Blog Archives

Formality of language, power, and African American English

Yesterday, I read Jamelle Bouie’s great article on Slate responding to arguments about the notion of “talking White” (or “acting White”), or the idea that African Americans are opposed to things like ‘standard’ English or even academic success because they are associated, in our collective

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Posted in Language and race

What to call the Other: A data-driven history of the New York Times’ racial labeling

The word negro makes me uncomfortable. I never hear it, but I occasionally read it. There’s a pretty famous book by sociolinguist Walt Wolfram (Professor of English, North Carolina State University) called A Sociolinguistic Description of Detroit Negro Speech published in 1969. Every time

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Posted in Language and race, Media discourse and media bias

We call men abrasive. Except when it matters.

Over the past several months, I’ve been looking at the gendered way we portray leadership qualities. This has included looking at words like bossy and pushy which we assign with much greater frequency to women than men. Today, I saw a new word pop

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Posted in Language and gender

Militant, radical, man-hating: How our public discourse describes feminists

When Beyoncé celebrated the word feminist on Sunday night, she was working against a history of celebrities and others rejecting the label feminist. Why do so many women, famous or not, reject the term, while seeming to support the basic

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Posted in Language and gender, Media discourse and media bias

Two tales of Gaza: Comparing FOX and CNN’s coverage of the violence

In the past month we’ve seen the unfolding of another chapter in the bloody conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. Since this conflict is, for me and probably many of my readers, taking place halfway around the world, the

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Posted in Language and politics, Media discourse and media bias

Demystifying dog whistle racism

Recently, I’ve noticed people using the term “dog whistle” before things like racism and classism. Although not the originator of the term, Ian Haney López (Professor of Law, University of California-Berkeley) has recently written a great deal about the concept as it

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Posted in Language and politics, Language and race

Women are 2.87 times more likely than men to be called pushy

My post looking at gendered descriptions of Jill Abramson has generated a little bit of attention. Notably, The Atlantic posted an article by Olga Khazan titled “Pushy is used to describe women twice as often as men”, citing my work. I’ve been asked if

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Posted in Language and gender
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