Some thoughts about policing and race in the United States

Dear facebook friend,

It saddens me to say that I find your views concerning recent police killings of Black men and not unrelated anti-police violence to be racist. Sorry to use the r-word on you. I know how much being accused of racism angers you. I know because it angers me too. Somewhere along the way, I picked up a meaning of the word “racist” that boils down to “irrationally hateful”, “deplorably unenlightened”, or “willfully ignorant”. In some way, this makes sense, since, after all, much of what we think of as racism is transparently nonsensical and immoral. I think we’d all agree that someone’s worth is not found in their skin pigmentation. Read more ›

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Posted in Language and race

Denying language privilege in academic publishing

If you’re an academic anywhere in the world, you’re probably under pressure to publish to make progress in your career or just to keep your job. Increasingly, you’re probably also under pressure to publish “internationally”. Thanks to the global dominance of English-speaking academia, “international” is more or less a euphemism for journals published in English. Faced with this requirement, academics from outside English-speaking countries like the US, the UK, Canada, or Australia have commonly reported that writing for publication in English is a source of disadvantage for them. Furthermore, they have been shown to be less successful at having their work published in these journals than those scholars residing in English-speaking countries. Read more ›

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Posted in Academia

Bashing Hillary Clinton’s voice: “Screeching”, “shrieking”, and “shrill”


The past week has seen quite a bit of discussion of Hillary Clinton’s voice. As I wrote about last week, numerous people have called her “shrill“, a clearly gendered word. Nonetheless, the sexism behind such criticisms continues to be denied. Ben Shapiro, for example, wrote an article titled, “Yes, Hillary Clinton Is Shrill. No, It’s Not Sexist To Say So“, as if his perception of someone’s voice were purely a matter of objective reason. Read more ›

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Posted in Language and gender, Language and politics

‘Shrill’ women in politics


The United States once again has the opportunity to elect the first woman as President, Hillary Clinton. Her chances of getting the Democratic nomination are quite strong. Not surprisingly then, there’s a lot of talk about women in politics.  Read more ›

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Posted in Language and gender, Language and politics

Can we please do better than “Y’all Qaeda”?


About a day ago, a bunch of white people took over a federal government building in Oregon. Some are pretty heavily armed. They claim that they are protesting the seizure of land by the federal government. Read more ›

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Posted in Language and social class

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