from its meaning among Muslims. Understanding this process may be the first step to reclaiming its positive connotations.

How to Counter Misinformation

To defend his policy of separating immigrant children from their parents, Trump uttered several bald-faced lies to deflect responsibility for the humanitarian crisis he created. Although the lies he and administration officials repeated seemed to represent a new nadir even for this presidency, the constant flow of misinformation from this White House has vexed political journalists from day one. How do you cover a president who frequently utters false claims without giving credence to the misinformation?

How “Fake News” Lost Its Meaning

Collins Dictionary named fake news its 2017 word of the year, an easy choice given the word’s “unprecedented usage increase” of 365 percent over the previous year. Collins defines fake news as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news.” But this dictionary definition belies the shifting usage of the word in actual contexts of situation since the 2016 election.

#MeToo Holds Lessons for Political Resistance

Remember when everyone feared the “normalization” of a Trump presidency? Well, it’s gotten to the point where the US president can now openly brag about lying to the Canadian prime minister, and his bald-faced maneuvers to discredit the Robert Mueller investigation and FBI have been openly joined by House Republicans under the deceptive moniker of “oversight.”